The Woodbridge Municipal Advisory Council is reeling with three of its seven members resigning in less than a week.
Some people aren't talking about it publicly, but others are saying that personality conflicts have plagued the advisory council, charged with making recommendations about Woodbridge issues to San Joaquin County officials.
"There's no denying that there was friction in the room — why, I don't know," MAC chairman Mary Avanti said. "I could feel it; you could hear it. It wasn't healthy."
Lita Wallach, who chaired the MAC in 2011, and Ray Cuenca resigned on March 14, and Garry Duncan stepped down last week. That leaves Avanti, Tasso Kandris, Charles Stocker and newcomer Doug Field on the council. Meanwhile, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors will consider adopting bylaws on how municipal advisory councils throughout the county will operate. The topic may come up at the board's April 3 meeting.
"There have never been bylaws about the MACs," long-time Woodbridge MAC member Tasso Kandris said.
Cuenca wrote a brief email to Supervisor Ken Vogel in announcing his resignation.
"My services in this organization are of no value and therefore feel by stepping down, there may be some other volunteer that will be more productive in assisting the current leadership," Cuenca wrote.
Cuenca didn't return several phone calls from the News-Sentinel to elaborate on his statement, but Kandris said that Cuenca appeared to join the MAC for one reason — to close public access to the Woodbridge Wilderness Area. The wilderness area, on the south bank of the Mokelumne River, is open two weekends a month, when volunteers are present to maintain the area and ensure safety.
Avanti lobbied the county last year to open the wilderness area to the public, and she's a leading volunteer when it's open to the public.
Wallach said she stepped down to consider volunteering in the areas of children, education and health care.
Duncan said he resigned because he's busy on the county Republican Central Committee and Assessment Appeals Board. He's also busy looking for a new job. In addition to Woodbridge, the county has municipal advisory councils in Thornton, Lockeford, Morada, Linden and French Camp. As communities without a city government, the Board of Supervisors governs those communities.
The goal behind the MACs is to have a seven-member elected council conduct regular meetings in the community and take a position on various affecting the community. Those recommendations are forwarded to the county for its consideration. One change the Board of Supervisors will consider is making the MACs appointed positions rather than elected, said Denise Warmerdam, legislative assistant to Supervisor Ken Vogel.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.