COUNTYWIDE : Supervisors Reject Cal State Fund Plan

The Board of Supervisors, citing a tight budget, has refused to commit $250,000 to development of a California State University campus in Ventura County. The board rejected the recommendation Tuesday of Supervisor John K. Flynn, who said establishment of a special university fund would show that the county is a leader in supporting the proposed campus.

Irked by the board's response, Flynn walked out of the meeting. He later said the board had been unduly influenced by Chief Administrative Officer Richard Wittenberg, who he said is playing too great a role in decision-making.

"I've seen a change in the last four or five months, where he is playing almost the role of an elected official," Flynn said of Wittenberg, who is the board's chief adviser. "He's really making the decisions and the board is simply rubber-stamping them."

Other supervisors said they voted against setting up the university fund because the county's budget is so tight that dozens of jobs will be eliminated this year.

Supervisors Vicky Howard and Maggie Erickson Kildee said Flynn's assertions about Wittenberg were absurd.

"They were ridiculous," Howard said. "I do not find Richard Wittenberg to be that way at all. He is very wary of being an advocate."

Wittenberg was unavailable for comment.

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