Drawing Board

State Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel.

According to the state legislation that extended the Fort Ord Reuse Authority to June 2020, the agency’s board must approve a post-sunset transition plan by the end of 2018. But it took two years, and a reminder from State Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, for that reality to sink in.

In 2016, FORA convened a transition task force to come up with a transition plan. Instead, the majority of the task force, and the FORA board, voted to extend the agency to 2035.

That would require state legislation, however, and that proposal was dead on arrival in Sacramento. FORA convened a second transition task force in 2017, which voted to form a joint powers authority with similar regional powers as FORA – essentially an extension by a different name.

Monning authored the legislation in 2012 that extended FORA the first time around. At a Jan. 12 board meeting, Monning took the floor. His goal: to set the board and FORA staff straight on what his legislation requires.

For one thing, he said, FORA already is a JPA, and his legislation specifically calls for a plan to assign FORA’s responsibilities to “successor agencies,” not a single entity. When the 2019 legislative year arrives, Monning says he wants two options to choose from: The transition plan his legislation requires, or pursuing another FORA extension.

“I’m not making any decisions until that is complete,” Monning says. “I don’t want to get too prescriptive with what the possibilities are. That’s for FORA to figure out.”

Following his speech, the board voted unanimously to reconvene another transition task force. One thing they’ll consider is hiring a consultant to help with fiscal and legal analysis of the options.

Marina City Council member and FORA board member Gail Morton sat on both earlier transition task forces, and has been advocating that course from the start.

“It’s what I’ve been saying for two years,” Morton says. “We’ve wasted a lot of public funds going down a path that was not consistent with [the law].”

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