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Incoming county Board of Supervisors Chair Jesus Eduardo Escobar (left) presented outgoing board Chair Michael Kelley with a plaque for his service during the 2021 calendar year during the Tuesday, Jan. 4 meeting. | PHOTO COURTESY OF GIL REBOLLAR

County Board Installs Jesus Escobar as Chair

In Annual Reorganization, Luis Plancarte Elected Vice Chair

EL CENTRO — The Imperial County Board of Supervisors’ annual reorganization took place during its meeting Tuesday, Jan. 4, with District 1 Supervisor Jesus Eduardo Escobar being voted in as chair, and District 2 Supervisor Luis Plancarte as vice chair.

During his remarks after his election, Escobar said he was thankful for the leadership that was demonstrated over the 2021 calendar year by outgoing board Chair Michael Kelley, who Escobar referred to as “the Fonz,” for being so calm, cool, and collected during such a challenging time.

While acknowledging the much-missed absence of former County Executive Officer Tony Rouhotas Jr., who resigned Dec. 31, Escobar also thanked interim CEO Ben Salorio for stepping up to fill the vacancy, noting he had “huge shoes to fill.”

He further thanked all of the county’s employees for their hard work and for keeping the county functioning, as well its citizenry, which should remain hopeful of benefitting from the county’s short- and long-term plans for economic development and quality of life improvements.

Supervisor Plancarte also shared some remarks, echoing Escobar’s characterization of outgoing Chair Kelley as being cool, calm and collected. Plancarte, too, said he was looking forward to working with his colleagues and county officials on behalf of the citizenry during the coming months.

El Centro Mayor Tomas Oliva (right) presents outgoing county Board of Supervisors Chair Michael Kelley with a certificate of recognition from Assembly member Eduardo Garcia for Kelley’s service during the 2021 calendar year during the Tuesday, Jan. 4 meeting. | PHOTO COURTESY OF GIL REBOLLAR

“Let’s make 2022 our best year,” Plancarte said.

Additionally, Supervisors Ryan Kelley and Ray Castillo offered words of encouragement to Escobar and Plancarte as they assumed their respective positions.

Ryan Kelley said he never could have imagined two years ago the county being mired in a pandemic.

“Hope is there, we will prevail as a community, as a county as a nation,” he said.

Similarly, Castillo expressed hope for the near future, especially since employments rates have dropped considerably from about a decade ago.

“With the economic development that is coming it’s going to get better,” Castillo said.

For his part, outgoing Chair Michael Kelley said he was grateful for the opportunity to have led the board during such a trying year. He also lavished thanks on county employees and department heads for their ability to keep services running amid the pandemic.

“We can only be proud of all the hard work they put together and accomplished,” Kelley said.

For his service as chair, Kelley was presented with certificates of recognition from the offices of state Sen. Ben Hueso and Assembly member Eduardo Garcia during the meeting.