Friday, April 18, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

CAO’s super duper county czar agency

EDITOR: The Board of Supervisors last Tuesday clearly violated the Brown Act, as it was obvious the whole matter of creating a large bureaucratic super development agency had already been pre-decided behind closed doors. The item was so complex, the public in the audience was unsure what the board was actually approving, but one thing was clear, many supervisors had already made their decision behind closed doors before the meeting — a violation of the law.

The board’s appointment of Kim Kerr to the “acting” director position of this newly created, costly, bureaucratic agency is nothing less than pure insanity. Kim Kerr completely lacks the qualifications, credentials and experience to oversee this super agency and is under Grand Jury investigation for all of the problems she caused in Ione, Amador County, at her prior job where she was unqualified and unfit for the positions she assumed. You can read the mayor of Ione’s Sept. 4 letter regarding the scathing blame of Kerr that is posted on the Internet.

I completely agree with the comments made by Joe Harn, the county’s tight-fisted auditor-controller. If there is a trusted county employee whose comments you can rely on regarding county finances, it’s Harn’s. Harn stated, “In my time as county auditor I have never seen a consolidation like this. This consolidation will cost $400,000 to $500,000 per year. Maybe there will be cost savings in the future, maybe. The supervisors created three new positions that will be highly compensated. All three will be paid over $100,000 per year. The supervisors and the CAO must be aware of a big pot of money that I am not privy to,” Harn wrote.

This new super agency created a super bureaucracy that adds more highly paid layers of staff, higher salaries and more cost of $400,000-$500,000 a year in new salaries in a time when the county is supposedly having budget problems – Ha! Add in the consultants they will hire and the increased cost mushroom into millions. The new positions created will be some of the most expensive in the county government, and those highly paid slots were created by unqualified people within the CAO’s office seeking to appoint themselves and get large raises.

The only somewhat sensible no vote came from Ray Nutting who obviously had a whole lot of concerns about what was being done.

Lately, watching the Board of Supervisors is just like watching a “Circus in Fantasy Land” with the CAO and her Assistant Kerr putting on a regular Fairytale Dog and Pony Show.

I’m asking the newly elected incoming supervisors to reject the revisions to the County Code necessary uphold this decision and bring this item back in January for repeal, as the county can’t afford to hand out six-figure, gold-plated salaries and pensions to unqualified bureaucrats in these difficult budgetary times.

JAMES SMITH

Placerville

Letters to the Editor

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Discussion | 30 comments

  • TAXPAYER ALERTDecember 08, 2012 - 1:36 pm

    "Kim Kerr completely lacks the qualifications, credentials and experience to oversee this super agency and is under Grand Jury investigation for all of the problems she caused in Ione, Amador County, at her prior job where she was unqualified and unfit for the positions she assumed."

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  • James E.December 08, 2012 - 4:23 pm

    If Ms. Kerr has an alleged checkered past in Ione, why is she being hired before an investigation that would protect El Dorado County. Is this a sweetheart deal, and who exactly are the sweethearts?

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  • residentDecember 08, 2012 - 4:43 pm

    County employed Kerr at least a year ago. Dunno answer to the ?. Supervisor Knight said he had heard about the Amador GJ Report but wasn't interested in reading it. For some Kerr is the the perfect employee ... she needs the job. In these "changing times" having a controllable person in the CAO position may be "convenient". But lots of people are shaking their heads in wonder.

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  • cookie65December 10, 2012 - 7:31 am

    Since when have actual qualifications been a neccessity to aquire a position at the public trough? The public trough was invented for individuals with room temperature IQ's. They can't be expected to compete in the private sector. Celebrate diversity and add some people who represent the unqualified to local government.

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  • RichardDecember 10, 2012 - 11:35 am

    Has a complaint been filed with the Grand Jury?

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  • Jim RiordanDecember 10, 2012 - 1:10 pm

    Good call Ray and Joe. The LAST thing we need here is another SUPER AGENCY staffed by the unknowing and overpaid as usual. . . throw the bums out and put their fat salaries back in the County funds. let'em go somewhere else for a handout . . .this is the last thing we need here . . .Stay on the attack Joe and Ray.

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  • RichardDecember 10, 2012 - 2:47 pm

    Jim , you really think Ray is on the attack?

