Sure, the general incompetence that the County of Humboldt shows when it comes to creating jobs for the folks around here is par for the course. No one is surprised when total employment numbers, and the number of jobs with decent pay, don’t go up in a significant manner.
But the County has also developed a disturbing trend for taking jobs that could easily, and at less cost to the taxpayer, go to private employers.
And Measure U is a prime example of the County taking away the potential for private employers to make a significant difference in the county.
You can listen to the Supervisors and their staff lackeys talk about the specifics of Measure U in the video of their September 13th meeting – or you can take a look at this email between Tom Mattson, Director of Public Works, and Supervisor Ryan Sundberg, which your friends at THC obtained for you via Public Records request. Check it!
If you watch the video, Mattson describes that a significant amount of the County’s cost in fixing the roads with Measure U funds will be transporting work crews to and from job sites. So why not hire jobs out to companies who don’t have that problem? We could fix our roads for cheaper,
Of course, what he fails to mention explicitly is the added cost of having County employees on the payroll. As we all know, it’s almost impossible to get rid of County employees once you’ve got ’em. So, unfreezing the 23 road worker positions comes with the added cost of keeping them on beyond the expiration of Measure U – as if they’ll ever let that funding go once they get their greedy hands on it! (cough*Measure Z*cough). And it’s not just the salaries and benefits – it’s the pensions the County’s tax payers will be saddled with, like, forever. Remember how bad our pension situation already is?
Well, go ahead and thank your Supervisors for making things even worse with every hire!
Of course, that could all be avoided if the County expressly stated their intention to use any Measure U funds to contract out the road work. But, alas, Mattson and the crony crew are dead-set on hiring new County workers. We’re not certain if this is out of pure ignorance or willfully trying to f*ck residents of Humboldt out of their money, but at this point it’s starting to look like a pretty malicious and on-going trend at the County level.
According to the document we linked above (and did again right here), $1.5 million of the County’s Measure U takings will go towards bringing on an additional 23 staff. In case you’re wondering, that comes out to $65,217.39 per new worker. (Yes, we are talking about road maintenance workers.) That also doesn’t take into account the money that goes into their pensions, nor does it take into account the satellite costs of managing those new workers.
Also worth noting is the money that will go towards trail – we love to say we told you so!
Of course, all of this assumes that Measure U will pass. THC would say there’s no likelihood of people getting hoodwinked into paying for another tax, but then again Measure Z got passed, so who knows? THC will say this: think very, very carefully about how much tax you’re actually willing to pay, and then think about how the County intends to spend those taxes.
If you think it’s a great idea for the County to make a negligible impact on the state of our roads, while at the same time worsening the overall budget and pension liabilities and taking more jobs from the private sector…well, by all means, go ahead and vote for Measure U.