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Merced County is ‘healthy, not wealthy,’ new supe says in opening remarks

Merced County District 5 Supervisor Scott Silveira takes his oath of office from Sheriff Vern Warnke on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019.
Merced County District 5 Supervisor Scott Silveira takes his oath of office from Sheriff Vern Warnke on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019. Merced County

Los Banos native Scott Silveira joined the Merced County Board of Supervisors Monday, saying elected officials and county employees should strive for service.

The third-generation dairyman took the oath of office from Sheriff Vern Warnke while a crowd including many residents of the Westside looked on.

The 40-year-old ran on a pro-business platform, saying county officials can best help the economy by staying out of the way.

“There’s never been a fee that a developer or business liked, but it’s (about) what can we do in the county to streamline the process?” he said. “The one thing people crave is certainty.”

The Merced County Administration Building has what officials call a “one-stop shop” for those looking to pull permits or conduct other business. Silveira said it doesn’t go far enough.

“I think it needs some refining,” he said. “I don’t like when I hear people say the county is the reason for a (business) hold up. ... We are in the customer service business.”

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Mike North Merced County

Silveira said he’s spent the past six months learning what he can by meeting with department heads and other county officials. “I think basically the county is healthy, not wealthy,” he said. “It’s healthy. We’re making good choices there. There’s always room for a little bit of improvement.”

Before winning the election in June, Silveira served as a councilmember in Los Banos going back to 2010.

The new supervisor represents the Westside communities of Dos Palos, Los Banos, Midway, Santa Nella, South Dos Palos and Volta. That seat was held for the past 28 years by Jerry O’Banion, who retired in December.

Silveira coasted to victory in June, bringing in more than 60 percent of the vote while facing three other candidates. He also far outpaced his competitors in campaign contributions, pulling in three times the amount of any other candidate, according to county records.

District 3 Supervisor Daron McDaniel took his oath for a second term during a separate ceremony on Thursday. He ran unopposed for re-election. District 3 covers Atwater, north Merced, Franklin-Beachwood and McSwain.

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Merced County District 3 Supervisor Daron McDaniel was sworn into his second term in office on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Mike North Merced County

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