In a thoughtful editorial in Thursday’s paper, the LA Times editorial board urged the County Board of Supervisors not to rush into selecting the 10 members for the new Blue Ribbon Commission for Child Protection, which was voted into existance on Tuesday afternoon.
The board has set a deadline of July 1—next Monday—by which time each supervisor is expected to choose his or her allotted two commissioners. Not exactly enough time for a process of careful brainstorming, list-making, deliberation and vetting.
Here’s a clip from the Times’ piece:
….It’s understandable that the board wants to get the process underway. One of the core reasons for convening such a commission is to dissect the county’s penchant for foot-dragging and deadline-pushing. Why have so many recommendations for protecting children from abuse and neglect remained on the shelf? The board can hardly instill the sense of urgency that’s needed if it takes forever to appoint commission members.
But a deadline of less than a week moves too far in the opposite direction. County supervisors, each of whom will make two appointments, must cast a wide net to find the people with the background and stature to do the work. The search need not, in fact should not, be limited to Los Angeles County. And it should not be limited to people with backgrounds in child welfare, given that the commission’s charge is to examine failures that include communication breakdowns among multiple agencies. The supervisors took their time appointing members to the Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence, and the people of Los Angeles County were rewarded with wise choices.
In other words, the last thing this commission needs is to be packed with the usual suspects, no matter how caring, worthy and experienced they are. Fresh eyes are absolutely required.
Another important point the Times makes is the fact that, if commission is to be truly independent, it needs to find, vet and hire its own executive director and staff—as the Citizen’s Committee for Jail Violence did.
I noted that, at Tuesday’s meeting, the CEO was tasked with coming up with suggestions as to who might make a good executive director for the commission. He was to come with a list to next Tuesday’s meeting.
This is a dreadful idea.
Once they appoint their commissioners, the Supes and the CEO’s office need to—to use the proper technical term—butt out!
Illustration from Aesops Fables by Milo Winter, used courtesy of Project Gutenberg