Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo has joined the board overseeing Sonoma Clean Power, a shakeup that could give additional momentum to the supervisor's bid to regain his political portfolio even while he remains under a legal cloud from his July arrest.
The move, unforeseen until this week and the cause of some minor conflict at county headquarters, was one of several leadership changes that headlined business for the new public power agency at its monthly meeting Thursday.
Carrillo, who was highly involved in the venture's early rollout, leading a county committee that pushed the program forward, said he was pleased to be officially rejoining Sonoma Clean Power.
"I'm just as excited about this initiative today as I was three to four years ago when I learned about it," he said.
The program, touted as a greener, competitively priced alternative to PG&E, is set to begin service in May to its first wave of 20,000 customers, most of which will be commercial accounts.
But Thursday was also likely a bittersweet moment for Carrillo.
Last year, the two-term 5th District supervisor was widely expected to earn one of the county's two seats on the power agency's eight-member board. Supervisor Shirlee Zane was the lock and eventual nominee for the other.
But Carrillo's July 13 predawn arrest outside a Santa Rosa woman's home, his subsequent five-week seclusion from public life — reportedly for treatment of alcohol addiction — and ongoing criminal case prompted him to be passed over for the post in favor of Supervisor Susan Gorin, now Sonoma Clean Power's chairwoman.
The snub was one of several county and statewide leadership posts Carrillo missed out on or gave up in the aftermath of his arrest.
He has reclaimed some of those roles and earned new ones, even with his misdemeanor peeking case still in plea bargain talks. But his board seat on the power agency — a high-profile countywide venture — is likely the strongest signal yet of his attempt to regain his political footing as his sharpest critics continue to call for his resignation.