CAO’s inner circle of incompetence

By From page A5 | August 21, 2013


We are witnessing very poor governance in El Dorado County government. I will skip past the problems of the current corruption on the Board of Supervisors to discuss the Chief Administrative Officer and her assistant “sidekick,” Kim Kerr. For those of you who haven’t read the City of Ione mayor’s response to the Amador Grand Jury about Kim Kerr’s prior job performance, you really need to Google it and read it — the evidence is damning, although there are a lot of tantalizing details and facts missing that only Amador locals can tell you.

CAO Terri Daly’s county management skills are also very suspect. We know from recent experience that the CAO and her assistant are completely void of experience in the professional areas of the county they attempt to oversee, yet they try to micromanage the county department heads on a regular basis with about a third grade understanding and mentality that is childish and incompetent, leaving professional staff bewildered. The county $5.6 million IT ERP software debacle that Terri Daly took a far too simplistic seat of the pants flier on with your tax dollars is a prime example — she has a far too simplistic viewpoint and lacks a true understanding of the complexity.

The CAO and her assistant have surrounded themselves with new, incompetent, inexperienced department heads and out-of-towners void of any local experience. They have driven away many of the longtime staff with institutional knowledge and relevant professional credentials only to seek to demote them or replace them with out-of-towners with no institutional knowledge and often devoid of the proper professional credentials and experience. This is being done by the CAO to create a management buffer.

We are witnessing poor long-range county decision making, a culture of incompetence, lack of responsibility for poor decision making and passing the buck for mistakes. One has to wonder about a couple CAOs with no real longtime vested roots in our county and their ulterior motives. It is quite common for these bureaucrat executives to move jobs in a year or two for the next higher paying job down the hill, just as the move up the hill from Amador was a promotion — your past CAO was a prime example.

It seems like we are about to see the train derail and leave the tracks headed toward another Amador-style disaster. Yes, history does repeat itself and we appear to be headed down a similar path of problems that occurred in Amador. You can watch it play out daily.

We are slowly finding out that Kim Kerr, aka the County Czar, is highly inexperienced in the fields of expertise for which she now oversees. Why would the Board of Supervisors grant such an inexperienced person with a bad track record such broad powers? She meddles in trivial, non-essential micro-management duties, driving county staff with decades of experience insane with what comes across as childish, third grade level non-understanding, unnecessary and misguided oversight. She buries half-million-dollar mistakes, soon to be multi-million-dollar mistakes without owning up or taking responsibility. She will go across the country to find department head replacements, but neither will promote from within other qualified personnel who have decades of experience with the county and a much greater hands-on understanding of what really needs to be done locally. What kind of culture does this create? It creates a deeply rooted culture of employee distrust, turnover and incompetence. There is a deep-rooted dishonesty and distrust by the public and employees in their governance of the county.

Why would these two supposed leaders go to great lengths to find people outside? Because they want to create a management buffer and inner fiefdom of new people who report solely to them and who do not reveal to the experienced staff that they are inexperienced and incompetent.

Diamond Springs

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