Monday, April 14, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Development community supports new agency

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From page A14 | December 07, 2012 | 29 Comments

El Dorado County Chief Administrative Officer Terri Daly spoke at length and in detail as she laid out her recommendation that the county create a new Community Development Agency. El Dorado County supervisors listened and eventually approved all aspects of the recommendation. Only Supervisor Ray Nutting disagreed with enough elements of the proposal that he voted “no” on Supervisor Jack Sweeney’s motion to approve the recommendation.

Although opponents were clear and vocal about their concerns, the restructuring of the county’s departments of Development Services, Environmental Management and Transportation was widely supported by members of the local development community. That group included several who have volunteered many hours and professional expertise serving on various commissions and committees over the past two years. The Economic Development Advisory Committee and its subcommittee for regulatory reform was particularly well represented among the speakers at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

As she opened the discussion, Daly reminded the board that it had directed her two years ago to “look at the operations of Building C” (the county government building that houses the three departments in question).

“We found a lack of clear policy-making decisions and a costly way of doing business. Action had been taken over the past 10 years,” she acknowledged. “And that was to get rid of the department heads. We didn’t want to do it that way any longer.”

She described a history of the departments operating in separate silos that led to “inconsistent policy implementations, multiple and different interpretations of rules and no easy way to get policy analysis to the policy decision-makers.”

Because of that structure, she said “policy gets messy and hard and takes a long time, so it falls to the bottom of the heap (of operations and priorities).”

She described the new agency structure as a “one-stop” center for all things development-related. Headed by a director of community development, with one assistant community development director and an assistant for administration and finance, the agency will be “integrated and coordinated,” she said.

“It will not be more costly, and it will not be more bureaucracy,” she promised. And in response to critics who say she has created more power and a larger empire for the CAO’s Department, she assured the board, “not so; I don’t want more power.”

Noah Briel from El Dorado Hills, a member of the EDAC Regulatory Reform group, endorsed the new structure for its ability to provide much better coordination among the separate county divisions. Fellow committee member Jim Brunello followed Briel to the podium and recalled to the board, “You directed an executive advisory team to address the culture (in the county’s development related services departments). This is the most complete change in culture since I’ve been around.”

Ken Calhoon from the Georgetown Divide Chamber of Commerce praised the move toward regulatory reform as a way to ensure “consistency and guidelines” in the development process.

Michael Ranalli noted that up till now policy has been done on a case-by-case basis, “and it’s very difficult for the public. I appreciate fear of change, but we have to challenge our fears. We’ve had a structural failure, and I hope you’ll move forward on this.”

“I think it’s a brilliant recommendation,” development specialist Kathye Russell told the board. “For years policy has been interpreted differently by everyone… My big fear would be in not making this change.”

El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Laurel Brent-Bumb said her group is very supportive of the restructuring. And with a bit of tongue in cheek, she said, “Change is frightening, but it’s the only consistency in life.”

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Discussion | 29 comments

  • James SmithDecember 07, 2012 - 7:28 am

    Actually, many in the Development Community with decades of experience were not in favor of the new Super Agency, but were afraid to speak out due to potential retribution. With two of the outgoing Supervisors voting on this issue and ramming it through with only weeks left in office and Ray Nutting dissenting, this board action would have probably failed under the new board in January.

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  • residentDecember 07, 2012 - 7:47 am

    Brent-Bumb never met a development travesty she couldn't support. What do you think the Chamber is all about?

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  • Echo ChamberDecember 07, 2012 - 7:53 am

    "Tell me what you want me to say and I'll say it."

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  • Sue TaylorDecember 07, 2012 - 4:52 pm

    Let's say a certain section of the development community embraced this. The Board has never wanted to "fix" the permit process or that would have been done years ago with simple solutions. This is about gutting the General Plan for a favored few and leaving a regime in place to follow it through. It's seems as if I’m the last one standing from the building industry with the guts to say so. Probably because most of them have had to move elsewhere due to the last time the County reorganized like this. James' you have nailed it and thanks for saying so.

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  • Sue TaylorDecember 07, 2012 - 4:56 pm

    By the way the chamber is about TOT tax. More hotels, more funding for programs that are "under" the chamber. It's interesting that the hotels are taxed in order to compete with themselves...hmmmmm

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  • RichardDecember 07, 2012 - 5:04 pm

    I think the considerable funding of the Chamber by the tax payers (approved by the Board of Supervisors) should be discontinued, let the development community pay for their own lobbyist. How can we as citizens of El Dorado County allow this to continue……?

