Politics & Government

Fresno County fires back at Janz campaign accusations over employee leave policy

Fresno County Counsel Daniel Cederborg is firing back at accusations from prosecutor Andrew Janz’s campaign that a proposed rule change for employee leave was targeting him.

In a letter Thursday, Cederborg says Janz’s campaign spread misinformation about the proposal and accused him of favoring the current policy in place “when it is convenient for his publicity needs.”

“It is disingenuous that Mr. Janz is now complaining about any effort to formalize rules related to leave for employees seeking public office that would allow for the type of extended leave he initially sought for himself,” Cederborg says in the letter.

Janz is a prosecutor for the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office. He’s running for mayor of Fresno against Police Chief Jerry Dyer. In 2018, he lost a high-profile congressional campaign challenging Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare.

The proposal in question is related to county policy for employees running for an elected position. A draft amendment would require employees to take leave before the election with the option of using accrued time off. Otherwise, the leave would be unpaid. The draft changes exclude elected officials.

County Supervisors Buddy Mendes and Nathan Magsig authored the draft amendment. The rule change appeared on an agenda earlier this month but was not voted on and is not scheduled for a vote.

Earlier this week, Janz’s campaign manager Mari Harren sent a letter to the county threatening legal action if the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the change. In her letter, Harren says the proposal targets Janz. Mendes and Magsig, who both endorsed Dyer, denied that.

County letter

Cederborg’s letter reiterates that the proposal doesn’t target any individual and is intended to ensure county employees running for office are treated “more uniformly.”

Janz’s congressional bid in 2018 brought to light the need for a more uniform policy, the letter says. Cederborg says that during that campaign, Janz was upset the current policy didn’t allow for more time off. Cederborg says the county was criticized for appearing to provide special accommodations for Janz, but didn’t specify about that criticism.

“This current media push by Mr. Janz, which contains a great deal of misinformation, is not constructive to the development of a county policy that will be fair to all employees and the taxpayers,” Cederborg says in the letter.

Cederborg points out that while there has been union opposition to the policy, the district attorney’s union has not formally objected to it.

Thursday evening, Amy Cobb, president of the Fresno County Prosecutors Association, said the organization is aware of the rule but because the final language has not been put before the board, it was premature to take a position on it.

“We are hopeful that if and when the final rule is enacted it resolves the concerns of the Board of Supervisors while protecting the interests of our membership as a whole and all county employees.”

Response from Janz

Janz says in a statement there’s “no question that this is an insider political job for a political advantage in the mayor’s race.”

He questioned Cederborg’s denial that county officials are targeting him.

“While county counsel says this does not target Andrew Janz by name, county counsel identifies only one person that he claims this policy needs to be set up for to be ‘fair to everyone,’” Janz said. “And that person is me.”

He also said he’s concerned Cederborg is giving bad legal advice to the board and that board members should seek an outside attorney before taking steps that may “deprive me of a job and my pregnant wife of our healthcare.”

Janz and his wife, Heather, announced the pregnancy last month on social media.

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Brianna Calix covers politics and investigations for The Bee, where she works to hold public officials accountable and shine a light on issues that deeply affect residents’ lives. She previously worked for The Bee’s sister paper, the Merced Sun-Star, and earned her bachelor’s degree from Fresno State.