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Last updateWed, 17 Jan 2018 7pm
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Madera Supervisor's Secret $100,000 Salary Raise Made Public

EDITORIAL - Open government meetings is the most fundamental way for the public to stay informed as to what their representatives are doing on their behalf. When a government agency tries to hide their votes behind the curtain of an illegal closed session agenda item and the public finds out the item did not meet the criteria of a private meeting, trust in our public officials is lost.

Case in point the July 12th meeting of the Madera County Board of Supervisors where a closed session item was listed on the agenda for the reviewing of salaries for the elected department heads (Auditor, Tax Collector, Assessor, Sheriff and District Attorney) as well as the five members of the Madera County Board of Supervisors. They were going to hide behind a closed session meeting in a back room and discuss how much more money they wanted to pay themselves.


MADERA BOS SECRET MEETINGS: County Electeds Not Employees

EDITORIAL - An item appeared on the Madera County Board of Supervisor's agenda that made a few heads turn this week. Apparently there is a new group of unrepresented employees who need to negotiate their salaries and benefits in closed session this year, the Board of Supervisors.

Item "2-f" was a request for a closed session discussion which had something to do with labor negotiations pursuant to the California Government Code Section 54957.6. The county labor management was going to be represented by Chief Administrative Officer Eric Fleming and his deputy from Human Relations, Adrienne Calip. The unrepresented employees were each of the board of supervisors, Assessor Gary Svanda, Auditor Todd Miller, Recorder/Clerk Rebecca Martinez, District Attorney David Linn, Sheriff Jay Varney and Treasurer Tracy Kennedy. Here after known as "The Electeds".

Who is Planet Fitness and Do I Want to Give Them Access to My Checking Account?

MADERA - There are many in this community excited that Planet Fitness is coming to town but none more than the officials at the city of Madera. The fitness chains expansion into the over fifty year old Bethard Square Shopping Center marks the first of what the city is hoping is a complete remodel of this once dilapidated center with mass vacancies and asbestos filled, leaking, moldy ceilings.

The former owner of the center let the property go over the years, but the property was sold last summer following an online auction. The Madera Unified School District Board of Trustees held two closed session meetings to discuss purchasing the property for new district offices but after an inspection tour it was clear to the district that there was just too much damage from neglect to the building to make any remodel feasible let alone economically sound.

Big Valley News Endorses Foley and Poythress

EDITORIAL - Today is election day and there are two important local races that will effect the future of the city of Madera and Madera County. Big Valley News is recommending a vote for  Cece Foley Gallegos for Madera City Council District 1 and Robert Poythress for Madera County Board of Supervisors District 3.

Madera City Council District 1

The problem with knowing someone your whole life in a small town is sometimes little things grown into a life time of resentment.  I know there are people that dislike every single thing I do including this endorsement, but I also know there are people (not just my wife and kids) that love me and know I have always had the best of intentions in everything I do.

Cunnings Brother-in-Law & Walk-on Coach Threatens BVN Publisher

EDITORIAL - In eighteen years of publishing Big Valley News and Madera Online I have received my share of threats. From a junior high school band director's son to even a Madera Police Officer's wife. Usually all I need to do is a little research with the Internet Provider Address (IP) that is attached to every email to determine where the threats are coming from.

Some times I'll ask law enforcement to step in and subpoena the information from the Internet providers when the threat is directed towards my family. Well this morning when I logged on to Facebook there was a very disturbing message and it didn't take any research to figure out where it came from. The man's name and photo were right there on my screen.

Supervisor Rogers Loves Millionaire Developers & FunnelsThousands of Campaign Dollars to His Family

WHO OWNS THE MADERA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS?

 EDITORIAL - Who does the Madera County Board of Supervisors serve? You might think the answer should be all of the county citizens or at the very least the constitutes for the district they were elected to serve. You would be wrong.

Over the last few months I have been researching where the money comes from to run a $90k supervisor's campaign and the results show that the majority of the money isn't from the local mom and pop voters but from the multi-million dollar developers from Fresno and around the state.

Has the MUSD Board of Trustees Violated the Brown Act?

EDITORIAL - Just a few days after the law firm of Garcia, Hernandez, Sawhney & Bermudez, LLP held an 'Ethics Laws and Legal Principles for Public Service and Board Governance' workshop for the Madera Unified Board of Trustees, it looks like the board's clerk may have already violated the Ralph M. Brown Act.

Last month, in a sold-out board room which included an outdoor theater for overflow viewers,  the board voted to send Superintendent Ed Gonzales, Associate Superintendent Victor Villar, the executive cabinet and the board of trustees to harassment and bullying training. However in a secret vote in closed session at last Tuesda's board meeting, the board voted to reverse their action absolving the executive cabinet and board of trustees from the training.However, Gonzales and Villar are still on the hot seat for training no one outside of the Gang of Four (Trustee Brent Fernandes, Trustee Al Galvez, Trustee Robert E. Garibay and board president Maria Velarde-Garcia) feel they deserve.


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