Side Eye: Nav Gill
Updated: Jan 27
Do you know who this person is? Most people don’t. This is County Executive Nav Gill.
If you are a County resident, then you should know him because he controls $4.4 Billion. Yes, that is the County budget. But what about the Board of Supervisors, those ELECTED people? Yah, they are not in charge of the day to day operations of the County.
As County Executive, Gill decides where the money goes. Gill and his Cabinet make decisions and don’t have open meetings. They don’t have to listen to public comments. They don’t even have to take meetings with concerned constituents. So, are the needs of the community taken into consideration when funding decisions are made? That'd be a no! Gill decides that the public should not have a say in where the $181 Million of CARES Act funding should be spent - despite an overwhelming number of County residents wanting the funds to go to rent and mortgage assistance.
And as the County finalizes its 2020-2021 budget, which will be adopted in September 2020, Gill decides where this $4.4 Billion goes. In the past, the majority of that money has gone to law enforcement instead of investing in communities.
He’s pretty darn important...
There have been several occasions when we have attended a County Board of Supervisors meeting and have heard the Chair or another Supervisor reference Nav Gill before making a decision on whether to move on a request. So the understanding of Gill and his role in the decision making process at the county level is very important.
According to the County of Sacramento website, “Nav Gill, directs and coordinates all County departments and works with the Board of Supervisors to achieve organizational and community goals. Appointed as County Executive in January 2016, Gill has been with Sacramento County since 2007 as the Assistant County Executive/Chief Operations Officer for Sacramento County, where he was instrumental in reshaping the County’s operations to meet the challenges of changing economic conditions while continuing to effectively deliver services.”
With such a pivotal position, his role in determining the county budget is essential.
All of the Deputy County Executives sit on Nav’s Cabinet and those departments include Administration Services, Municipal Services, Public Works and Infrastructure, and Social Services. Being the County Executive is a position of great power and this position is ultimately responsible for the creation of the budget the Board of Supervisors votes on every year.
They say a budget is a moral statement of priorities and demonstrates what you value most. At this point in time, the County's budget continues to reflect the fact that County officials value Law Enforcement over housing, homelessness, mental health services, youth and other services and programs that impact communities.
As we are now experiencing unprecedented times and needs for services and programs are so great in Sacramento County. It is time to start shifting the way the County thinks about public safety and community needs. That shift must start with the Board of Supervisions and definitely within the office of the County Executive and Cabinet in order for us to see real meaningful changes in how funds are allocated in our county.
How do we ensure that Nav Gill hears the voices that are crying out for help? We must continue to show up, call in and send letters to the Board of Supervisors because they must give the final vote but we also need to find ways to ensure that those who are behind closed doors making the budget decisions hear from the community loud and clear as well.