At the first 2019 meeting of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, three members of the board were sworn in, including two new ones, and the elections for chair and vice-chair of the board, as well as the chair of four special districts the board serves as directors for were held.
First District Supervisor Kevin Jeffries was elected as chair with the unanimous support of his colleagues. Jeffries is a business property owner in the Canyon Lake Towne Center. He has been a strong advocate of Canyon Lake fire services and helped the city re-open its fire station. Jeffries has also appointed several Canyon Lake residents to county commissions. He represents approximately 450,000 residents from the cities of Wildomar, Lake Elsinore, Canyon Lake and most of the City of Riverside.
Fourth District Supervisor Victor Manuel Perez was elected vice-chair of the board and also as chair of the Housing Authority. Earlier in the meeting, Perez was sworn in for his first full term as an elected supervisor, having previously served as an appointee of Governor Jerry Brown after the death of Supervisor John Benoit.
Second District Supervisor Karen Spiegel and Fifth District Supervisor Jeff Hewitt were also sworn in after winning their elections in November for the vacant seats formerly represented by John Tavaglione and Marion Ashley. Supervisor Spiegel was elected to serve as chair of the Flood Control and Water Conservation District and Supervisor Hewitt was elected as chair of the Waste Resources Management District.
Supervisor Chuck Washington, who had most recently served as chair of the Riverside Board of Supervisors, was elected as chair of the Regional Park and Open-Space District.
Having been elected in 2012, Supervisor Jeffries is not only the new chairman but as a result of the retirements of Supervisors Tavaglione and Ashley, he is also the most senior member of the board.
“Chair of the Board is primarily a ceremonial position, whose primary role is simply to run the board meetings, but I appreciate the support of my colleagues for this position,” said Jeffries. “I am looking forward to making the meetings run a bit leaner and more efficiently than has been the long-standing practice of the board. We have many important issues to address in this coming year and I believe the public wants to see us get to the business of the meeting as directly and professionally as possible so we don’t waste their valuable time or the time of the various county executives and staff waiting for their items to be heard.”
Jefferies said he looks forward to searching for solutions to the challenges facing the county with his new colleagues and the entire board. “This board has a diversity of experiences and expertise that I hope will help us tackle issues with our budget, ballooning pension obligations, traffic congestion, public safety, and how we deal with the growth of our county,” Jefferies said. “Finding a way to address our continuing rapid growth in a sustainable way so that current and future residents both can enjoy our unique quality of life is the critical problem we have to resolve.”