Tue. Dec 5th, 2023

By Samuel Strait – Reporter at Large – January 27, 2022

If you haven’t caught a Board of Supervisor’s meeting lately, have no
fear, they appear to be focused solely on spending more taxpayer money. 
Amidst all the word salad on the agenda of the recent January 25, 2022
Board of Supervisor’s meeting was the intent to fund the defunct Tri
Agency, authorize the hiring of five or six new or unoccupied executive
level positions, and give certain members of the County’s bureaucracy a
rather handsome raise of either 7% of existing salary or 5% depending on
classification status.  This, while somewhat tone deaf move on the
Supervisor’s part, no doubt came on the heels of “saving face” over the
City’s recent decision to raise pay checks of the City employees by 3%.

As we have learned over the course of the past year in the pages of the
Crescent City Times, government employees in the County and the City already are
compensated at a much higher level than most others and are regularly
given raises for all sorts of contrived reasons.  A common phenomena in
all forms of government compensation.  Upper level bureaucrats generally
speaking find themselves compensated regularly in six figure salaries of
over $100,000 wages and benefits.  Now the current BOS has seen fit in
times of great privation for many within the County to reward its
management who are and have done quite well over the past couple of
years.  Government giving government pay raises flies in the face of
common sense and “good” governance, yet four board members, the district
five supervisor being absent, voted 4-0 to approve the increase.  Who
among the people in Del Norte County received a $5,000 raise, a $7500
raise, a $12,000 raise for the coming year?  Then ask yourself, are
Darrin Short, Valerie Starkey, Gerry Hemmingsen, and Chris Howard the
best choice to represent us going forward?

In addition to granting the County’s “fat cats” a generous raise, the
board scattered in talk of hiring a whole new collection of employees,
several at the manager or executive level.  Not like we already don’t
have enough “chiefs” in the fire house.  A emergency services chief, an
animal control chief, three new chiefs at both Crescent Fire and Rescue
and Crescent Fire Protection District, the replacing the “empty head” at
DHHS Heather Snow, plus several mid level supervisors.  Maybe, just
maybe, we can skip the part of resuscitating the Tri Agency, and move
straight to the part where everyone works for the government at a six
figure salary with a generous benefit package.

The final bit of nauseating business at the recent BOS meeting was talk
of reviving the failed Tri Agency, a fifty year disaster left with piles
of debt run by predecessors of the current Board of Stupervisors, and
get this current Board members.  While Supervisor Starkey was the lone
hold out of this train wreck, Chris Howard, Gerry Hemmingsen and Darrin
Short were vocal cheer leaders for fifty years of unparalleled financial
mismanagement, that resulted in over a million dollars of debt.  It was
a collection of private business “Loans” that no lending agency on the
planet would approve, and all eventually failed with little to no
compensation back to the Tri Agency.  This left the defunct agency in
such disarray in 2012, that no one with any intelligence would consider
resurrecting it.   Yet here we are.

The three measures of economic “success” alluded to by the sharpest
brain in the cheer leading bunch were all government projects that
reimbursed the Tri Agency with you guessed it, Taxpayer money.  What the
future holds if the Agency were to be resurrected, you might ask?  An
OFF SHORE WIND FARM.  Will the clown show never cease.  Governments
becoming banks to lend money for dubious businesses is not sound
economic policy.  Government getting out of the way is.  The revival of
the Tri Agency is best left to the rubbish bin and reduction in
regulation and taxes a much better bet.  Besides, it does not require
the taxpayer to fund yet another over paid bumbling fool to direct a
future defunct Tri Agency…

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