Although the headline seems nonsensical, Fresno Sheriff Margaret Mims has ended a three-year battle with her own board of supervisors regarding the relationship between two autonomous county entities. Mims had been seeking answers to how much control the Board could exercise over her department.
The answer that eventually came was not the one Mims had been hoping for. Short of dictating day-to-day operations, the Board has the authority not only to set her budget, but to direct how it should be spent – even down to which positions she should hire. The protracted legal battle arose during years of budget cuts when the Board of Supervisors ordered Mims to restore funding to several closed floors in the jail facility, despite cutting the department’s overall budget.
Some of the challenge dissipated when funding was restored through other means, and now the jail is fully operational again. However, the larger question regarding the division of power continued.
Early in the case, Mims won a ruling that would have granted her wide control over her own department, but that was subsequently overruled by a more detailed decision. With the window to appeal that decision expired, Mims has instead turned her attention to rebuilding relationships with the Board, and finding ways to work together.
Read the full story at the Fresno Bee.