Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Created: 01/07/2011 07:11:02 PM PST

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will appoint a new leader, and Supervisor Janice Rutherford looks to be the swing vote that will determine whether Supervisor Josie Gonzales will chair the board.

Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, who has been on the board since January 2007, is also vying for the chairman position.

“I would be willing and honored to serve as chairman if I’m selected,” Mitzelfelt said Friday. “I’ve made it known to my colleagues that I’m interested in serving as chairman.”

Supervisor Neil Derry said he will back Mitzelfelt.

“He supports my efforts to have an ethics commission, and he seconded my motion to create the Sunshine Ordinance,” Derry said. “I believe he will bring a breath of fresh air to the county, which has been tried by so many scandals.”

Derry said Mitzelfelt also supported his motion for an investigation of the county Assessor’s Office during the reign of Bill Postmus.

Postmus, who faces felony charges related to the corruption scandal in the Assessor’s Office and the county’s $102million legal settlement with Rancho Cucamonga developer Colonies Partners LP in November 2006, also served on the Board of Supervisors for six years.

Mitzelfelt was his chief of staff then, and was appointed to fill Postmus’ vacated seat on on the board when Postmus was elected assessor. Mitzelfelt was elected to a four-year term on the board in 2008.

When asked about criticisms Mitzelfelt has come under for his ties to Postmus, Derry said Mitzelfelt “has moved on beyond that.”

Gonzales initially opposed an ethics commission and was critical of Derry’s Sunshine Ordinance, saying it lacked teeth and didn’t clearly detail the consequences for withholding public information.

Gonzales, who is the board’s vice chairwoman, could not be reached for comment.

The board chairman is the county’s chief executive, who presides over board meetings, signs contracts on behalf of the board and can take actions on the board’s behalf when the board isn’t available.

Rutherford, who along with Gonzales is a former Fontana councilwoman, would not say who she planned to vote for on Tuesday.

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