Board of Supervisors Defer Decision on Fate of County Executive Jeff Smith

Meeting just bi-weekly, and not at all in the month of July, the life of a Santa Clara County supervisor can be a punt-pass-and-kick competition when it comes to making tough calls. It’s no surprise then that supervisors decided to defer any decision on the fate of County Executive Jeff Smith, whose contract expired at the end of June. Rather than cut ties with Smith or sign him to a new deal, supervisors chose to retain the county CEO in an at-will capacity without a contract. Smith has always been an at-will employee, and he never had a severance package in his original four-year deal, but the lack of a signature seems to imply the pen truly is mightier than the board. According to one local political consultant, the supervisors’ decision to do nothing was more of an indictment on the four men elected to make tough decisions—Ken Yeager, Dave Cortese, Joe Simitian and Mike Wasserman—than Smith. “They don’t take a stand on anything,” one wag crowed. The county has been subject to intense scrutiny ever since it was revealed last fall that former county supe George Shirakawa Jr. was stealing from a variety of cookie jars, the illegal ones being campaign and public funds. Smith made some questionable statements about policies and procedures being unclear before eventually coming clean and admitting, yes, Shirakawa broke the law. But Smith may have gone too far in that respect, as he tried to keep the focus on Shirakawa’s illegal actions and defended a finance agency that clearly missed red flags. Smith has since started a county webpage dedicated to “Reform Efforts” and he apparently has a 10-year plan outlined for the county. Of course, with job security like his, Smith’s outline is less an executable strategy than a wing and a prayer.

The Fly is the valley’s longest running political column, written by Metro Silicon Valley staff, to provide a behind-the-scenes look at local politics. Fly accepts anonymous tips.



    It is almost a joke what these idiots say and how they waste our public funds.  However the joke is on us!  Because of the few who never even bother to read the ballot measures. Raising gas tax (3.5% per gallon, I thought the state/county/city stated we just had a surplus in funds and now we want to make you pay more), property taxes, water taxes, and any new tax they can put on the ballot.

    But of course it is all about pension reform.  That is the new buzz word.  You idiots signed off on it in the good times and failed to prepare for the future.  Again shame on you for not putting money away (spending it on pork belly projects) and now you claim it is not your fault when employees have worked for 30 + years and now you put the blame on them. AND punish current / future workers.  Love how you apporved prior contacts, now attack current workers.

    Love how Chuck said he voted for these contacts but did not agree.  Grow up and make a stance like the minority of your council who are now shunned.

    Can’t wait for 10 days to see the new SJ contract with (police) and see another mass number of public safey officers saying goodbye.

  2. When Georgie Jr, goes to the tailor to be fitted for his stay, courtesy of the county system. That tailor should be brought in to measure the rest of the Board of Supervisors, just in case.
      DA Rosen could then take DNA, again just in case!
      This episode in county government is beginning to play out like the Joker and The Penguin in Batman and Robin.
    At my anvil,years ago, I built myself an emotional armor suit.
    The Mexican Heritage Gardens, “Gang of Plenty”, thought they had laid to rest, The Village Black Smith, when I asked for audits!
      They sent 3 knuckle heads to whack me! Huh?
      How do you like me now? Vatos!
    The Village Black Smith

  3. Well just heard, Judge is taking city stance (so much for don’t talk for 10 days).

    Say good bye to a few dozen more officers leaving for greener and more stable jobs and others just retiring to save earned benefits.  I feel for those that have no choice but to stay. 

    Thanks Chuck and his council of clowns.  CHP and others will not come when you reach Oakland murder rates. And when you call 911 and there are no one to come.  You (citizens) voted for Measure B and now you will be paying the price of Chuck’s coolaid.

    In years after appeals the measure will be over turned but Chuck and council will be long gone and could care less.

  4. Jeff Smith not being removed from his seat as County Executive is disheartening as a citizen of Santa Clara County. I can’t agree more with the consultant who stated that none of the four remaining Supervisors have the leadership quality to make tough decisions. If it’s not Jeff Smith, then it’s Vinod Sharma and Irene Lui.

    I can only hope that all three contracts are terminated, but since President Ken Yeager, Dave Cortese, Mike Wasserman, and Joe Simitian have not made any indication to comment on this issue since it happened, I only see one or the other happening. Would Cindy Chavez or Teresa Alvarado be the one to make the decision? Doubt it.

    I am curious to know why Santa Clara Board of Supervisors failed to schedule a Public Meeting for over 7 weeks? I hope they are having “Special Meetings” to determine the contracts of Jeff Smith, Vinod Sharma, and Irene Lui. I would like them to discuss their contracts at the next Public Meeting in August, if they all show up.

    Thank you for this update as you are upholding your journalistic integrity to inform the public upon information that concerns the citizens of Santa Clara County.

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