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Hughson's Vito Chiesa joins Board of Supervisor
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There's a new face on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors.

Hughson farmer Vito Chiesa, elected by District 2 voters on June 4, was seated at the dais yesterday morning, taking his place among the five most powerful elected officials in the County. Chiesa takes the seat formerly held by longtime Board of Supervisors Chairman Tom Mayfield, who had announced he would not seek reelection last spring and died in Dec. of an extended illness.

"I['m not sure I've earned the right yet to speak," Chiesa said shortly after being sworn in, "but I thank my supporters. I look forward to getting to work today."

District 1 Supervisor Bill O'Brien and District 5 Supervisor Jim DeMartini were reseated for their second and third terms, respectively, but it was Chiesa who received the loudest applause of the three as he was sworn in. Some members of the audience were hooting and hollering in support of the first-term supervisor, including what seemed to be the entirety of Chiesa's family.

Supervisors held a brief reception in the foyer of the county chambers with coffee, juice, and baked goods to greet the many attendees, including city officials, but Chiesa was late to work his way out to the crowded entryway. He spent a long while taking pictures with his family next to the bronze seal of Stanislaus County that adorns the Chambers, enjoying his first day on the new job.

Chiesa's first action on the board came as an aye vote to appoint DeMartini as Chairman and District 3 Supervisor Jeff Grover as Vice-Chair. Chiesa made his first motion later in the meeting, moving to approve a contract with the California Department of Public Health for the Women, Infants, and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program.

"I made a note of it to myself," Chiesa said, "my first official action on the Board.

"I'm excited, but I'm just as apprehensive realizing the budget crisis ahead of us," he continued. "It is going to be a tough go over the next 12-18 months."

In addition to dealing with budget woes, Chiesa will serve as a member of 11 committees as a part of his new post. While serving the Stanislaus Council of Governments, the Children's Welfare Commission, the Fish and Wildlife Committee, the Local Agency Formation Commission, and the Mental Health Commission may seem like a lot, Chiesa believes he's gotten off a bit easy as the low man on the totem pole; some of his fellow supervisors have as many as 14 committee appointments.

"I'm going to have to do a lot of listening and very little talking in the near future," Chiesa said. "As much as I've done to bring myself up to speed, there's still a mountain to climb."

Chiesa credited his fellow board members for being extremely helpful with his transition thus far, and expressed his enthusiasm that the Board would work well together in the future.

"It's nice to have two farmers on the board," Chairman DeMartini said in his comments as the meeting drew to a close. "And two Italians, too!"