WILLITS -- District Three Supervisor Tom Woodhouse's family has issued a statement saying that he is under doctor's care due to an unspecified "medical condition," and that he will "hopefully" return to his duties in November. The short statement does not elaborate on the condition, nor specify with certainty when a return will occur. Until such time as he returns District Three will remain without representation on the Board of Supervisors, and important cannabis related votes will take place with only three sitting members of the board due to Supervisor Hamburg recusing himself from those votes.
Woodhouse has been absent from the past four Board of Supervisors meetings. At the last meeting on Tuesday he sent word that he would be taking a leave until Nov. 3.
Knocks at his office door, in Willits, have gone unanswered and repeated calls to his cellphone, and emails, have not produced a response. Responding to a call today to his home phone number, his wife informed that his daughter, Whitney Woodhouse, would be sending out a press release.
However, the Willits Weekly reported yesterday, Oct. 6, that in a phone conversation with a reporter at that paper, Woodhouse acknowledge that he himself was the family emergency keeping him away from his duties.
One rumor that has been circulating, that former supervisor John Pinches would somehow temporarily step in, was denied by Pinches in an interview earlier today. Pinches said that he had not had any such conversations, nor did he have any inclination to step in.
He added that Woodhouse remains the Third District Supervisor even if he doesn't attend meetings, and that if he were to resign, become completely incapacitated, or die, his replacement would be appointed by the governor.
Mendocino County Counsel Katherine Elliott could not confirm the procedure to follow in the case of extended absence or incapacitation, saying she would need to research it.
The Mendo Voice dug up this section of the California Government Code, which appears to have some answers. Section 1770-1782, which deal with vacancies.
Paragraph G of section 1770 state:
(g) His or her ceasing to discharge the duties of his or her office for the period of three consecutive months, except when prevented by sickness, or when absent from the state with the permission required by law.
The full text of the message of the family's statement follows:
As many of you know, Third District Supervisor Tom Woodhouse has been absent from several Board of Supervisors meetings. Supervisor Woodhouse has a medical condition and is presently under a doctor's care. We are hopeful Supervisor Woodhouse will be able to return to work in early November. The family is asking for understanding and consideration of their privacy during this difficult time. Updates will be provided as information becomes available.
The Woodhouse Family