Board Notes 070611

Board Notes 070611


The Sierra County Board of Supervisors meet in continued regular session on Tuesday, 7/5/11.  All supervisors were present.


The meeting was a “supervisors” meeting in that there wasn’t much scary on the agenda, there were plenty of opportunities to be officious, fiscally conservative, and politically resolute.


Several people spoke about the wonders of the Downieville Classic Bike Race.  Mr. Hoffman appeared and told the supes that the organizers were trying to get reimbursement for money the county provided for clearing snow. 

Here’s how they put it on the website:

As part of our agreement with the County, we need everyone’s support to make this happen. We are asking all racers to contribute $10.00 to the snow removal fund. We cannot make this a mandatory contribution, but PLEASE keep in mind that the alternative was to cancel. When you arrive at registration you will be asked to kick in.


The race is this weekend in Downieville, and the business it brings in might mean survival for some local businesses.  The county chipped in what it could, the organizers have gone all the way in getting volunteer support.  Local businesses win, and bikers from all over get to enjoy the beauty, clean air, and tendon popping mountains. 


Some stuff happened I didn’t care too much about.

And then Probation appeared to ask for a new vehicle.

As mentioned in previous BNs, probation and the sheriff’s office appeared asking for a vehicle which would not only replace the current 170,000 mile vehicle but also tow a trailer and provide the pretense of camping while cops did ops in the woods.

The Board was against replacing a modest vehicle with one Fi’ty Cent would drive, and asked Probation to return with a more modest suggestion. 

Chief PO Bosworth did so, presenting a couple of choices and the boardmembers re-iterated that they weren’t going to do the Forest Service’s pot eradication for them, about how the county wasn’t going to encourage extravagance even if a grant is paying for it, and how tax payers still pay for grants, so to reduce taxes, cut out the extravagance.  At some point Supervisor Schlefstein said something approaching, “we’re about to drop the hammer on a Dodge Nitro, it’s probably the best you’re going to get.  Can you live with it?”

Chief PO Bosworth said, he could. 

Long story short: Probation is getting a cool new Dodge Nitro.  It gets better mileage and it’s cheaper,,  and it’s better than a lot of us drive, but it won’t get local boys struttin’ points when the lawmen get together. 

By the way, should you have a new Dodge Nitro to give away, please send the pink slip to: SCP, POB 155, Calpine, CA, 96124.


Dr. Carol Roberts presented items for the Board.  A quick rundown:

Janice Maddox to fill in for people on maternity leave: 4 aye, Adams, no.

The board approved money to bring the county in to line with hazardous material.  Highpoint of the discussion came when Supervisor Goicoechea remarked in a good hearted tone on how great County Environmental Health person Elizabeth Morgan was when she worked for the planning department, but now that she was in the Health Department, she’s been contaminated with the desire for grant money.  He chuckled and gestured at Carol Roberts “no offense”.  Goicoechea insists he isn’t running for another term, and I have to admit, I’m going to miss that boy on the board.


Supervisor Schlefstein proposed, and the Board accepted and approved, benefit services with CaremarkPCS Health for the National Association of Counties prescription drug program.  Supervisor Peter Heubner voted “no” because he fears it will harm the Loyalton Pharmacy, now the county’s only pharmacy.


The Board reviewed and accepted the solid waste budget.


Then, the Board moved on to the Grand Jury Report on the Jail.

No one was very pleased.  Chair Adams made the observation that the Grand Jury certainly approached their task with vigor, but they don’t have to deal with the real world problems of funding and the requirements of law.

The GJ endeared themselves to the supervisors with the phrase:

Will this grand jury’s recommendations for Sierra County Jail be taken seriously for action to be taken before someone gets hurt?

Lee Adams pointed out that Assemblyman Dickerson has proposed a bill (AB 622) which would muzzle grand juries.

Supervisor Goicoechea remarked that when the GJ wrote the report “it must have been a slow day in reality.”  Sure going to miss that boy.

The various parts of the report were taken on: lack of personnel, mops and brooms left around, old style security, and on and on.  The report is on the Prospect website, go to the front page, use “sitemap” and search for “grand jury.” 

In general, the grand jury was right on some things but missed the point, for example, Loyalton substation isn’t a detention center, it’s only an office. If a detention facility is wanted, new permits and requirements are ahead.  On some things they were just wrong.  The roof on the jail does leak ,but the county has already spent big bucks trying to solve the problem.  The entire roof has been sealed, but it’s an old building with an odd roof and things happen.  Neglect is not the case.


In sum, read the Board''s response, in the Board Packet HERE .

The Board discussed what would happen if key employees retired because the legislature jiggers retirement.  It only makes sense for key, long time employees to retire before they lose benefits.  The Treasurer-Tax Collector is retiring, see below.

Everyone agreed the county would be up a crick, a brown, sludgey, stinky crick, with nothing to paddle with but our hands.  The Board resolved to do something and so, who knows, may fire key employees before they can retire.


Then the board hit the hot button issue: rolling two elected positions, the auditor and the treasurer-tas collector, into one big fat position: Director of Finance.


Peter Huebner lead the charge with a logical arguement: Aren't both offices busy now?  How will one busy person take on another busy person's workload?  Who will provide the check and balance?
Several doubted the hoped for savings would really be reached.
There were other considerations: should the board, with a wave of a pen, do away with an office the public votes for?
The Board, after some discussion, decided to do a long term strategy and a short term strategy.

The short term: have Chair Adams hire Stephanie Levings back as a consultant to do the tax work needed before November 1. 

Long Term: wait to see what public sentiment is, see what kind of data would come from other counties where there is a DoF, and try to determine if there would really be a savings of from $93,000 to $100,000 dollars.

However, Auditor Van Maddox made the unwise admission that a new software program does much of his work for him, and he has staff trained in that office and would inherit trained staff in the T-TC office.  Rather than cut his hours back he'd rather take on a whole 'nother job.
Read the Auditor's assessment of how the new super office would work, in the board packet, link above.


The Prospect has already expressed concern over the plan, which is HERE.
See also a short piece on the results, so far, of the survey HERE .

That’s all for now!

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