Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Supervisors consider new positions

From page A1 | September 16, 2013 | 24 Comments

One could almost hear “Secret Agent Man” playing in the background as El Dorado County Supervisors contemplated creating a new county position — government affairs specialist — or some similar title. Recommended by Chief Administrative Officer Terri Daly, the position would become the county’s point person to the legislature and state agencies, the Forest Service and any number of other government entities that do business in El Dorado County.

Keeping abreast of city-county relations, special district issues and regional organization matters should also be included in a job description, she noted.

Citing examples of the county being behind the curve on issues of importance (the closure by the Forest Service of 42 forest roads and proposed closure of vast tracts of public lands to protect the yellow-legged frog and Yosemite Toad), Daly noted that dealing with issues on a case-by-case basis can be only “marginally effective” compared to having a dedicated staffer operating within a systematic work program. That individual could track legislation on which the board has taken an official stand in order to know if it has changed while going through the state’s legislative process, for example.

“We should have advanced knowledge of federal actions impacting El Dorado County by consistently reviewing the Federal Register and purposely cultivating relationships with federal staff. County staff should be consistently following the work of other local agencies that potentially have an impact on county business,” Daly wrote in her formal proposal to the board.

Connecting the request to the county’s larger “Strategic Investment” program, the CAO described both board and public “frustration with other government entities. We’re at the mercy of these state and federal entities. We react rather than being out in front of these issues.”

The recommendation includes reassigning a current, principal CAO analyst to be a government and public affairs coordinator. “This is basically the formalization of work that is already occurring and does not require a new position,” she wrote. Daly’s proposed salary for a government affairs senior analyst, what she calls an “existing resource” is approximately $100,000.

Along with the government affairs guru, Daly recommends the board consider adding an entirely new county position, a public information specialist at a comparable salary.

“The county completely lacks a formal communication function,” she wrote. “Effective communications strategies ensure a two-way information flow between the county, citizens, businesses and visitors. We should strive to create feedback opportunities that are convenient for citizens to attend, and work to present information about county services in a way that is convenient for citizens to receive.”

Tying effective communications to “transparency and better information,” she advises that those factors will lead to better decisions overall. Organizational changes and restructuring over the past year or two have been poorly broadcast both to the public and to county employees, Daly noted. Citing creation of the county’s Community Development Agency, plans to relocate the animal shelter and Mental Health facilities, implementation of Information Technology’s FENIX system and the county budget process, she suggests that all “compel a significant level of communication with the community (and) while staff responds to questions from reporters, we devote few resources to front-end communication.”

Debt-free, unlike many jurisdictions, Daly wrote El Dorado County has “amassed respectable reserves and is undertaking significant investments. Yet we hardly let our residents know what the board and its Executive Management team have accomplished, or how citizens can affect the allocation of resources.”

The county’s presence in social media is “woefully inadequate” and “utterly failing to take advantage of modern communications tools,” Daly told the board. “The lack of a formal communication function is currently the largest deficiency in this policy area,” the documents conclude.

In addition to the salary recommendations, the proposal for a pilot project suggests Advocacy Services for $60,000 and contracted research and audio/visual services at $50,000.

After some discussion, pro and con, supervisors directed the CAO to come back with more details about her proposal. Ron Mikulaco, District 1 voiced objection to the public relations position, however in general board members were enthusiastic about the need for the government affairs specialist. Public comments also were mostly supportive of the notion of having such a position.

Melody Lane told the board she had done a similar job in Sacramento and said that “communication is a problem and getting accurate information is a problem,” and such problems point to the “necessity for this position.”

Other public comments, not necessarily opposed to the proposal, included concerns about creation of “another committee” or another layer of bureaucracy “between me and my representative.”

Supervisor Ray Nutting justified his support by noting that “If you could change one public policy, it could mean millions of dollars to our county.” He was referring to public policy regarding commercial activity in the 1.2 million acres of public land in the county. “One catch by a very bright person more than pays for the investment,” he said.

Contact Chris Daley at 530-344-5063 or Follow @CDaleyMtDemo


Discussion | 24 comments

  • Phil VeerkampSeptember 15, 2013 - 11:54 am

    TRANSLATION ~ Chief Administrative Officer Terri Daly seeks additional layers of Kevlar and plausible deniability.

