The Board of Supervisors did one heck of a job at their regularly scheduled meeting this afternoon – one heck of a job being complete f***-tards, that is. (Yes, that is a word.)
The topic of THC’s ire? A completely misguided attempt to re-organize some of the County’s departments into a more unwieldy branch that will ultimately reduce efficiency, further expand the size of the government, and cost the public a ton of fricking’ money. We’re spitting mad folks, and we’ll tell you why.
First, here’s the text of the agenda item:
You can read the “Department Reorganization” packet right here.
Now, the concept of re-organizing County departments to stream-line their various responsibilities is actually a really good one. THC is all about it, in fact, provided that it’s done in an intelligent way. Of course, that’s just too much to ask.
You see, it’s a pretty simple task to re-assign duties to different departments when it makes more sense for those duties to be handled by a particular department. A lot of what the Board seeks to accomplish with their ballot measure to create the Department of Finance could be accomplished just by doing that.
Instead, the Board today opted to move forward with drafting a ballot measure which will ask the public whether they’d like to create a new Department of Finance, and whether the Finance Director should be an elected position. Should the ballot measure pass, the Treasurer-Tax Collector and Auditor-Controller departments will merge. In general, the effects of this will be an increase in the number of staff members, and an increase in the pay for those staff members. It also means – as the measure will be going on the November ballot – that a very hefty sum will be spent on putting the measure on the ballot. (THC note – tons of brownie points and a THC care-package to the folks that can give us numbers for the cost of putting the measure on the ballot.)
To be clear, all of these changes are not intended as cost-saving measures, nor necessarily as a means of streamlining departments and making the duties of each department more clear and in keeping with their purpose. In fact, Martin J. Mellett (a.k.a. Joe), the County’s current Treasurer, said that these steps aren’t even necessary in today’s meeting. In Mellett’s opinion as expressed to the Supervisors, the current organization of the County’s financial departments “is sound as it stands now.” The only positive plea that Mellett made was to beg the Supervisors to ensure the Director of Finance is an elected position, and not an appointed one.
Can you imagine that, an appointed Czar of Finance at the County? It would be like Crandall at DHHS all over again. Hell, the Supes would probably even invite him back for the job, considering they liked him so much.
Former Treasurer Stephen Strawn showed up and said essentially the same thing as Mellett! He also added that multiple public agencies in the County have their money tied up with the treasurer’s office and may not want the Board of Supervisors influencing the management of their funds. How would you like it if your neighbor or boss came in and started playing with your bank accounts?
This is not to say the County isn’t expecting some sort of increase in efficiency. Per page 8 of the agenda packet produced by our shameful CAO, under the header of “Financial Impact,” it’s stated that “Efficiencies should be realized with the blending of banking operations between the Treasurer Tax Collector and Auditor-Controller Offices“.
Oh, thank goodness. The ridiculously steep costs of putting together a ballot measure, giving people raises (a.k.a “equalizing” positions), and creating a new elected position while simultaneously creating new positions to serve the same essential purpose as the previous Department heads that will be replaced by the merger, will almost certainly be off-set by the new efficiencies in shared banking operations. Maybe the new account they’d create is the kind that doesn’t cost anything?
Heck, the amount of stationary for the defunct Auditor-Controller and Treasurer-Tax Collector offices that will have to be thrown away, plus the new stationary that would be created for His Eminence the Finance Dictator, will off-set that crap alone.
At the end of the day, THC just can’t figure out why the Supervisors are moving forward with this. It doesn’t save money, doesn’t increase efficiency in any meaningful way, and takes time (and money!) away from more important projects. Please, someone, clue us in! Unless, of course, it’s all a part of the Supervisors’ plans to “create more jobs,” which if you haven’t noticed, has only happened in the County Government Workforce. Despicable!
To top it all off, the Supervisors didn’t just push forward on their ill-advised ballot measure. They also made some brilliant decisions for the Aviation Division, namely, looking at utilizing the County’s set-aside funds for staff to work on the airports as an economic development tool to the tune of $65,732 annually. The agenda packet notes that “the set-aside funds are not a long-term funding source and are estimated to be expended at the end of the fiscal year 2016-2017.”
Great! Let’s expend all of a short-term funding source on working to develop our airports as a force to drive economic development for two years. At the end of those two years, we either have to appropriate more money to continue “working” on the airports or abandon the years and money we’ve poured into them. Who wants to guess which direction our idiotic “leaders” will go? (Hint: spending more pointless money.)
Let THC remind you: the last major feat the County accomplished for the airports economic development potential was to rename our main airport the Humboldt County Eureka-Arcata Redwood Coast Airport Where Planes Can Come But Only Occasionally Due to Weather. Or something.