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  • Robert Van GilderDecember 10, 2012 - 3:15 pm

    Hey Board of Supervisors, just a couple of findings from, "City of lone's response to the 2011-2012 Amador County Grand Jury Report disseminated by the Amador County Grand Jury in June 2012." Finding #1: The City Manager for the fiscal period 2007-2011 did not demonstrate that she possessed the proper qualifications and expertise to perform the duties required for that position. (Facts #1 -3) Agree. The City is working closely with both the Amador County Counsel and with the Amador District Attorney to determine what, if any, action should be taken against former City Manager Kerr. Findings #3: That on many occasions the City Manager (Kim Kerr) provided insufficient or misleading information making it difficult or impossible for the City Council to cast intelligent votes. (Fact #3) Agree. Former City Manager Kim Kerr's budget documents were difficult to decipher, were inaccurate, and contained errors. The City's administration has made great strides, however, during the 2011-2012 fiscal year to provide accurate and timely budget information to the City Council and to the public. Budget documents are now presented in a standard format successfully used by municipalities throughout California. Reconciliation of past financial irregularities is ongoing and the City of lone intends to retain a Certified Public Accountant to complete the reconciliation effort in the near term.

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  • RichardDecember 10, 2012 - 6:59 pm

    Section 919 (c) of the Penal Code requires the grand jury to inquire into the willful or corrupt misconduct in office of public officers of every description within the county. Where misconduct is found, the grand jury may file an accusation leading to a trial. If the official is convicted, he is thereby removed from office. Very few accusations are filed. Frequently, if there is misconduct in office, it is of a criminal nature, and an indictment rather than an accusation would be issued. It is also possible that an official would resign rather than face an accusation.

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  • Phil VeerkampDecember 10, 2012 - 8:35 pm

    Colonel - Richard - Robert Van Gilder - The jury made findings that between 2007 and 2011, the city manager and City Council members developed the city’s General Plan based on inaccurate and overly optimistic growth projections. In October 2007 the DJIA was near 14,000. By February, 2009 the DJIA had lost nearly 50%. It lost nearly 7000 points. I suspect that the Ione city fathers abused the grand jury process. 2008 was an “economic inflection point” nestled between the years 2007 - 2011. Multitudes of community’s and organization’s capital projects were shredded by new economic realities. I strongly suspect that when Ione’s plans and projects became obsolete due to the new economy the CITY FATHERS went scapegoat hunting via the grand jury. Bubbles burst. This fact is not criminal. This fact is the ultimate result of exponential growth. How many other communities’ forecasts were shredded?

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  • MikeDecember 11, 2012 - 2:27 pm

    Phil – You made a good point about 2008, but facts are facts. Read the documents and you’ll find 11 specifics pertaining to Kim Kerr & City Council, all of which fall outside the economic chaos you referred to. Ledger Dispatch excerpt: “The GJ also accuses Kerr of providing insufficient or misleading information to the council on many occasions, making it difficult or impossible for the City Council to cast intelligent votes…Council & Kerr ignored complaints voiced by local citizens and disregarded findings & recommendations of the previous year’s GJ…Kerr is also accused of a conflict of interest…was alone in overseeing the unnecessary payments to the consultants and did not maintain proper payment procedures.” EDC voters demand transparency & accountability. Was there actually a proper HR background check? Question is whether the in-coming Supes will go along with the GOB status quo or probe into the EDC fiscal dysfunction and do what’s necessary to avert a similar disaster.

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  • Kim KerrDecember 11, 2012 - 2:30 pm

    Jim Nevin September 26, 2012 - 12:19 pmIn September the Ione City Council responded to the 2011-2012 Grand Jury Report. They agreed with all of the findings regarding Ms. Kerr. Also, take time to google the Ledger Dispatch interview with Ione City Attorney James Maynard in which maynard talks about the former City Manager. It's interesting to get another view of just whom is responsible for most, if not all, of the economic hardships the city of ione now faces.

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  • MikeDecember 11, 2012 - 2:33 pm

    Melody Lane September 03, 2012 - 7:16 pm Phil – Your cousin Brian and opponent Richard Barb were present during the 7/23 Tax Payers meeting when Kim Kerr was our guest speaker. I'm sure the pubic would be interested in their perspectives. Kim's topic was Economic Development Planning & Actions. Transparency & accountability were repeatedly mentioned. That is, until I read excerpts from the Amador Grand Jury report, Voice in Ione and Ledger Dispatch. When I asked if Kim would care to comment on the GJ report, Kim’s mood turned icy cold. Mike Raffety and Jack Sweeney had left the room unusually early. Perhaps that was because a member of the Grand Jury revealed his presence that essentially ended the meeting. Apparently some individuals are uncomfortable when their feet are held to the fire. Check out the people’s perspective of a very sensitive topic that hits too close to home in EDC: http://ionepd.com/

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  • RichardDecember 11, 2012 - 2:55 pm

    District 2 Supervisor Ray Nutting weighed in recently noting, “Like anyone I have concerns when information like this comes up. This position was hired by Terri the CAO and I would hope that she did a background (check).” And of course we all know that Terri is also came from Amador County as is Jim Abercrombie the new head of EID. Makes one wonder what’s going on in the world of water and land use.

