Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The County Giveth and Taketh

In these austere times, could it be possibly be true that at least five County higher ups just got raises ranging between $10,000 and $16,000? Could it be true that the Human Resources (HR) Head in charge of setting salaries received one of those whopping raises? Along with her significant other? What a happy household that must be!

Could it be true that the head of our Community Development and Planning Department (CDPD), a Building Inspector by profession, received one of those raises at a time when we have hardly any building going on? What was the raise for? All that great work on the CAOs?

Our County Engineer too ... and the Head of the Health Department, while some of the worker bees in the County were told to tighten their belts, and received cuts of more than $8,000?

Our County has yet to speak publicly about these increases, but sources say it's a done deal. If these accounts are true, then at the very least, it is one more example of our County's gobsmacking poor judgment (and timing). On the one hand, our County is crying poor and asking us to approve a ballot tax measure, and with the other hand, they're handing out newly fattened paychecks. Would Pacific County act this way?

Today, I received my County flyer about the "Public Safety Sales Tax Ballot Measure." The flyer threatens, "cuts will be required to Public Safety and other essential County services including:  Sheriff, Prosecuting Attorney, Courts, Emergency Management, Public Health, Roads, and Others."

That sounds plenty scary, but then we find out how our County has prioritized expenditures.

"Cuts" will be required for all those really important things, but our County is ensuring that HR is amply funded? How can that be? Do you feel safer knowing that our Head of HR just got a big fat raise even though essential services might be cut?

More on our County's smoking crater of credibility as details emerge.


  1. A Concerned CitizenJuly 26, 2012 at 6:19 AM

    I think there may be a misunderstanding here. In order to attract the high caliber of management talent needed to lead a complex organization such as San Juan County, its really important that top level salaries be competitive. I mean, who would want to live here? This also reflects a need for hazardous duty pay, in the face of angry peasants marching around with torches and pitchforks at the slightest provocation. This is doubly important if we will no longer be able to pay for the police services to protect top management from the rabble below. You really have to consider the big picture before wagging an accusing finger like this. Otherwise some folks might mutter that you are being divisive.

  2. General DisarrayJuly 26, 2012 at 7:37 AM

    In addition to the difficult task of recruiting, I am sure these giant increases also are intended to reward work well done in the past year. Like the Mount Baker Road project--overdue, over-budget, and generally not wanted by the citizens it purports to serve. (But there was GRANT money to be got! We HAD to do it!) Like planning to put up parking signs in Eastsound-don't know what megalopolis these people came from, but this is OrCAS island, people. We don't want no stinkin' signs! And speaking of Orcas island, I hope the geniuses that designed the Eastsound Swamp got a big raise. That is one beautiful sight!

  3. The Skynet funding bill is passed. The system goes online August 4th, 2012. Human decisions are removed from strategic defense. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self aware at 2:14 am Eastern time August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.

  4. The Band of Thieves are alive, and well. Once again the County proves it can stay irrational, longer than you and I can stay solvent.

    This study is not legitimate and has many flaws. Because the study reduces pay for some employees, it is a "pay disparity study" ripe for an FLSA complaint at the Federal level.

    This Country, and our County, is at the end of a debt-supercycle, yet San Juan County continues to spend money unabated. The County is very vulnerable to the consequences of the "unsustainable deficits" looming on the horizon (Bernake 7/24/2012), and the consequences of national financial instabilty which include but are not limited to, the very high probability

    Our elected officials continue to show us that we need to be sure to VOTE NO on the proposed sales tax increase. Poverty is at an all time high in teh U.S. and San Juan County. 30 cents may not be alot of money to the Sheriff or the Prosecuting Attorney, or to the middle class in San Juan County, but to the impoverished, and low income residents of our County, every cent counts.

    For the County, the 30 cent per $100 tax increase puts $1 million more into the County coffers. To the poverty-level and low income members of our community, it means one less glass of milk per day for their child. Doesn't the Council care about our children? And what about the retirees on a fixed income?

    The County has not been forthcoming in all aspects of managing the County (they Council still holds closed door meetings), and the Council has not presented the community with any alternatives for increasing revenue, except a sales tax increase, the easy road to take because it is promoted using "scare tactics" (i.e, this is what "could" happen). The sales tax increase is equivalent of printing money.

    But then, maybe the sales tax increase money is needed to pay for the huge County employee salary and pay increases that you and I do not receive annually.

    The County needs to use embody common sense and immediately make a u-turn to avoid the fiscal cliff the County is heading toward.

    We need to wait and see the outcome of the economic impacts of the revised CAO - because the County refuses to do an economic study but yet is quick to propose a tax increase. And, we need to see the changes in our property tax bills this Fall before considering a sales tax increase.

    Could the County could hold off on pay parity increases to avoid laying off seven or more employees. Doesn't that make sense? Raise pay, raise taxes, and then lay off employees. I just don't get it.

    We just may be better off with three representatives rather than six Council members representing our communities best interests - is there a correlation to six people voting to spend twice much County money as three governing elected folks? This Council has shown us the "experiment" has not paid off, in fact it's cost us more money than all past governing bodies. This has to stop now.

    Your Truly,

    San Juan Resident

    PS To the author using the analogy of the Pig War for the conflicts created by the County surrounding the circumstances for the revised CAO, it's not a partisan issue at all, it's a property rights issue, and freedom of speech issue. I didn't spend over four years serving my Country in order to allow this County to take my property and take away my rights to use my property when I bought the property. All this Council cares about is meeting the Ecology deadline and "making their Mark".

  5. "A concerned citizen" receives an award from me for his elegantly facetious comment.

  6. Hardly facetious. Surely you meant elegantly ironic? The writer is, after all, a military veteran concerned with our liberties, which are being challenged in several ways. The one that wins our local Delusions of Self-Importance award is the threat to freedom of speech and open exchange of ideas represented by the recent attack of the vapors at the planning department--siccing the Prosecuting Attorney on folks who disagree with the party line. Or perhaps the reprehensible (or intellectually lazy) "hoax" press releases.