Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Briggs disagrees with editorial


Regarding your Jan. 1 “Goofy gavel” editorial I am not sure where to start. What comes to mind is my dad’s fond paraphrase of an Abraham Lincoln quote: “If you cannot beat a man with logic, you can always resort to calling him names.”

I thought the Mountain Democrat stood for democracy and for the taxpayer. Instead of a sneering reference to a yearlong open dialogue about salaries for elected department heads that culminated into a November 2013 action by the Board of Supervisors who voted affirmatively, adamantly, to reset elected department office holders from a runaway system of enhanced and special pay which had an infinite compounding scheme, to a simple no-gimmicks pay schedule using the average median pay from eight of our neighboring counties.

Your editorial should’ve thanked the board for their decisive action which, in fact, will save the taxpayers of El Dorado County hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, in current and future pay and retirement for a handful of department heads who happen to be elected.

In an effort to educate the readers to what was going on let’s take the Treasurer-Tax Collectors position in example. The “list price” or base pay was $135,000. On the surface this is fair pay when compared to similar size departments within El Dorado and amongst our neighbors. But, over the last couple of decades past boards decided to add extra pay differentials or “add-ons.” By the time the Treasurer-Tax Collector got out the door she was, in fact, being paid W- 2 wage of $179,000 annually. Our staff had been pouring through all past board ordinances and through personnel resolutions where all the “add-ons” were surreptitiously woven into paychecks during the past 20 years. It has taken months for staff to put all the pieces together, just imagine if a member of the public were to seek the same information and how frustrated they may be.

As far as I am concerned, there is no blame to place on any single person or prior boards. The fact is the system was rotten. We were a poster child for how taxpayers are being stuck with six-figure retirements that are breaking the fiscal backs of government. The County of El Dorado was right to take a leadership position and do something about it fairly.

With regard to your astoundingly absurd observation that members of the public need to be refuted by staff when they present their thoughts to the board. Really!?

Back in August of 2013 the authors of Measure Y and a majority of localized citizen groups having banded to create “Rural Communities United” (RCU) asked for time to speak and present their view of our county General Plan, the Traffic Demand Model and in general about future growth. On their behalf I sponsored a two-hour presentation to the board followed by two agenda items of staff discussion of the points made by RCU. This was not a good combination, as staff, and public became polarized in defense of their respective view.

With experience now held, I agreed with leaders of RCU who asked for a second unfettered presentation in December which your editorial takes exception to. It is incumbent upon supervisors to listen to all sides, gain staff input then deliberate. For your paper to suggest anything less is being done by our Board of Supervisors is wrong and misleading.

The citizens-taxpayers of El Dorado are best served when its government is open-minded to all. I have worked the past seven years to repair some deep land-use growth wounds which were gouged into our daily lives in part by editorials like yours of Jan. 1. So, yes, RCU presented a second time in December and if they want a third time, I would sponsor that request as well. The more we understand one another’s position the better government can be.

In closing, I believe that fair and reasonable compensation for government employees extend to elected officials. And that taxpayers and citizens have a right of unfettered access to their representatives.

Finally, I consider Bill Center a friend, and I reject the Mountain Democrat suggestion that his or any other person or groups voice be selectively censored or deliberately refuted as suggested by your editorial.

RON BRIGGS, District 4 Supervisor
Chairman, County of El Dorado Board of Supervisors





Letters to the Editor


Discussion | 16 comments

  • JimBoJanuary 05, 2014 - 8:19 pm

    Briggs, you are dirty and corrupt and everyone knows it! Your time is nearly up.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • EllenJanuary 06, 2014 - 8:48 am

    Name calling is not flattering, JimBo. I for one truly appreciate that Chairman Briggs has actually listened to county residents over the past year. The idea that staff needs to "refute" a member of the public for repeating facts that staff has provided them, or whenever they disagree with a public opinion presented, is nonsensical, and I'm glad he pointed that out. Whatever your history with Briggs, I suspect the 'everyone' camp you are referring to is not all that big.

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  • EvelynJanuary 06, 2014 - 8:57 am

    "Local Paper Attacks Supervisor Ron Briggs but Fails to make Important Disclosure" - HERE

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  • Harley RyanJanuary 06, 2014 - 5:00 pm

    Rumor has it that Briggs plans to run for the assembly seat currently held by Beth Gaines. God help us.

