Mono County’s controversial Assessor Jim Lovett walked into the Supervisors’ Board room Tuesday wearing a hat with bold yellow letters that said “Moonshine Runner.” Lovett’s kind of mud in your eye message to the Supervisors did not go unnoticed.
Lovett took the hat off and told the Board that said his dept is fully staffed. He reported on his trip to the Mammoth Lakes Town Council meeting where he talked about the reassessment of Mammoth Mountain. Lovett offered a time table to complete MMSA’s issues. He also reported that the backlog of appraisals has shrunk.
Supervisor Chairman Hap Hazard asked him about the change in MMSA’s reappraisal time line. why did it go from a few weeks into the new year to August 2008? Supervisor Hazard is concerned about the impact of revenue to the county’s special districts. Lovett replied that he provided the “best information” he had at the time. That was all he said.
One more point of contention appeared when Lovett was asked if he filed a reimbursement claim with the county for a hotel room in Mammoth Lakes for the night of the meeting. He said that he did. Chairman Hazard asked why and added that the County would have arranged transportation for Lovett. Supervisor Bauer said that no county staff charges for hotels for in-county travel.
Lovett said the California employment code requires compensation whenever an employee travels 50 miles. County code may not. Lovett went into a brief civics lecture, invoked the U.S. Constitution and discussed the varying levels of government. He said that under California law, revenue and taxation code, he is obligated to do the job as Assessor. If any resolution of the Board of Supervisors conflicts with his mandates, such as revoking his auto allowance, they’re the ones who are breaking the law, Lovett claimed.
Supervisor Bill Reid asked Lovett why he didn’t come in to deal with some of the backlog to get everything up to date? Lovett replied he would be in the field a lot and wouldn’t be able to be in the office. “You’re not in the office as it is,” Reid said.
With battle lines drawn in the board room, citizens are still busy collecting signatures on petitions to recall Lovett. The due date for petitions is December 26th.