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Two days after Shirlee Zane publicly excoriated Efren Carrillo and called for his resignation, the two Sonoma County supervisors sat across from each other Thursday at Santa Rosa City Hall, barely making eye contact.

At Tuesday's standing-room-only Board of Supervisors meeting, Zane told Carrillo he had "disqualified" himself from leadership because of his recent legal troubles and "ongoing disrespect and disregard for women."

Yet on Thursday, Zane and Carrillo sat an arm's length from each other in the Santa Rosa mayor's conference room for a meeting on the potential city annexation of county-governed Roseland. One of the few times they acknowledged each other was when they inadvertently started speaking at the same time.

"Go ahead," Carrillo said to Zane.

Thursday's meeting highlighted the unprecedented challenge the county's five supervisors face to conduct the public's business in a toxic atmosphere following Carrillo's trial on charges of peeking into the apartment of a female neighbor 10months ago.

Carrillo was acquitted April 28 on attempted peeking charges by a Sonoma County jury. In his testimony, he attributed his behavior to a mix of arrogance, alcoholism and his desire to have sex with a neighbor he barely knew.

His sharpest critics say he's unfit for elected office, and in lieu of his resignation are clamoring for the board to limit his role, including Carrillo's high-profile appointment to Sonoma Clean Power, the county's new public electricity supplier.

"This is one of the worst situations our county has faced in a long time, because it really is potentially disruptive to Efren, and the district, and the whole process of conducting business," said Cloverdale Mayor Carol Russell, one of several local officials who called on Carrillo to resign after the trial. "It puts a tremendous strain not only on supervisors, but on staff members as well."

Carrillo has steadfastly maintained he has no plans to give up his post.

"I was elected by the voters of the 5th District," he said. "Until they tell me otherwise, I'm not resigning."

His four colleagues on the board, who on Tuesday laid bare their anger while unanimously urging him to resign, now express a mixture of reservations and hope that they'll be able to work as a group to manage county government and meet constituents' needs.

"I think this board has five professional people who know their duties and want to perform their duties," Supervisor David Rabbitt, the board's chairman, said Wednesday. "There's issues of rebuilding trust and respect, but I'm sure everyone is willing to roll up their sleeves and get back to work."

Zane, who was the first fellow supervisor to call on Carrillo to resign and leveled a forceful argument Tuesday against his continued service, said board members will be "respectful and professional."

"But it will be very difficult at times," she said.

Zane said at Tuesday's board meeting that she had heard stories from "many other women" who felt "objectified" by Carrillo, and that she personally had witnessed such treatment. Asked for specifics Wednesday, Zane declined, saying, "It means a lot of things."

Carrillo declined to comment on Zane's assertions, saying he did not want to "get into the back-and-forth banter" with her. He said he has to "earn forgiveness from her and forgiveness from my constituents."

How Carrillo conducts his official business may largely be up to him. Legally, there is nothing to prevent Carrillo from going to any county facility, or attending any function related to his work as an elected member of the board, according to County Counsel Bruce Goldstein.

Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch informed Carrillo in September, two months after his arrest and nearly two months before he was charged, that he was not welcome at the Family Justice Center, the county's crisis facility for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and elder abuse. Ravitch did not return several phone calls this week seeking to determine whether that instruction still stands.

Carrillo said he has a right to be at the Justice Center, saying, "I supported it, I funded it." He added that at this time, "There is no need for me to be there."

He also said he plans to be "very sensitive" about where he goes and what events he attends.

However, Carrillo continues to be unwelcome at many places where formerly he was received with open arms. Evelyn Cheatham, who runs the nonprofit Worth Our Weight youth program and once was among Carrillo's strongest supporters, said he's no longer welcome around her kids.

"I have kids in the program who grew up on the same street as him (Carrillo)," Cheatham said. "He'd come here and tell them, 'You can grow up to be like me.' That doesn't work anymore."

She said she doesn't see how Carrillo, whom she referred to as one of the county's five bosses, can continue in his role as a supervisor if he's "barred from essentially a segment of (his) company."

Supervisor Mike McGuire listed the budget, roads and an online permitting system as among the major initiatives the board will tackle in coming months.

