10:00 PM PDT on Tuesday, May 4, 2010

By DUANE W. GANG
The Press-Enterprise

Riverside County voters are a step closer to getting the chance to decide whether to approve a charter giving supervisors more local control.

In a 5-0 vote Tuesday, supervisors approved a county charter proposal that would allow them — and not the governor — to fill vacancies on the Board of Supervisors.

The proposal must come back before supervisors May18 for final approval before it can be placed on the November ballot.

“It gives us more local latitude and helps solve a problem we have already seen and could crop up again,” said Supervisor Bob Buster, who proposed the charter.

For two months last year, the county was without a fifth supervisor after the resignation of the late Supervisor Roy Wilson. That meant the board had little leeway for dissent, absences and illnesses when supervisors were considering a host of financial matters that require a four-fifths vote.

Charters provide more local control, and most of Riverside County’s neighbors have them in place.

The charter proposal supervisors approved Tuesday would make only one substantive change to how Riverside County operates.

In the event of a vacancy, the remaining supervisors within 30 days must appoint a successor, call a special election or hold a special election and make an appointment until a new board member is elected.

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