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.
The turmoil in the County’s finances and financial departments continues. It is unfortunate that charges have been filed against the Auditor/Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector and former payroll clerk for misappropriation of public funds. The Board suspended the ACTTC until the situation is resolved.
Meanwhile we face a huge budget deficit. As Albert Einstein said, “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity”. This is a chance for the County to eliminate wasteful practices, develop modern processes, and provide better, more efficient service.
The acting ACTTC stated that she discovered that there were County bank accounts that were not part of the Treasurer’s system. Even the outside auditors seem to be unaware of these accounts. These accounts apparently have existed for quite a while. Cleaning up these situations is a top priority.
While providing substance abuse treatment and other behavioral health and mental health services is a priority, the mental health wing of the jail must be built. Construction of the mental health wing is now costing $44 million instead of the $26 originally estimated. There have been a series of delays with the state bureaucracy, supply chains, the pandemic and so forth which have led to cost overruns.
The County received a $25 million grant from the State to build the wing. The County’s cost was to be one million. The State’s contribution stays the same while our County must pay for all increases. The latest, and supposedly last, overrun is $6.8 million. That is why the Board decided to borrow that amount from Measure B funds. This will be repaid. Former Sheriff Allman, author of Measure B, supported this approach.
Talk with the Supervisor is the 2nd Thursday of the month at 10:00 at the Brickhouse Coffee in Willits. I am available by email [email protected] or phone 707-972-4214.