County pledges to retain public access to government documents |

County pledges to retain public access to government documents

According to the Friday memo sent out by Nevada County CEO Rick Haffey, state action could limit the public’s access to government documents — but not in Nevada County.

Gov. Jerry Brown was expected to sign legislation that will reduce the public’s access to government records by allowing local government officials to opt out of provisions of the Public Records Act, Haffey said.

A primary component of the bill will eliminate the requirement for a public agency to respond within 10 days of a formal public records request and deny requests at will, which will reduce the state’s reimbursement to local governments estimated at $20 million a year.

Public outcry has caused a reconsideration of this state action, according to Haffey.

“Nevada County does not endorse this proposal and will not compromise its unbreakable stance on full transparency, even with the threat of unreimbursed costs,” Haffey wrote in the memo.

“The county will continue to expand and provide the public access to a vast range of documents, continue to video stream meetings and adhere to current legal provisions of the Public Records Act. The A+ transparency rating held by the county will continue with the adoption of Board Resolution 13-042, which states as a priority objective the need to ‘increase public awareness and civic engagement through educational information programs.’”

New interim director appointed

to Environmental Health

Peggy Zarriello has been named interim director of the Department of Environmental Health, effective June 12. Zarriello started her professional career with Nevada County more than 24 years ago.

Zarriello started as a trainee before she became a Registered Environmental Health Specialist in 1989. She was progressively promoted from specialist, to lead specialist, to senior specialist before she was promoted to program manager in 2008. She has successfully worked with the county’s administrative team for the last five years in the Consumer Protection Division.

Zarriello belongs to statewide technical advisory committees in food, water and pools. She is a founding member of the county’s Biological, Emergency and Vector Task Force and a regional member of the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response.

Her professional specialties also include land use, where she worked in the private sector, designing septic and water systems.

Environmental Health and Public Health collaborate against childhood lead poisoning

Recently, a Nevada County home was investigated by the California Department of Public Health after a report of a child becoming poisoned by lead.

The home had multiple areas that were contaminated by lead, including window sills, painted walls, toys and the outside soil.

The state department referred the case to Nevada County Department of Environmental Health to assist the property owner with removal and remediation of lead-contaminated areas.

The Nevada County Department of Environmental Health and the Nevada County Department of Public Health receive state funding to work locally to prevent childhood lead poisoning.

The state recommends testing your home for lead if there are children in your home, and the home was built prior to 1978.

If you have children, lead in your home can cause serious long-term health and behavior problems for them. In particular, lead is a hazard to children younger than 6.

Lead in paint, dust and soil is a problem for children because it gets in their bodies when they put their fingers, toys, paint chips or dust in their mouths. Lead can also be harmful to a pregnant woman and her developing fetus.

For more information about childhood lead poisoning, contact the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch at 510-620-5600, the Nevada County Department of Public Health at 530-265-1450 or go to

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