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  • Fran DuchampSeptember 15, 2013 - 12:04 pm

    Am I the only one that thinks it is not that hard to get information out--if it is available to do so. We have so many committees and sub committees and sub sub committees...that another position doesnt really make sense. How about getting rid of all the committees of volunteers..Go back to hiring real raises...and promoting the economy. Hopefully drawn from our county.

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  • James E.September 15, 2013 - 12:17 pm

    Ms. Daly continues to build her empire of subordinates to take the blame when it hits the fan. Wonder if the new hires will be her old buds? Old buds who could be sacrificed if necessary.

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  • James E.September 15, 2013 - 12:20 pm

    Am I being cynical? Well, age and resulting life experience makes one cynical. So guess I'm cynical.

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  • James E.September 15, 2013 - 12:21 pm

    Going out to see if I'm the last one alive. Be back later.

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  • James E.September 15, 2013 - 4:44 pm

    Breaking News: Larry Summers takes himself off the short list to be Fed Chairman. At last, some good news.

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  • Melody LaneSeptember 15, 2013 - 6:19 pm

    Another communication breakdown... Reporter Daley botched this article. I did NOT say I had a similar position while I worked for the Sacramento Mayor and City Manager. Amy Williams was/still is the Chief Information Officer & spokesperson for the City of Sac. Chairman Briggs attempted to cut me off before I could justify the creation of a similar EDC position. ACCOUNTABILITY of the CAO & BOS is VITAL to the success of this position which is already fraught with inherent layers of bureaucracy under control of County Counsel. I highly doubt suggested candidate Mike Applegarth has the qualifications or the experience for the job. View item #34 of the 8/27 BOS to get a more accurate perspective of this article:

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  • 1036-FrankSeptember 15, 2013 - 6:47 pm

    Does she have another crony with a sketchy past in mind? I am sure an existing position could be modified for this role now out of the many departments using current staff. What strikes me as odd is it is portrayed as a govt. affairs/ lobbyist/PR position and the person supporting it is Nutting. Why doesn't he ask to appoint a person to handle his inability to conduct his elected duties?

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  • cookie65September 16, 2013 - 5:24 am

    I have always been motivated to cause people to see the inherent corruption in TOO MUCH government. I like it when they do it for me.

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  • cookie65September 16, 2013 - 5:28 am

    Paging Todd White.... paging Todd White....LOL!!!

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  • cookie65September 16, 2013 - 5:48 am

    Calling the "county" behind the curve on issues of importance reminds me of the last 4 1/2 years of obama. Perhaps if they weren't so consumed with trying to figure out a way to rid themselves of Ray Nutting they would have a little more time to do what they were hired to do. This is just a backdoor admission that their incompetence causes the need for an additional position. Either that or they have someone in mind that they what to promote to the good ole boys network.

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  • AmusedSeptember 16, 2013 - 6:34 am

    So El Dorado County is debt free with cash reserves. So was Ione. As far as the exact amount of cash EDC has in the bank, citizens may wish to install some type of confirmation process because Ione was told by your present staff that there were ample funds available, until about 30 days before she left when she described her own administration as "not sustainable".

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  • Bill E.September 16, 2013 - 7:06 am

    Creating one or two positions is fine as along as the payroll does not change and the headcount stays the same. These "high value" positions do make some sense. Figure out how to get it done inside of the existing budget....

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  • RaulSeptember 16, 2013 - 9:46 am

    I would suggest hiring Diamond Joe Harn at another 1/4 million dollars a year.With his pleasing personality, ability to screw over anybody that points out his incompetence and his talent for manipulating the truth on any given subject , he would be the perfect fit for the CAO's mouthpiece, and like the DA, he can continue to collect his other 1/4 million dollars a year for these additional duties.

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  • Good call RaulSeptember 16, 2013 - 9:57 am

    Raul, this is one of the problems the new position will help to correct.

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  • cookie65September 16, 2013 - 10:13 am

    Is there some surplus budget money made available because of another county agency cutting costs? I will let those in-the-know bounce that around.

