The board of directors of Sonoma Clean Power voted Thursday to request that Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo be removed from his board post with the agency, saying his arrest last year and subsequent acquittal on charges of attempting to peek into a female neighbor's home have made him a distraction for the new public electricity provider.
The 6-1 decision came after a lengthy and at times divisive discussion on the issue, drawing in about a dozen speakers from the audience who voiced support and opposition for the move. Carrillo, who called the request a waste of time, walked out of the meeting before the vote was taken. Windsor Mayor Bruce Okrepkie was the lone dissenting board member, saying the agency was veering unnecessarily into overtly political matters.
The formal request from the board now goes to David Rabbitt, chairman of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, who appointed Carrillo to the power board earlier this year and has the sole authority to remove him in this case. In an interview on Thursday, Rabbitt said he has no intention of acting on the request.
“I was disappointed the Sonoma Clean Power board took so much time and energy going down that path,” Rabbitt said. “I think they have better things to do. The discussion detracts from what they need to do.”
The public electricity supplier is a little more than two months into its first year serving customers and the debate about Carrillo's board seat was clearly one of the most discomfiting political and personal matters that officials have taken up in the agency's short existence.
The discussion took up about an hour at the end of the regular meeting, after directors had voted to accelerate this year the rollout to new customers in Sonoma Clean Power's jurisdiction, including the unincorporated county and five cities.
Board members said that Carrillo's continued presence on the board made it difficult for the agency to retain customers and attract new cities to join the public electricity program.