Sat. Dec 10th, 2022

Opinion by Samuel Strait – April 12, 2022

One would think that local government was on its last financial legs to
hear Operations Lieutenant Daniel Schneck outline the “issues” that are
plaguing the local Sheriff’s Department.  This is a department that
can’t seem to replace staff that has been allocated to them and budgeted
for them.  When you stop comparing local government salaries to every
other department in the State and look at their compensation compared to
others that work within the County, it is hard to understand just how
deprived they actually are.  A clerk in a local grocery store takes home
less than a quarter of the lowest paid full time officer at the
Sheriff’s department and still manages to pay the bills.  If working as
a deputy in Del Norte County has become such a burden and solely about
the size of the paycheck maybe the Sheriff’s Deputies shouldn’t have
become an officer of the law, sworn to protect and serve.  If, because
the City has opened their wallet, or Humboldt County has done the same,
maybe the local Sheriff’s Office is better off without those that only
see dollar signs.

The voters that passed Measure “R” were promised by several people in
government at the time that the funding from the measure would not go to
hire more staff and pay their wages and benefits. Nor was it to allow
the County to start giving raises to everyone that works for the
County.  It always seems to come down to this age old problem of the
benefit to the community only comes with the continued government hand
in your pocket.  The results are always the same, promise to do one
thing while planning on doing what they said they wouldn’t.

There should be NO sympathy for the local Sheriff’s Department, as they
must positively be swimming with excess cash due to their inability to
fill vacant and budgeted positions.  Additionally, something other than
money is plaguing that department that needs to be addressed before
worrying about salaries and benefits. First and foremost, there should
be NO discussion about how to spend Measure”R” money until all the
employees are paid out of the County General Fund.  The same goes for
any other salary given to a County employee with the sales tax revenue
from Measure “R”. Then, and only then, will the nature of the sales tax
revenue funding become clear when it comes to paying for what was
promised.  Promises kept…..

We, at least those of us that are paying attention, have heard the
lament from all the usual suspects about the catastrophe that will occur
should Measure “R” be repealed in the Fall, and are likely to hear it
non-stop until November.  Yet, we hear not a single syllable from anyone
in local government about reducing costs, and reigning in expenses.  Not
a word about bringing salaries in local government more in line with
prevailing wages that hard working private citizens are forced to exist
on.  All we hear is the perpetual whine from local government that they
can’t pay their employees enough.  How sad….

Local people are tired of the constant nagging from County Officials
that they don’t have enough of that which rests in local pockets.  They
are tired of the huge burden that County Government has become. 
Inflation has eaten away at what little they make, when government has
generously allowed them to make it.  Yet government has received
thousands of federal and state dollars to make them pandemic whole. 
Millions of dollars in new grant funding, yet the County’s General Fund
and its leadership can’t pay the bills out of that?  We have heard the
lament for far too long.   The whining and supplication should no longer
be heard by local citizens until County Government gets serious about
cutting the “fat from the bone”.

It has become almost an insult to hear local Bureaucrats moaning about
improvements to the Veterans Hall all the while “fattening” County
employees pay checks.  Similarly it is the height of hypocrisy for
County Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Neal Lopez to complain about loosing positions created with
the use of Measure “R” funding when it never should have happened in the
first place….  No one should have any pity for those that get caught
saying one thing and doing the opposite.  Shame on Del Norte County
Government……

Today we will hear a fresh tale of woe when CAO Lopez reports to the
Board Of Supervisors the ruination and misfortune to County financial
bliss should Measure “R” be repealed in November.   I am sure it will
live up to the level of “cataclysm of the ages”, insurmountable by local
government.  What can the local population possibly be thinking.  Loss
of service, lay offs, program budget decreases, horror of horrors for
any government.  How can the people take our slush fund away?  Stay
tuned for another lament during the regular Board of Supervisors
meeting, today, Tuesday, April 12th.

2 thoughts on “For Local Government It’s All About The Money”
  1. Why do you use so many dots? They are kind of like ellipses but you use so many, in strange places. I don’t understand their meaning or purpose in your writing.

    1. Tonya, don’t worry about the periods, just read the articles. We have enough to be concerned about with local government, let alone to be worried about punctuation.

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