New county supervisors meet for first time

It was the first day of school for three Kern County Board of Supervisors. The group met for the first time Monday in downtown Bakersfield for their board meeting.
They were elected months ago, they've been sworn in, and on Monday, they took their seats as Kern County supervisors.

"Today is the first day of the rest of my life,” says Leticia Perez, fifth-district supervisor
“It is the greatest privilege I have ever had to serve in this capacity."

Leticia Perez is a part of the new class of county supervisors. She is a former public defender attorney and is the first Latina supervisor.

"It's so nice to finally be here, to have an office, to have space, we've already had constituent calls coming in all morning, people want to see action and they deserve action."

Former navy pilot and commander of the China Lake Naval Air Weapons station,
Mick Gleason came from Ridgecrest to make his first meeting as first-district supervisor.

David Couch is also a freshman supervisor representing the fourth district.

Couch, Mike Maggard and Zack Scrivner are all former Bakersfield City Council members and make the first time that many has served as board of supervisors.

Couch hopes to mend the rocky relationship between the city and county.

"The city and the county are kind of at odds right now, and I’m hoping that we can address that and help change that dynamic a little bit,” Couch says. “It is very important that local governments work together as best as we can, and we don’t need to be fighting each other, that’s counter-productive.”

Michael Turnipseed, executive director of the Kern County Taxpayer's Association says the three new supervisors bring a different view of the world than the people they replaced.

“This is the first time in my recollection that we've ever had an attorney on the board, retired military commander, captain who ran China Lake,” Turnipseed says. “And someone like Mr. Couch and what he brings in the community as a financial planner, advisor."

The group elected third-district supervisor Mike Maggard as chairman. Maggard says it is the first time in a long time there have been three brand new supervisors at one time.

"These three bring with them an interesting mixture of experience each of them in a different area of the private sector and each with a different area of government,” he says. “They’re all very bright, very enthusiastic, very motivated, so I think this is a time of great promise.”

Maggard says the board will take on a number of issues this year from prison realignment and public safety to balancing the budget and addressing problems with Kern Medical Center and county animal control.

The board will have a regular meeting Tuesday at 9 a.m. and at 2 p.m. at 1115 Truxtun Avenue.
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