Are Fresno Supervisors Targeting Janz's Mayoral Campaign? - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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Are Fresno Supervisors Targeting Janz's Mayoral Campaign?



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Andrew Janz says a proposed policy by the Fresno County Board of Supervisors is aimed to prevent him running for Fresno mayor.
His campaign sent his employer, Fresno County, a letter arguing that forcing employees running for public office to take time off is illegal.
Janz and Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer are the two major declared candidates running for mayor. The election is set for March 2020.

“The Board of Supervisors would be committing a gross abuse of power, but also an illegal one should they pass this.” — Andrew Janz
Janz, a Fresno County prosecutor, said the authors of the rule — supervisors Buddy Mendes and Nathan Magsig —  “made it specifically clear they are targeting” him.

Proposal on Hold

The proposal was on the supervisors’ Aug. 6 agenda but got pulled at the request of labor unions wanting more time to examine the policy.
It would require candidates to take two-to-three pay periods off prior to the election.
When Janz ran for Congress in 2018, his detractors accused him of campaigning on the public’s time. His boss, District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp, shot down those accusations. During the current mayoral campaign, Janz has deferred any GV Wire inquiries until after work hours.
The policy has many exceptions, including current officeholders and department heads (like Smittcamp), those seeking offices that don’t pay a full-time salary (like Janz’s prosecuting colleague Bob Whalen — a Clovis City Council member which isn’t a full-time job), judicial candidates (like Janz’s former colleagues Robert Mangano and Billy Terrance who won judge seats last year) or those running unopposed.

Janz Campaign Critical

“The Board of Supervisors would be committing a gross abuse of power, but also an illegal one should they pass this,” Janz said in a news release. “People should not be penalized for wanting to serve their community. I will not stand by and let this happen to myself or any other county employee who wishes to run for office. My wife is pregnant with our first child and losing our healthcare would be devastating and dangerous. I’ve always stood up for what’s right and this is no exception.”
Mendes, in a brief comment to Politics 101, didn’t think much of Janz’s letter.
“I thought it was very childish,” Mendes said. He added that the proposal may come back for a vote, but he provided no specific date.
Magsig said the policy does not target any one individual and that the proposal responds to community concerns about candidates running for office on county time.
“It is meant to apply to everyone equally to provide flexibility to the employees,” Magsig said. He noted that it applies to many of the 7,300 county employees who hold elected office for positions like school boards and special districts. He said state law prevents them from setting regulations on current elected officials.
The Central Labor Council is backing Janz in opposing the proposal. Janz said his campaign would take legal action if necessary.

County Calls Janz Campaign Misinformed

The county, through counsel Daniel Cederborg, responded to Janz’s campaign manager Mari Harren on Thursday afternoon.
“Unfortunately, you apparently have been very misinformed regarding the factual background around this proposal as well as its practical and legal effect,” Cederborg wrote.
Cederborg said the policy is needed to create uniformity with all county employees and does not target any individuals. However, he did reference Janz’s earlier congressional bid.
The letter said Janz requested up to 60 days off to run, but department policy would not allow for more than 30, upsetting him.
“Now Mr. Janz appears to favor the existing County policy when it is convenient for his publicity needs. It is disingenuous that Mr. Janz is now complaining about any effort to formalize rules related to leave for employees seeking public office that would allow for the type of extended leave he initially sought for himself,” Cederborg said.

Janz Campaign Letter to County

County Response Letter

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email