BOARD APPROVES 30 PERCENT PAY HIKE — Despite the protests of private citizens and two of its members, supervisors voted themselves a 30 percent pay hike Tuesday. Supervisors are currently earning $19,944 per year. When the increase takes effect July 1, a supervisor will earn $26,112. The proposal passed 3-2 with supervisors Al Ginsburg and Harry Baker voting against it. “I believe the $20,000 we get each year is enough,” said Baker. Supervisor Rick Jensen said supervisors are the lowest paid Madera County officials. Supervisor Gail Hanhart McIntyre and chairman Jess Lopez pointed to possible discrimination by the low pay. “There are a great deal of people who might be interested in this position but can’t afford it,” said McIntyre.
SWEENEY CHANGES PLEA TO GUILTY — Fresno State University football coach Jim Sweeney has been fined $970 and placed on unsupervised probation for five years after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drunken driving charge. Sweeney entered his plea through his attorney in the Madera County community of Bass Lake. The California Highway Patrol said it arrested Sweeney for erratic driving on a country road in the Madera County foothills. Judge Dennis Scott ordered Sweeney to complete a 12-hour, first offender alcohol education class; perform 40 hours of community service; and submit to drug or alcohol tests on demand by a police or probation officer.
GOMEZ FIRED FROM EXECUTIVE POST AT HOUSING AUTHORITY — Lydia Ann Gomez was fired Monday night by the Madera City Council as executive director of the Madera Housing Authority. It appointed Margaret Medellin and Alan Brown to run the housing authority until an interim or full-time replacement can be found. An upset and shaken Gomez released a written statement, which said she had been asked to submit her resignation, but she refused “on the basis I have no reason to resign even though I have received unwarranted criticism from the board. Gomez, who has been with the housing authority since July of 1975, declined to elaborate on the criticisms and said she had not been told by the board why she was being fired.
COUNTY TO GET SERIOUS WITH ILLEGAL DUMPERS — People who dump waste illegally are going to find the county a little tougher to deal with, according to a resolution passed Tuesday by supervisors. The county needs to show that it is “going to war” against offenders, said Supervisor Gail Hanhart McIntyre. Along with the resolution, supervisors suggested involving the Sheriff’s Department in pursuing offenders. “I don’t think it would hurt a deputy one iota, as he’s driving down the road and sees a pile of rubble, to look through it,” said Supervisor Al Ginsburg. “Names found in the dumped piles can be investigated, but the person usually claims to have paid a third party to get rid of the goods,” said Road Commissioner Bill King, “thus the county can’t prosecute.” ...