The following is a letter to the editor submitted by Mendocino County District 3 Supervisor John Haschak, published here as a column, in which he updates his constituents. We encourage the other supervisors to submit letters — we will happily publish them. You can see Haschak’s previous letters to his constituents here. The opinions expressed in this letter are the author’s, not those of The Mendocino Voice.
Rain is coming down as I write! The much anticipated first rains of the season and lower temperatures bring the feeling that everything is going to be all right. This is a much needed reprieve from the fire season and heat waves. The Walker Fire was way too close to my house and the unprecedented temperatures were certainly worrisome. Of course the fire season isn’t over yet and the drought persists until much more rain comes but it feels good.
Working together can lead to significant actions. Case in point: CalTrans’ Clean California program working with the County, Round Valley Area Municipal Advisory Council, Round Valley Indian Tribes and Solid Waste of Willits offered six free dump days in Covelo. It was a beautiful sight of people cleaning up their homes and land. I helped direct traffic as the line of vehicles would begin two hours before the transfer station opened. Volunteers cleaned up creek beds and the Tribes offered assistance to elders who needed help removing some of the bulk items from their properties. Overall, the participation far exceeded CalTrans’ expectations and everyone working together made their community a better place to live.
Budget Part 2:
Systems and processes usually keep things moving openly, transparently and properly. When we don’t have appropriate systems and processes, things can go astray quickly. This seems to be the case with the County finances. When the Board of Supervisors (4-1 with me as the dissenting vote) voted to consolidate the offices of Treasurer/Tax Collector and Auditor/Controller against the advice of the officeholders, there was very little in the way of information about the benefits of this consolidation. Now we see that the negative effects forecasted and overwhelming workflow placed on the shoulders of one elected official are daunting.
Chamise Cubbison was elected to the position of the newly formed Auditor/Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector (ACTT). She is struggling to wrap up the auditor duties while taking on the added Treasurer/Tax Collector duties. Both Ms. Cubbison and former Treasurer/Tax Collector Shari Schapmire warned of this exact occurrence. The Board is frustrated that timely financial statements are not happening. The public is trying to figure out what is going on.
On Sept. 13, we had a BOS meeting to look at what the Board needed for reports and what Ms. Cubbison would need as far as support, staffing, and resources to make it happen. Instead of efficiencies and streamlining, we are seeing an increase in the ACTT’s salary by $25,000 due to the increased responsibilities, need for more staff and resources, and the consolidation of responsibilities and oversight in one person. Since this is what the Board decided, we need to provide the staffing and resources to make this work.
Some of the issues brought up will return to the Budget ad hoc committee, some will go over to Information Services, and the Executive Office will take over some responsibilities such as payroll. The County’s budget is a known entity. The County has money and reserves, but not having up to date knowledge of revenues and expenditures throughout the year makes it difficult to run the County government and negotiate in good faith. If we don’t have a clear idea on what our finances look like and what the projections are, then it limits our ability to sign ongoing contracts with the bargaining units.
We must do better for the people of Mendocino County and the staff that work as public servants.
I am available at [email protected] or 707-972-4214.