Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Commentary and Opinion by Samuel Strait – August 8, 2023

It is not as if Supervisor Howard’s participation is exactly missed, as
the remaining members of the Board of Supervisors are secure in their
rubber stamping of the County bureaucracy’s business.  The continued
irrelevancy of the Chamber’s members is almost painful to watch.  They
gobble up the malfunction of County government like it was a gourmet
meal, with desert included.  It is almost as if the message is “Public
get out of our way.”  There has been no sign of life from any of the
Board members since Supervisor Starkey’s tearful attempt to keep
Juvenile Hall in the mix.  It has become almost a boiler plate bi weekly
event that ignores public input and trundles down a dysfunctional track,
all the while adding more cars to the train which carries no freight.

The opening ceremonies are clearly a simple sign that a public meeting
is being held.  Supervisors Starkey, Wilson, Short, and Howard, when he
is not on vacation, regale us with all the meetings they attend, yet as
that old cartoonist advertisement lamented, “Where’s the Beef?”  At what
point will any of the “five” understand that more government at a higher
rate of compensation isn’t making things better, merely increasing the
opportunities for more dysfunction.  I am almost beginning to feel sorry
for the County’s Union representative when she spins her tale of woe. 
Clearly she has deluded herself into believing that for the most part
government compensation packages provided by the County are woefully
inadequate for a comfortable life style.  I would suspect it has been
some time since she was in the regular work force in the County where
wages and benefits, that is if any are available, lag considerably
behind what the County’s work force has to scrape by on.  Clearly she
was offended by the reference to two pay raises in the past year that in
her view “was simply, pound on the lecture”, not enough, and disrespectful.

The Consent Agenda went pretty much as usual, full of new employees and
pork for Health and Human Services.  Total cost to the tax payers of
over $7 million, most going to DHHS .  There were two items pulled for
“discussion” that allowed an all government “word salad” that is until
the “Public” wished to chip in to the “discussion”, at which point the
definition of “discussion” changed in mid stream to “the public should
get out of the way, no invitation extended”, representative government
at its finest.  Item #7 was of particular interest where a clearly
inadequate Director of Health and Human Service desperately needs four
additional administrators to do “her” job.  At least she will now have
time in the mornings to update her stock portfolio by reading the Wall
Street Journal.  Such a life….perhaps two hundred plus employees are
not enough, got to keep the Union representative happy after all.  4-0
by the way.

Scheduled Items consisted of the “keep yours mitts” off our growing
local government, no matter how ineffective or dysfunctional we have
become.  Just keep the trough full of dollars, so we might spend into
oblivion.  No matter how often the Public Comments advise to reign it
in, the Board remains oblivious.  More solid representation.
  Other
items consisted of the current derelict edifice that the County’s Jail
has become. Not that this is in anyway a new condition for the County’s
many edifices, seems they all need either to be torn down as historic
relics, or require millions in resurrection efforts.  One only has to go
down the list of County buildings and infrastructure that in most cases
are a walking disaster requiring far more than “putting lipstick on a pig”.

While the latest report of the services provided by DHHS was in the
normal scheduled event portion of the “circus”, it has found its way
into the “and this is progress” segment of the BOS meeting.  It clearly
appears that the DHHS  cannot possibly grow big enough.  Lots of
programs on display primarily for Mental Health.  One wonders if there
might be a separate program for every single member of the entire County
population at the rate the BOS is going.  One is constantly in awe of
the justification for a County department that employs 200 plus people
and consumes 60% of the County’s budget, yet still manages to grow the
population of people in need of services.  One suspects that sooner or
later the County will run out of dysfunctional adults to populate DHHS’s
need for more people to be able to label ” no longer has the ability to
operate in regular society”.

General government consisted of the formation of an entirely “new” sub
part of the Probation department.  The ostensible reason for this regime
build is to accommodate the former employees of Juvenile Hall.  A great
opportunity to make the whole process much more difficult and give
everyone in the “new” reentry unit a third raise in the last year.  As a
side note, it also gave Union Rep, Norma Williams, another chance to
pound on the lectern in favor of her terribly disrespected employees.  
The remaining item of General Government, an enormous work load of four
items for the Board, consisted of defining what the new reentry
positions are expected to accomplish.  Got to make Norma Happy.

Finally after just short of two hours, we have $81,000.00 being
transferred to Probation to manage the task of housing juvenile
offenders out of the County.  Nothing like quality from our local
“representatives”.  If only that were to occur, the quality part.

2 thoughts on “The 4-0 Club, Supervisor Howard On Vacation Again”
  1. This is a case of “following the money”. Where will the money for these new positions come from?
    What happens to this money if it is not spent (or completely spent)? Is it returned to the state or can it be moved into the County’s general fund?
    We also need to ask who these positions will truly help. Will they help DHHS magically become effective in helping those in need? No.
    DHHS is and will continue to be ineffective. The Board of Supervisors is and will continue to be ineffective. It seems that the voters in our County must want it this way as they allow Board of Supervisors to continue to be ineffective.

    1. RT,
      The sad fact is not enough Del Norte County residents care about what is going on with DHHS or the Board of Supervisors. They have given up.
      I wish things would change. But I do not think it is going to happen.

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