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Nelson, Bates Selected For Orange County Board of Supervisors

Nelson will serve as chairman, Supervisor Bates of Laguna Niguel, was selected as vice-chair of the board.

Shawn Nelson was selected by his fellow supervisors today as chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. 

Nelson, who was vice chairman of the board and would normally move up to chairman under the board's protocol, appeared to be in jeopardy of being passed over because of his demeanor during meetings and the way he has been interacting with staff, according to a supervisor who requested anonymity.

Nelson, however, met with his fellow supervisors and appeared to smooth over any differences. The vote to pick Nelson for the top spot was unanimous.

At today's board meeting, Supervisor Janet Nguyen said she met with Nelson and, "We had a great dialogue yesterday... I do want to thank Supervisor Nelson for meeting with me and really getting to know each other and coming to a consensus to work together as a full board."

After the meeting, Nelson said his main goal for this year was to build consensus on the board.

"My goal is to spend time with my colleagues and see what their goals are because my goals are irrelevant if we don't have consensus," Nelson said. "Now my role is to represent the consensus."

Nelson's ascension to chairman was expected today since he already had the support of newly sworn-in Supervisor Todd Spitzer and Orange County Board Chairman John Moorlach.

Moorlach said Monday that it's Nelson's turn to become chairman. Spitzer agreed.

"It should go in the natural rotation," Spitzer said. "It's the right thing to do and I'm confident Shawn will be a great chairman."

Spitzer said he was never part of the behind-the-scenes machinations that threatened Nelson's chairmanship.

"I was not part of all the orchestration behind the scenes," Spitzer said. "I was never in the mix and I wasn't driving this."

Spitzer added the board has more important issues to focus on.

"This board needs to be focusing on solving very pressing county issues and it can't be so introspective about its own internal politics," Spitzer said.

"We're here to solve problems and guide this county with a vision for the future. We're not here to fight amongst ourselves to decide who's going to be the top dog."

After today's election of Nelson and Bates to lead the board, the supervisors went behind closed doors to interview a handful of candidates for chief executive officer.

--City News Service

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