During the January 6 Tulare County Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting, Supervisors Steve Worthley and Mike Ennis were sworn-in for another four-year term. Worthley ran unopposed for District 4 while Ennis beat out challenger Porterville City Council Member Virgina Gurrola in District 5. The BOS also elected a new chairman, selecting Worthley for the top position.
“A new year brings new challenges and opportunities to Tulare County,” said Worthley. “Serving as the 2015 chair, I look forward to working with my colleagues on the board, our able staff and the good folks of our county to move the county forward, rebuilding and retooling local government to meet the needs of a changing society.”
Worthley, who was first elected 16 years ago, replaces District Three Supervisor Phil Cox, who served as chairman in 2014. Ennis was chosen to serve as vice chairman. Each member of the BOS performs the duties as chairman through a rotation process. The chairman is charged with setting and running weekly meetings and attending functions on behalf of the board, among other additional duties.
During the meeting, Cox passed a new gavel to Worthley, and later delivered a wrap-up speech for 2014, highlighting programs and projects the county initiated in 2014 and expressing his appreciation to his colleagues, county administration, all county departments and their employees for their work during his tenure as chairman of the board.
“I’m proud to say that we ended 2014 on a strong note,” said Cox. “We entered the new year with a strong, balanced budget and I’m happy to say that all of our projects are fully funded. I know the board will continue to accomplish great things in 2015.”
Ennis also took a moment during the meeting to thank the community for its support of him throughout the re-election process.
“It’s an honor to have been re-elected as the District 5 Supervisor,” he said. “I look forward to the next four years and to the opportunity to make our county a better place to live for all residents,” he said.
Worthley also announced that he will deliver the annual State of the County address at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, January 13 at 9am. This will be Worthley’s fourth time serving as chairman.
In other BOS news, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux was authorized to appoint an undersheriff. The county has gone without an undersheriff since October 2013, when then Sheriff Bill Wittman stepped down due to health reasons. Boudreaux, who took over for Wittman, could not appoint a replacement because he was still technically undersheriff.
On January 5, the Tulare County Courthouse was the scene of three more swearing in ceremonies. Tulare County Superintendent of Schools, Jim Vidak, was sworn in by his son, State Senator Andy Vidak. Jim Vidak was elected to a record seventh term as superintendent. Also sworn in were Assessor and Clerk Recorder Roland Hill and Auditor-controller, Treasurer and Tax Collector and Registrar of Voters, Rita Hill. Both ran unopposed.
On January 2, Boudreaux was sworn in as the 30th Tulare County Sheriff. Tulare County has not had a changing of the guard in more than 20 years as Wittman ran and won for five terms. Wittman was in attendance at the ceremony and helped introduce Boudreaux, expressing how he always envisioned Boudreaux’ eventually holding the office.
Tim Ward, who was sworn in on December 18 as district attorney, also represents a changing of the guard. The former district attorney, Phil Cline, who left in 2012, had also held office for 20 years.