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  • MelodyDecember 07, 2012 - 8:55 pm

    Another example of biased reporting by the Mtn. Demo...The following transcript of Public Comments portion of Item #43 SHOULD appear along with supporting documentation when it is finally posted to the BOS Agenda website: "I’d like to acknowledge Ed Knapp’s presentation at yesterday’s Taxpayers Assn. meeting and his patience in responding to all our questions. When asked who was guarding the henhouse, it was especially enlightening for some to learn the purpose of the County Counsel “fox” is to defend the BOS against citizens who hold their elected representatives and County staff’s feet to the fire…all on the taxpayer’s dime. When the subject of item #43 of today’s agenda was broached, there were a lot of passionate comments about how to navigate a desperately broken system. Meanwhile the BOS is adding layers of bureaucracy that foster inefficiency and more obstacles to navigate. There’s a loaded agenda today for everyone to digest amidst the holiday rush, but virtually no viable solutions and little opportunity to vet the issues. That doesn’t sound like a recipe for success. To several of us, it appears major decisions have already been made behind closed doors without allowing the public their input and due process as mandated by the Brown Act. The materials I submitted during Public Forum this morning represent just one example of out of control local government. There remain many unanswered questions that beg answers prior to filling these newly created positions through consolidation. The performance of the Directors of Development Services, DOT and Environmental Management have been less than stellar as evidenced by the materials previously submitted to the Board. Consider the Assistant CAO is under an Amador County Grand Jury investigation and refuses to respond to written correspondence about fiscal matters. Human Services appears to have a too many gaps in their departmental procedures. Customer service and accountability of our public servants amidst an economic crisis rates a “D” for disaster. We urge you NOT to take action on this proposal until the Board has properly addressed the problems that have caused the system to collapse from within."

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  • EvelynDecember 07, 2012 - 9:06 pm

    Richard, is it true that the Chamber receives taxpayer funding? Do you know how much or where this budget line item can be found?

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  • ChamberDecember 08, 2012 - 6:45 am

    Evelyn, as I recall residents do not directly pay the Chamber with General Fund money but with TOT tax and benefits which were supposed to support Veterans' Needs", "Parks and Recreation", "Fire Services", "Road Maintenance", "Cultural Arts", "Sheriffs' Deputies", and other services. About the same time the TOT tax was approved the BOS approved a dollar a year lease plus maintenance for the downtown county owned building the chamber resides in. The annual value of this building to the county general fund is $60,000 x 23 years = approximately $ 1.38 million loss to the general fund to date. This does not include county services, material and communications the chamber receives from the county general fund monies. An additional lease was approved around 1999 giving the chamber the same dollar a month deal on the downtown county courthouse should it ever be vacated which would give the chamber free rent ($1 a year) plus additional income from sub-tenants. I don’t believe any of the proposed recipients of the TOT tax ever received a dime; the chamber/film commission receives it all and in return act as exclusive lobbyist for the BOS and development community in addition to their chamber duties. I have somewhere in my records similar deals where the BOS have funded the chamber, give me a couple of hours to research.

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  • RichardDecember 08, 2012 - 7:03 am

    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," great line.

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  • Bill E.December 08, 2012 - 7:52 am

    TOT is not a tax on hotels, but rather a guest tax collected by the lodging facilities in the unincorporated areas of the county similar to collecting sales tax. In the original proposal, at least 50% of the funds collected were suppose to go towards promoting tourism, agri-tourism and and adventure tourism. Much of this funding has been hijacked for general fund items by previous BoS actions although funding of the Visitor's Authority continues. EDC is lodging deficient and too monotone to expand tourism and the affiliated revenues even though it is a readily available economic opportunity. Economic escalators for tourism runs in the 8-10 range and that would dramatically help the small business in the community and drive some employment. Big picture over personal preferences....

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  • residentDecember 08, 2012 - 8:15 am

    The Chamber's IRS Form 990 for 2011 shows total Revenue = $568,834. $309,006 of this (54% ) is from "Fees & Contracts Gov Agencies". B-Bumb's compensation = $72,144. Answering the question “Has the organization provided a complete copy of this Form 990 to all members of its governing body before filing this form?” the Chamber states “No review was or will be conducted.” And to this: “Describe in Schedule O whether the organization makes its governing documents, conflict of interest policy, and financial statements available to the public during the tax year” the answer is “No documents available to the public.”