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  • Fran DuchampSeptember 16, 2013 - 11:20 am

    A chief administrative officer must have a thorough understanding of a local government's policies and overall mission, and how each is best executed. He/she must delegate, organize and come up with new ideas to help the overall goals towards the mission. He/she plays a role in sales, marketing and advertising, overseeing bookkeeping and warehousing as well. Basically, the CAO must be knowledgeable in every facet of the local government represented. He/she plays a role in sales, marketing and advertising,..maybe we need a new CAO if she can't get the information out.

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  • Dink LaneSeptember 16, 2013 - 12:31 pm

    Looks like Supervisors fired their Lobbyist..... I think if they layoff two more clerks, and one Deputy, we can manage to finance a $100,000 + full package + expenses + 6 weeks of vacation--I mean field trips (to hob-nob with other lobbyists) .... Oh and don't forget training and another assistant...

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  • Mike ApplegarthSeptember 16, 2013 - 1:23 pm

    I am the Mike Applegarth that Melody mentioned in her post. If anyone would like to talk with me about my qualifications to work on the issues outlined in the article, please call me. My cell phone number is (916) 532-0318. It is a personal, non-county number so please don't call me before 7 AM or after 8 PM. I also just want to note for the record that I'm posting this off the clock. I took a later lunch today and am sitting at Raley's enjoying a sandwich and small coffee. I only mention it so nobody thinks I'm using county resources. Thanks.

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  • Ernie louisSeptember 16, 2013 - 1:36 pm

    With elected State and Federal Representatives with offices here or near El Dorado County, why can’t we get information from there? Each County Supervisor has an assistant who (I thought) performs these duties. Why not the Taxpayers Association? How about organizations like the League of Women Voters. The builder’s exchange? The Association of Realtors? The BOS belongs to associations that perform this function. Joe Harn claims to do this work on his spare time.. In short, it appears that Government is an island of their own. When in fact Government exists to serve the people. In most cases, people can do a better job with less money. Bottom line. Do we make the duplications and levels of government bigger? Or do we stop the bleeding? . Ernie Louis

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  • Fran DuchampSeptember 16, 2013 - 1:55 pm

    Mike Applegarth...I put my phone number out there was interesting. Im curious--what is the difference between what you do now and the job described above? I found some information is not put out there on purpose--so that a few can control the outcome. What would you do differently?

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  • Fran DuchampSeptember 16, 2013 - 2:16 pm

    Getting information out: Town meeting MOnday at the Pollock Pines Camino Community Center. This meeting is directed towards seniors--so if you know one--bring them.The coordinator sent out lots of emails...some still havent responded. A flyer went out letting people know who was called--hopefully they will all come. Throughout El Dorado different groups have asked for this very same type of meeting--just come and talk to seniors. One of the things I found out for bowlers is-- if your fingers cant hold the ball any more--our bowling alley has new balls that have a retractable handle--very cool. Or a specially designed stick that helps push the ball. lolol...there will be many government depts up here to answer questions. Ms. Santiago has attended every meeting--hats off to the busy lady. Ray Nutting came to the last one--and he is always welcome. We have three supervisors--they may not all show up at once...because if they all agreed on an item discussed--someone could say--okay 3/5 supervisors said it was okay...and that could get messy. Bring a senior. Everyone is welcome.

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  • Susie O.September 16, 2013 - 7:54 pm

    Hmmm. $100,000 for an analyst? That's a lot. At the State, there's a lot of interagency collaboration. Those folks usually make about $60k to $75k. NOT $100k. Even folks in the Legislative Analyst Offices of state agencies make $60-75k. AND they handle social media. I know a lot of people complain about state workers, but I'll tell you, I multitask and I collaborate and negotiate with other agencies, strategize, research, and I'm running and getting work done all day long. FOR A LOT LESS THAN $100k. And I appreciate the opportunity to be a public servant.

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  • Walking TallOctober 04, 2013 - 6:58 pm

    Doubt if any of those who lost their County job would support the creation of a new position at the rate of pay that they were told they would save if their position was gone..This sure sounds like a shell game by the BOS.. Wasn't it Nutcase who suggested bthat we have a CAO in the first place so as long as he was able to put his choice in hmmmmmm interesting huh.. Way to go Ray, or just go Ray..

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