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Setting the agenda for Orange County’s Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) requires collaboration from county staff and county commissioners. Department heads are required to submit potential agenda items well in advance of a BOCC meeting. County staff meetings consist of representatives from relevant departments explaining their proposed item. The County Manager and County Attorney state any issues they foresee as potential hurdles for the item to move forward. Sometimes the department representative is directed to make changes to the item. If changes are made, the updated item must be returned to the County Manager’s Office within a few days. Once a draft of the full agenda is compiled, the County Manager meets with the Chair and Vice Chair of the BOCC. The Chair and Vice Chair give further feedback. Staff then have another couple of days to make alterations to the item and return it to the County Manager’s office so they can compile a final draft of the agenda for the public BOCC meeting.
Watching the agenda preparation process unfold is interesting because it includes all aspects of local government. Some agenda items influence the budget, while others involve the capital improvement plan. Some agenda items may not have a financial impact, but may be the cause of political conflict. Part of the job of the County Manager’s Office is to navigate politically charged topics with care. The Office does this by communicating with the commissioners, listening to the public, and learning about the topic. I have created an extensive flowchart that outlines in detail the agenda preparation process. It will displayed at the next departmental directors’ meeting to remind them of the deadlines that need to be followed in order to complete all the necessary preparation required for this important aspect of local government.