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  • residentDecember 08, 2012 - 8:51 am

    Chamber Directors listed in the 2011 IRS Return: Vicki Barber (Ed.D.), Dave Nelson, Kevin Brown, Maureen Carter, Susie Davies, Brian Jensen, Mark Luster, Liz Hanley, Christa Campbell, Al Carrier, Larry Caso, Kathryn Matthews, Dolly Wagner, Howard Penn, Duane Wallace, Barbara Winn, Kirk Bone, Laurel Brent-Bumb, Bill Randall, Shiva Frentzen, Mike Kobus

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  • Echo ChamberDecember 08, 2012 - 9:08 am

    About dem nuts and bolts. Looks like maybe it could be said Brent-Bumb is a pseudo government employee. Without Gov Agency support (building & annual revenue) she'd need to take a pay cut or go job hunting. Brent-Bumb could skip attending all those tiresome public meetings. Just send for official record a document stamped "ditto".

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  • Sue TaylorDecember 08, 2012 - 5:08 pm

    Clarity for Bill. Hotels that have to collect the transit oriented tax end up charging more than those in the City that do not. Therefore it creates a disadvantage. The tax is collected with the hope that funding will be spent to get "more heads in beds". Instead the funding is being spent to lobby for more hotels. Since we agree that the money is not being used as intended, how about eliminating the tax? That way the hotels can reduce what they charge and then do their own advertising. Also do you have a study that shows the need for more hotels? The studies I have seen show we do not have that need, nor would a venture like that pan out. The City and County have spent alot of money trying to lure hotels here with not success.

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  • Clair VoyantDecember 08, 2012 - 5:34 pm

    Silly Sue T, OF COURSE we must have more hotels. How do we know? Simple. Every time we get together for a "visioning" workshop someone writes down on that big sheet of white paper that they've had a "vision" of more hotels. Spooky.

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  • MikeDecember 08, 2012 - 7:28 pm

    Briggs forgot to sign his name to the last post.

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  • RichardDecember 08, 2012 - 7:29 pm

    Evelyn, funds recently funneled though the office of EDC Economic Development to the Chamber as a hired contractor for the county, at the discretion of the CAO - $30,000, $15,000, 166,220, 89,000.

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  • EvelynDecember 08, 2012 - 8:49 pm

    Richard, are those sums shown in any online or otherwise publicly available documents?

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  • EvelynDecember 08, 2012 - 9:30 pm

    When did SILO become organizational shop talk? Several synonyms: armory, arsenal, cache. Back in the good old days we knew silos were where missiles were stashed away. Now, departments operate in "separate silos". Don't the denizens of these "silos" have the internet, telephones, cell phones, fax machines or feet? In these hard pressed economic times, when everyone is pressed to make ends meet, you'd think our county could get creative and better allocate taxpayer monies. We didn't ASK THEM to build those "silos".

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  • RichardDecember 09, 2012 - 2:50 pm

    #4 10-23-12 consent, file 10-1057 has 13 attachmnets what you looking for is among the last 4 attachments....

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  • EvelynDecember 09, 2012 - 3:06 pm

    Richard: Thank you. You're hired!

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  • residentDecember 10, 2012 - 7:17 pm

    LEASE here: http://eldorado.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=2004665&GUID=228EC6D3-94C3-4850-9E13-EFC0E81B215C

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  • Fran DuChampJune 26, 2013 - 5:59 pm

    memory lane...should be an interesting meeting in the morning

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  • Fran DuChampJune 26, 2013 - 6:01 pm

    lololol...people will remember who brought it to Pollock Harper...and I will remember the followers...shaking head.

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  • Fran DuChampJune 26, 2013 - 6:06 pm

    Only Supervisor Ray Nutting disagreed with enough elements of the proposal that he voted “no”...maybe this is way Ray is in trouble...maybe he was against some of these on going items...just a thought...I do know he has mad someone very mad.

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  • Fran DuChampJune 26, 2013 - 6:13 pm

    actually it is interesting to re read these comments---the other night at our meeting my neighbor asked about"hotels" being on a list--I remember her saying--we dont want any new hotels....

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  • James E.June 26, 2013 - 6:21 pm

    So the proposed IT system will be attempted, will kinda work only with constant adjustments (more cost, of course), and will overall cost millions. No one will take responsibility and certainly no one will take financial responsibility. And, as always, tax payers will take it in the ear. I'm sure glad the local readership has moved the focus to local government, instead of constantly ragging the feds. More than enough corruption locally to keep us busy.

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  • EvelynJune 26, 2013 - 6:30 pm

    James: It would be wonderful beyond belief if more people began attending meetings of local government agencies. Just last night (actually kind of funny) at City Council a former mayor virtually accused regularly attending residents of "reading the agenda online and attending meetings all the time." (!!!) It seems black marks are being awarded for doing what in former times was regarded as one's civic duty.

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