Supervisor Byrne Responds
To Criticisms of Modoc BOS
Editor’s Note: On Tuesday, Feb. 14 Sheriff Mike Poindexter and Auditor Darcy Locken went before the Modoc County Board of Supervisors and in prepared statements criticized the board for working in secrecy and excluding them from budget discussions. See previous blog post. The following is Supervisor Geri Byrne’s response to those criticisms. No other supervisor to date has come forward with public responses of their own.
From Supervisor Geri Byrne
“There are two sides to every story and only one side was presented in the letters to the board on Tuesday. Although they tried to say they represented department heads, there are just as many department heads unhappy with their side and their actions.
I am not going to get into a he said, she said, contest. That serves no purpose. Let's just say no one is blameless. They state in their letters that they were on the right course before and we are going backwards.
The fact of the matter is, if we had continued on that course, we would be bankrupt.
The 2010-2011 budget supposedly had the $1.5 million set aside for the bond payment but at the end of the year there was only $900,000 left in the 'set aside.'
The taxpayers as a whole are not in favor of a large borrowing. What the board and the CAO (Chester Robertson) are trying to do, is do things upfront (as an example the sale of buildings) to lower what we would need to borrow in order to lower the cost of financing.
We cannot afford to borrow the entire amount and if we finance and only partially fill the hole, the rate is much higher.
I do remember having a conversation with Darcy (Auditor Darcy Locken), but I remember it quite differently than she portrays. I tried to talk about working together civilly and cooperatively.
When I asked for that she asked for an example of her not doing so. I replied that her tone came across demeaning when we were on one of the conference calls. She replied that she meant to be demeaning. That in my mind is not truly trying to work with us. I have great respect for Darcy's talents, skills, intelligence and ability to do her job.
Yes, the sheriff's department had had substantial cuts. So have all the other departments in the county. So have almost all the other counties. Modoc was spending more than it had to spend. Income has been reduced and expenses have to be too.
Both the CAO and the assistant CAO voluntarily took pay cuts. That is something that no other department head has done. The consultant fees in the admin budget are there to help get us out of this mess.
For many issues, the bankruptcy firm helping with our insolvency issues is worth the nearly $500 an hour they get. However, there are many times that consultants working at 10 per cent of that cost can provide way more 'bang for our buck'. Our agenda item did not say to stop using the retainer. It just said to make sure that we were using it efficiently. Conference calls where we argue amongst ourselves were not an efficient use of that money.
I do agree that we need to work together, yet not try to do each other's jobs. The board and the CAO have developed a plan which they feel is in the best interests of the county. Are we willing to take input from others? Yes.
But are we willing for others to take over our job? No. Anyone wishing to have the thankless task of serving in a decision-making capacity can run for the Board of Supervisors. (And by the way, take a substantial pay cut in the process.)
As stated by law: ‘The board of supervisors is the legislative and executive body of county government. The supervisors pass all ordinances governing the county and are responsible for seeing that functions delegated to the county are properly discharged. They adopt the budget, set employee salaries and make determinations in personnel matters when there is no independent personnel board or civil service system."