After the July removal of Hughson Mayor Matt Beekman from the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), Stanislaus County mayors on Wednesday, Aug. 12 appointed Oakdale City Councilman Tom Dunlop to the vacant seat of the agency that creates new cities and special districts, changes boundaries, reorganizes local agencies, and performs municipal service reviews.
Dunlop, who also serves as Oakdale’s Mayor Pro Tem, said he was flattered at the nomination and had gratitude for Oakdale Mayor Pat Paul to put his name forward.
“I’ve been doing this stuff for a long time,” Dunlop said. “I’ve already worked with a lot of the same people and same commissions from my time on StanCOG.”
Dunlop, who works in the ag industry, also said he was aware of some controversy, including “lackey” name calling, surrounding his appointment as well as the removal of Beekman due to a perceived pro-growth position.
A slight majority of Stanislaus’s nine mayors voted to remove Beekman from LAFCO in July for his March vote favoring a change in the stance on farmland preservation that favored growth.
“I’m here to serve no other purpose except good governance and offer opinions,” Dunlop said. “It’s a sad day when it’s about the propaganda and not the facts. Good government is about facts.”
Paul said she felt Dunlop was the best to be on the LAFCO commission.
“He’s got a degree in ag, works in ag, and will speak up when needed,” Paul said. “He’s smart and a good person. He cares deeply about ag like all us mayors do.”
The commission also appointed Waterford Mayor Mike Van Winkle as a city alternate member on LAFCO. The former alternate, Riverbank Mayor Richard O’Brien, asked to step aside to avoid creating a conflict of interest situation if he and his nephew, County Supervisor Bill O’Brien, had to decide on the same item. Bill O’Brien is the county’s alternate member on LAFCO and both men work for the same family-owned grocery business, O’Brien’s Market.