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Mono County Supervisors discuss at length whether to fix historic clock in Bridgeport courthouse
It took the county supervisors almost as long to decide whether to fix—well, sort of decide—an antique clock in the supervisor’s chambers as it did to agree to an historic cooperative agreement between the county and the Town of Mammoth Lakes Tuesday (see story on P. 13)
“It’s the responsibility of the county to fix the things it owns,” said Supervisor Larry Johnston, with considerable heat.
“There are two heaters in Chalfant and Benton in the community centers that need to be fixed,” said Supervisor Fred Stump, noting the heaters have not so far been fixed due to a budget shortfall.
“The clock is nice, but it’s decorative, and the fact that the county has already spent 50 percent (of what it would cost to fix the heaters and which was spent on fixing the clock last year under former County Administrative Officer Jim Arkens) shows a lack of prioritization. The heaters are so loud people can’t hear themselves talk, people need a place to meet, they need it to be warm.”
“Does it need to be working,” said Supervisor Tim Fesko, noting the clock was repaired twice last year and now, it may need another several hundred dollars to fix.
“How often will we have to keep repairing this thing?” he said, noting that the price to fix the clock this time was still unknown.
“Does a dysfunctional clock represent a dysfunctional board?” asked Supervisor Byng Hunt. “That’s a rhetorical question.”
Other supervisors didn’t think the question was rhetorical and the clock was the center of a discussion that lasted for 45 minutes.
The supervisors agreed to pitch in some of their own money to get the clock to be looked at by a specialist who repairs antique clocks after Johnston said he would be willing to take the clock with him on his next visit to the West side of the Sierra.
The supervisors did not agree to fix the clock, however, if it cost more than they believed to be appropriate, something that will be determined in a future meeting when more information is available.
The supervisors also agreed to pursue finding a private entity—something like members of the local E. Clampus Vitus or another local group with historical leanings—to adopt the clock long term, and perhaps, the entire historic county courthouse.
In the meantime, the supervisors will continue to keep time with a thoroughly modern clock, located high up on the wall of their chambers in the county courthouse.