Governor Jerry Brown has appointed Manuel Nevarez, 40, of Madera, as the new Madera County District 1 Supervisor. The announcement was made March 8 by the governor's office.
The District 1 seat was left vacant after Supervisor Frank Bigelow was elected as the new representative for the 5th Assembly District in November. Nevarez will face reelection in the November, 2014 primary and June general election, after serving the remaining 22 months of Bigelow's term. Annual compensation for the position is $71,515.
"I am honored and humbled that Governor Brown has appointed me to serve as Madera County District 1 Supervisor," Nevarez said in a prepared statement. "I am sure that they had a difficult task selecting from so many good candidates. I appreciate the confidence and support of all the people that took the time to know me and share their support making it possible for me to serve in this capacity."
Nevarez is a lifelong resident of Madera and said he is dedicated to serving God, his family and his community.
"I appreciate the support of my wife Leticia, and our four children, and all of our family and friends," Nevarez said. "I am blessed to have the support of so many people with diverse issues, but a common interest -- The betterment of Madera County. As supervisor, I will continue my commitment to learning the issues and understanding the concerns of the people. I am dedicated to developing strong governance skills with an appreciation for all of the people who work hard for Madera County. I am ready to work, and I look forward to joining the Madera County team."
Nevarez was an account executive at PMAC Lending Services Inc. for two years before leaving the company in February. He is a franchise owner with ACN Inc. a service-based telecommunications provider. He was a senior account executive at Washington Mutual Bank from 1998 to 2008 and a senior loan officer at Santa Fe Mortgage from 1997 to 1998.
He is registered as "no party preference," although between 2007 and last September, he was registered as a Republican.
Nevarez is a member of the Madera Community Action Network and chairman of the Madera Unified School District Citizens' Bond Oversight Committee.
Max Rodriquez, chairman of the board of supervisors, is pleased with the selection.
Rodriquez said when he heard Nevarez was being considered for the position, he knew he could work with him because they have similar goals for the betterment of the county.
"It was important that this person be interested in government and be in support of high speed rail that I have supported for the past four years," Rodriquez said after the announcement. "If we are going to see high speed rail happen I am very interested in getting the maintenance yard in Madera County. It (high speed rail) may not come, but if it does, it would serve us well to get the best deal we can for the county and get the maintenance yard near Ave. 18 1/2. We need to get some badly needed dollars in our county. I wanted someone who supported high speed rail and Manuel does."
Nevarez completes the five-member board including chairman Rodriquez (District 4), vice-chair Tom Wheeler (District 5), David Rogers (District 2) and recently elected Rick Farinelli (District 3) who replaced Ronn Dominici, who did not seek re-election last year after 12 years on the board.
District 5 Supervisor and vice-chairman of the board Tom Wheeler said he is looking forward to working with Nevarez and feels he will work well with his fellow board members.
"He is coming on the board at a time we have some critical decisions to make including the 2013-2014 budget," Wheeler said.
"I've only had limited interactions with Supervisor Nevarez so far but he strikes me as a very personable and engaged individual that wants to get up to speed quick on county business," said Eric Fleming, county chief administrative officer.
Nevarez was chosen from about 15 candidates in the district who applied for the position.
One of the candidates for the seat was Madera County Planning Commissioner Ray Krause of O'Neals, who has indicated he will run for the position in 2014.
Krause, a Republican, said to be considered for any gubernatorial appointment, one must submit a rather intensive application to the governor's office. He was then granted a first interview which was conducted by the Chief Assistant Appointments Secretary Patrick Henning at the Capitol in Sacramento.
Krause, a founding member of the Madera Vintners Association and past president of the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau, was then granted a second interview conducted by Appointments Secretary Mona Pasquil with the governor's senior adviser, Dana Williamson and Patrick Henning in attendance.
"Both interviews were cordial and enjoyable and took about one hour each," Krause said "To their inevitable and somewhat general question about High Speed Rail, I informed them that my trusted advisors from both political persuasions had told me to tell them what they wanted to hear but I couldn't bring myself to do that if it was not true to my personal belief. Without discussing project specifics, I probably shot myself in the foot by offering that it was my opinion that the High Speed Rail Authority gets a failing grade in communication skills."
Krause, a California native and Madera county property owner since 1975, received a call from Henning regarding the governor's decision.
"Governor Brown's decision may well have been a foregone conclusion but the process and, at least the appearance of due diligence, were handled quite professionally," Krause said. "Of course, we are disappointed but not at all surprised at the Governor's decision for the interim position of Madera County Supervisor District 1. He has his own political agenda and vision as to what Madera County should look like within this crazy quilt we call California. Mine is a bit different. We are now looking forward to participating in the 2014 election process wherein District 1 citizens will be allowed to make their own decision."
Krause with his wife Tammy, own and operate Westbrook Wine Farm Vineyard and Winery in O'Neals.
In an email sent to county employees the day of the announcement, Rodriquez said "I ask that you join me in welcoming him aboard and assisting him in this transitional time," Rodriquez said. "I think I speak for all of the board when I say that we are glad to have a fifth supervisor on the team and look forward to working with Manuel as we tackle the issues facing our community."