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  • MelodyDecember 11, 2012 - 6:51 pm

    Get the facts straight from the horse's mouth at this link to last week's BOS: http://eldorado.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=139 Click on OPEN FORUM and ITEM #43 (CONSOLIDATION) to go directly to that portion of the video. **Note as of this posting the items that were submitted for the PUBLIC RECORD have NOT yet been posted to the BOS website as requested. Apparently County Counsel is covering select public servant a$$es from Brown Act violations and other potential litigation. So where's the CAO "transparency & accountability" we've heard so much about...hmmmmmm?

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  • RichardDecember 11, 2012 - 7:31 pm

    Melody, with Ron Briggs brother in-law, Judge Bailey, overseeing the EDC Grand Jury, do you think in your life time any complaint of this natural will ever be acted on by our Grand Jury?

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  • Sam KapsonDecember 12, 2012 - 8:56 am

    This is what happens when you have a county entirely run by republicans.

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  • Kirk MacKenzieDecember 12, 2012 - 9:18 am

    Mr Kapson -- This has nothing to do with party. Self serving greed knows no party lines. This is what happens when elected officials are not held accountable by their constituents. The only way to take back our county is to make the will of constituents on individual issues public knowledge, and vote out any "representative" that votes contrary to what we want.

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  • James E.December 12, 2012 - 10:52 am

    Kirt, what "we want?" Therein is the problem. What you want is not what I want or what Cookie wants or what Richard wants or what Phil wants or etc., etc., etc.

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  • Kirk MacKenzieDecember 12, 2012 - 11:12 am

    Mr E. -- *we* represents an aggregate. If a clear majority shares a preference, we should know if our representative chooses to vote contrary to that preference. I expect there is much more consensus on local issues than national issues. Do you take exception to "majority rules", or holding representatives accountable?

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  • James E.December 12, 2012 - 12:24 pm

    Kirk, I believe in majority rules (but, strangely the Senate doesn't believe in majority rules -- 60 votes required for most everything), and I believe in holding politicians accountable. However, and I have commented on this many times in the past, how do we determine the majority preference? How do we find out what you want or what I want or what Cookie wants or what Richard wants or what phil wants? And, how do we add up all these multiple wants to announce the 51% preference? Isn't this what an election does? Or, are we to have monthly elections? Seems to me we have an election every two years and the majority preference is electing McClintock so the majority approves of his voting record.

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  • Kirk MacKenzieDecember 12, 2012 - 12:34 pm

    Mr E. -- Here we are discussing measuring preferences on *issues* to be voted on by the county *Board of Supervisors*. How we do the measuring is easy to imagine...on-line + telephone + door bells.

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  • James E.December 12, 2012 - 1:05 pm

    Kirk, but what about those who don't have computers, or land line phones, or don't answer the door. Your majority preference would be fatally flawed. Sorry, I may be dense, but I cannot see how you would get to a valid majority preference.

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  • Kirk MacKenzieDecember 12, 2012 - 1:13 pm

    Mr E. -- I believe you can't see how we could get a valid majority. Feel free to not participate.

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  • James E.December 12, 2012 - 3:31 pm

    Kirk, I want to participate. But, tell me how we could get a valid majority. Comments on line by some undetermined number, or telephone calls to how many, or knocking on how many doors when people may not be home or who decline to answer the door. Tell me how this would result in a majority position? I think you have a great idea, but the execution of it is impossible unless you can come up with more than you have described. Sounds like you want hit and miss polling, and we all how how unreliable those can be.

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  • Kirk MacKenzieDecember 12, 2012 - 4:21 pm

    Mr E. -- was President Obama re-elected with a "valid majority"?

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  • James E.December 12, 2012 - 7:16 pm

    Kirt, reference the president, to get a valid majority, all eligible voters would have had to vote. Given less then 100%, then no. Unfortunately, many Americans don't seem to think voting is important, so we had much less than 100% in this election, ergo not a valid majority. I doubt he will step down, or Mitt would have grounds to appeal.

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  • Kirk MacKenzieDecember 12, 2012 - 7:25 pm

    Mr E. -- so you set a higher bar for constituent preferences than you do to elect our president? I don't. All I ask for is for everyone who cares to have the ability to make their preference known. If not enough people care, the representative should be free to vote their "conscience". If *enough* people express their preferences, and there is a clear majority, a representative should vote accordingly...or contrary to the will of constituents in the light of day.

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  • James E.December 12, 2012 - 7:34 pm

    Kirt, I wasn't setting a higher bar, I was merely answering your question. I will make a note to let Mr. McClintock know my preferences, to no good end I'm sure.

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  • Kirk MacKenzieDecember 12, 2012 - 7:49 pm

    Mr E. -- Good try, and good luck.

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