Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Consensus Ineptitude

Collectively, our government officials have decided the CAOs will have no cost. Amazing isn't it? All these new code sections that "fix" all these terrible environmental problems we suffer from, and they'll hardly cost a penny. They're all benefit and no cost. Free lunch for everyone.

That's what our Auditor says. That's what our Council Chair says. That's what our Deputy Prosecuting Attorney says. The Assessor too ... oh ... and our Acting County Administrator and CDPD staff ... don't forget our temporary County management intern. For its lack of effort and simpleton logic, the memo below would have been an embarrassment had it been written by our County intern, so it is all the more disturbing that it was authored by our seasoned County Auditor who holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard and an MBA from Stanford.

A planning commissioner asked our well-qualified Auditor for her independent economic analysis of the impacts of the CAOs. In response, our Auditor principally acted as a scribe to convey the consensus opinions of herself and seven other County officials (intern included).

While concluding there would be no significant CAO cost, this crack group of professionals, assisted by our Economic Development Council, had the following quotable insights:

  • A complex web of variables affects property value. 
  • It is worth noting that market values are always shifting.
  • One thing seems clear though: the CAO is mandated by the state and we’ll legally have to implement it sooner or later.
  • The County is required to satisfy the requirements of the GMA.

Gripping albeit redundant stuff ("required to satisfy requirements"), but it fails to consider why our previous County Administrator contemplated the specter of "bankruptcy" in his last two budget documents. It fails to account for the Council's own observations that the CAOs could cost a bundle. It fails to acknowledge that our Prosecuting Attorney's office is asking for more funding.

It's funny how these non-costs can pile up.

I think my favorite part of the letter is the ending, which contains a customarily disjointed County premise and conclusion:
It is important to remember that there are multiple opinions on the regulations. Doing nothing will not solve the problem, as that would almost certainly result in litigation for “failure to act.”
Solve the problem? Failure to act? About what? What problem? Will anyone ever say what it is? The ending of the letter unabashedly displays all the prejudice permeating the CAO process. It assumes there is a problem without ever stating what it is.

Our County officials believe in environmental problems they can't describe, and they believe in legal restrictions and government services that have no cost.


  1. "It has been a nervous year and people have begun to feel like a Christian scientist with appendicitis."

    Tom Lehrer, "That Was the Year That Was"

  2. Wow, glad I didn't waste my time getting an MBA. A clerk could have prepared this: "A says this, B thinks this, What, me? An opinion? I don't think so." And the classic "we can't do nothing"--as if anyone is arguing for that. But I guess that's above her pay grade. Who will be in charge of the County bankruptcy proceedings?

  3. General DisarrayJuly 19, 2012 at 6:49 AM

    We need to buy some Mark Twain for the County libraries. He said: "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt." The Economic Development Brain Trust weighs in with "the law requires the CAO and we'll have to implement it sooner or later." Will someone PLEASE tell them that this County HAS HAD A CAO for at least a decade? HOW can people who are clueless continue to comment so superficially upon a topic about which they appear to know nothing? As in Rosenfeld's statement that he thinks the NEW CAO is a "good product"! Anyone taking bets on how many pages of the stuff he actually bothered to read before pontificating?