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  • cookie65January 07, 2014 - 9:25 am

    That public trough is addicting, the gaines get a twofer. Although typically a twofer is two items sold for the price of one in the case of the gaines it is one item sold at the price of two. Neither one of the items offers much more than self-promotions and keeping a seat warm. I can see briggs offering little in the way of change from what we are already getting. Politics is the only business where the cream does not rise to the surface.

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  • EDC ResidentJanuary 06, 2014 - 7:03 pm

    Rumor had it that Nutting was going to run for Assemblyman. Looks like with Nutting's legal trouble, there's less competition. Assuming of course, all rumors are more than rumors.

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  • no rumorsJanuary 06, 2014 - 7:20 pm

    nice. and Pierson's 460s show $6,830 for State Senate.

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  • sunshineJanuary 07, 2014 - 9:52 am

    Regardless if you like or dislike any Supervisor, this is the first time in 25 years of attending BOS meetings that I feel 5 members are listening to the public. Briggs and the other 3 votes were right in reigning in other elected officials pay. Joe Harn and his buddies Bauman, Duprey and Salero were the cause of this outrageous 48% snowball that have led the county BOS to finally take action to stop it. Good for the 4 Supervisors. When the BOS in 2004 voted for this fiasco the Mountain Democrat did NOT object. Could it be that Mike Raffety's , Cherie aka C.J.Raffety-Tax Collector was a co- conspirator to the vote. Being very, very, good friends I'm sure they were in on it. Joe needs to get out of the bar with his elected friends and quit conspiring on the taxpayer. Are there some CPAs out there who are interested in running for public office? Check out the Pond News for info.

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  • Melody LaneJanuary 07, 2014 - 10:11 am

    Briggs said, “The citizens-taxpayers of El Dorado are best served when its government is open-minded to all…And that taxpayers and citizens have a right of unfettered access to their representatives… And that taxpayers and citizens have a right of unfettered access to their representatives.” Mr. Briggs, how do you explain your disrespectful walk-outs in response to taxpaying citizens during more than one BOS meeting?? Open-minded?? Accountable?? View 8/27/13 BOS Consent video:

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  • Compass2TruthJanuary 07, 2014 - 12:59 pm

    Because of the breadth of federal anti-corruption law, elected officials should avoid any temptation to walk closely to the line that divides legal from illegal conduct under state law. Even though a course of action may be legal, it doesn’t make it ethical or what one ought to do. CA Transparency & Fair Process laws state in part that you have a fiduciary obligation to: 1) Conduct the public’s business in open & publicized meetings 2) Allow public inspection of documents and records generated by public agencies 3) Cannot RETALIATE against those who whistle-blow Melody Lane, Founder - Compass2Truth

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  • Fly On The WallJanuary 07, 2014 - 1:38 pm

    Could it be the wannabe A$$emblyman had some help from his daddy in writing this letter to the editor?

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  • Dave M.January 07, 2014 - 1:52 pm

    So if Briggs is friends with Center that equates to special privileges that the rest of the public-taxpayers-citizens don't have the same unfettered access to??? What other favors are doled out to Center & Friends?

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  • Compass2TruthJanuary 07, 2014 - 3:01 pm

    During yesterday's Taxpayers Association meeting held at Denny's Restaurant Jim Moore and Bill Center hardly let anyone get in a word edgewise as they made their presentation about Measure Y. Editor Mike Raffety left before several people stood up to challenge some of the material/viewpoints presented, including Ray Nutting who rearranged his schedule to be present. Dialog is good, provided it isn't one sided as typically demonstrated by the BOS.

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  • Compass2TruthJanuary 07, 2014 - 3:07 pm

    BTW, 39 people were present at the Taxpayers meeting yesterday. That's more than typically show up to BOS meetings on Tuesday mornings.

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  • kggJanuary 07, 2014 - 4:15 pm

    ron wrote: "I thought the Mountain Democrat stood for democracy and for the taxpayer." kgg replies: not in my lifetime.

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  • Susie Q.January 07, 2014 - 4:26 pm

    The joy of owning a newspaper is that the advertisers pay for your propaganda.

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