"Honestly, there are going to be some challenges," McGuire said of the board's interaction with Carrillo on those matters.

Zane and Supervisor Susan Gorin, the two women on the board, said they don't want Carrillo to be involved in county matters pertaining to sexual assault or substance abuse. But Gorin on Thursday acknowledged they lack the power to enforce those wishes.

Gorin said the board "will be forced to work together" now that it's clear Carrillo has no intention of resigning. "The relationship will be strained, but we were elected to do a job, and that's exactly what we're going to be doing," she said.

She said the community, however, "is not quite ready to move on and embrace the presence of Supervisor Carrillo. We'll work through that carefully."

Another place Carrillo is unwelcome is at Verity, the Santa Rosa-based rape crisis, trauma and healing center. Christine Castillo, the executive director and a former Carrillo supporter, on Tuesday publicly called for the 5th District supervisor to resign.

In an interview, she described how Carrillo came to her home when he was first considering running for public office and sat down with Castillo and her husband to discuss his future plans. "Both of us said, 'We're so thrilled, we're so excited you're going to do this,'" Castillo said.

Now, Castillo said, "I have no compassion for him at all because of the work I do."

Carrillo's critics are urging the board to remove him from committee assignments or take other steps limiting his role. Per county rules, the board's chairman makes committee recommendations, which are then voted on by the board, a process that normally happens in January.

It's less clear what the rules are for removing a supervisor from a committee, as it's never happened, according to Goldstein, the county counsel. He said Rabbitt likely would have to make the recommendation for it to be voted upon by the entire board.

Carrillo's appointment early this year to the Sonoma Clean Power board has provoked the most controversy. Board members for the power agency, including representatives from the county and five cities, have scheduled time at their June 5 meeting to discuss Carrillo.

Cotati City Councilman Mark Landman, the agency's vice chairman, said he requested the agenda item out of concern people are opting out of Sonoma Clean Power because Carrillo sits on the board. Landman said he's come across "lots of people who say they have opted out, or will opt out, because Supervisor Carrillo is on the board."

However, without the authority to remove Carrillo, Landman said the power agency's options are limited. It can ask him to step down, write a letter of condemnation or appeal to Rabbitt to remove Carrillo, Landman said.

Carrillo said he has no intention of stepping down voluntarily from Sonoma Clean Power, a venture he said he was "instrumental in creating." He said he's not seen any "tangential relationship" between his membership on the board and people opting out of the program.

"If the chairman (Rabbitt) says, 'Hey Efren, you're not able to serve the interests of that authority,' then I'll have that conversation. But that has not occurred," he said.

Carrillo said he's also not planning to step away from any other committee assignments, including the county's Upstream Investments program, which directs public resources to programs that head off future costs in criminal justice, social service and public health programs.

Rabbitt, for his part, said he's not inclined to remove Carrillo from any of his committee roles.

"I don't know if that would help, by pulling him out of assignments," Rabbitt said. "I don't think we should sanction or shun a fellow elected official. Ultimately, that's up to the electorate."

Carrillo attended a full schedule of meetings Wednesday and Thursday on a wide array of topics.

Landman, who attended a meeting of the county's Local Agency Formation Committee with Carrillo, said the supervisor seemed unusually "quiet and tense."

But Mendocino County Supervisor Dan Hamburg, who was present with Carrillo the same day at a meeting in Santa Rosa on broadband Internet access, described Carrillo as being "totally on point."

"He contributed mightily to the meeting, as he has in every public meeting I've attended with Efren through this nightmare," Hamburg said. "He's totally there."

Hamburg decried the criticism being leveled at Carrillo, calling it "over the top" and "so minor, so infinitesimal" compared with what former President Bill Clinton did in the Oval Office. "And yet Bill Clinton is a hero of the Democratic Party," Hamburg said.

He said if Carrillo's colleagues can't work with him, "it's their fault" and "shame on them."

Carrillo described the past two days as "business as usual." He said he also made time Thursday to attend a noontime session related to his ongoing treatment for alcoholism.

"I am putting my best foot forward. I can only take that one day at a time," he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Derek Moore at 521-5336 or derek.moore@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @deadlinederek.

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