5h) Discussion and Possible Adoption of Ordinance Repealing Mendocino County Code Section 2.16.041, Adding Section 2.16.070 and Amending Chapter 2.36 for the Purpose of Consolidating the Offices of the Auditor-Controller and the Treasurer-Tax Collector
(Sponsor: County Counsel)
The fact that this proposal is rushed in a time when major software systems are being undertaken that will take multiple years to implement and both departments are understaffed is unwise.
As expressed by the office holders, combining these two offices with different functions will not result in gained efficiency. Having two, tenured, fiscal leads is a benefit to the County. We have two, independent, qualified leaders to opine on and make important decisions, such as not rushing this proposal now. We are lucky to have the fiscal team in place we do today and these dedicated County employees and hard-working, independent, elected (and recklessly unappointed) officials are being ignored as they make a strong case for why a sudden unplanned dismantling of our current fiscal structure could result in major instability.
It seems Supervisors are betting that the well qualified, highly employable individuals will chose to stay with the County, out of duty to the County they love. Are you betting that the thinly stretched staff managing the current, titanic operation of implementing the new software will now shoulder the operation of combining offices with untold resources that may be available? Is this incautious move sabotage to justify the next step, making a single appointed fiscal department? Is implementing the new software a plan and priority or not? All this with little to no plan to carry the consolidation proposal forward, minimal discussion, zero analysis or implementation strategy presented, such as providing additional resources. I pray this Board will not be arrogant and ignore the real concerns brought to this Board by the Acting Auditor Controller and Treasurer Tax Collector; two women that bring continuity and wisdom to this process.
This proposal is a mismanagement of priorities. Please focus on assisting with the new software implementation and making improvements that will solve the staffing shortages in these departments.
A No vote will not be regretted. If a majority of this Board wishes to work, over the next 4-year term, to implement a strategy for such a consolidation, then make that the logical plan forward. Not now, not like this, and not with what is going on.
Estelle Clifton, Registered Professional Forester
I am Julie Beardsley, President of Mendocino County Chapter SEIU Local 1021.
SEIU has heard from some of our members who have concerns about the proposed merger of the Auditor-Controller’s office and the Treasurer Tax-Collector. Before moving forward with this major change, we would like to ask the Board of Supervisors to implement a study to determine whether there are, in reality, any real efficiencies to be gained by combining these offices. SEIU believes it is not good policy or practice to implement expensive and time-consuming department-wide changes without an analysis of any real benefits to the public or our organization. In the past we have not seen increased transparency from these mergers, but instead have seen additional layers of bureaucracy with more highly paid managers being hired as new systems and procedures must be created and must be managed. The county risks losing long time employees because they don’t feel listened to, respected or valued. These are the valuable subject matter experts with decades of institutional knowledge vital to running our county government. It can take years to recover. When these mergers fail, with the breakup of the HHSA super agency as a prime example, the result is increased costs in reorganizing, confusion and extra work for our employees, and frustration. SEIU urges the Board conduct an in-depth review to identify the benefits and draw-backs, a transition plan, and achievable goals in this proposed merger before moving ahead.
Julie Beardsley, MPH