The alleged assault of Calaveras County Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Albert Alt last weekend has left the recently-appointed official recovering at his home and county supervisors unsure about how to proceed.
District 4 Supervisor Dennis Mills told the Enterprise on Friday that he is in the dark regarding the details surrounding Saturday’s incident at The Range Bar in Valley Springs, which sent Alt to an out-of-county hospital with serious injuries and led to the arrest of nearby resident Benjamin Robitaille.
“I’m sure there’s more to the story than what’s being told right now,” Mills said. “I’ve been involved in investigations in the past, and there’s a lot more to it that we don’t know.”
Mills said that he has requested a copy of Alt’s contract and is looking into the current ethics policies of the county.
The supervisor also expressed dissatisfaction with a statement of sympathy delivered on behalf of the board by District 2 Supervisor and Chair Jack Garamendi to Clarke Broadcasting on Wednesday, calling the incident a “senseless, violent attack.”
“The only way for us to have a joint statement on behalf of the board is to meet and discuss what that statement is going to be,” said Mills, who stated that he has submitted a request for the board chair to hold a special meeting. “At this point, if the chair is not willing to call a special meeting and agendize discussion, it will have to be brought up on Tuesday (to) discuss whether to go into closed session.”
Another concern brought forward by Mills is the absence of “an established chain of command” in the county regarding the appointment of an interim CAO.
“The board hasn’t discussed it,” he said.
Garamendi told the Enterprise on Friday that he stands behind his statement and that he has not received any requests from Mills for a special meeting.
Deputy CAO Christa Von Latta will be filling in for Alt during Tuesday’s meeting while the CAO continues to work from home, he said.
According to District 3 Supervisor Merita Callaway, the interim CAO was selected by Alt.
Callaway added that although she does not know the details of Saturday’s incident, she found Garamendi’s statement appropriate for the situation.
“Jack (Garamendi) couldn’t call each of us to say, ‘This is what I want to say. Do you approve?” Callaway said.
However, the supervisor agreed with Mills that the board should hold a special meeting to address the issue.
“I am hoping the CAO gets better and gets back to work, but he is correct that the board should have the opportunity to hear what’s going on as a board,” she said.
Supervisors Tofanelli and Stopper, along with Alt and Robitaille, did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
Tuesday’s board meeting will be the first without Alt sitting in as CAO, as last Tuesday’s meeting was canceled due to the effects of last week’s public safety power shutoff.
Alt was appointed by the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors on April 16.