one stop shop letter 1

Proposed county czar system

By Letters to the Editor

From page A5 | December 03, 2012 | Mountain Democrat

EDITOR: New county supervisors have work cut out for them. The CAO and assistant CAO spend too much time grandstanding for the board, empire building, and performing self-promotion through expensive self-promotional videos.

The CAO’s proposed organizational management changes (streamlining) of county departments is a fictitious guise to saving taxpayers money. It’ll cost the County plenty. The “Czar” system being proposed by the CAO to streamline Community Development, Environmental Services and Transportation creates several highly paid department heads (czars) appointed by CAO to oversee extremely complicated departments requiring department managers who currently have the applicable educational degrees, professional licenses, decades of experience and institutional knowledge.

Just look at other departments the CAO has recently changed, you will find the CAO has placed inexperienced, unqualified employees in positions where they lack the necessary and applicable education and experience.

Kim Kerr, the assistant CAO, has no civil engineering degree or license, but has recently made herself interim director of transportation. Don’t be surprised if she just attempts to assume the role indefinitely, as Kerr did this with other past positions she was unqualified for in the city of Ione and garnered the attention of the Amador Grand Jury.

Her degree in Criminal Justice and experience in government insurance and risk management does not qualify her to oversee Building, Planning, Environmental or Transportation Departments, which require civil engineering, planning, building codes, construction expertise and an understanding of complex of legal issues that surround them.

The CAO’s “One Stop Super Department” plan for Development Services, Environmental Management and Transportation has already been tested and failed in other jurisdictions. Typically what happens is the highly experienced employees with the institutional knowledge leave and are replaced with inexperienced front counter customer service-type people who fill out paperwork and subcontract the real work out to expensive, large consulting firms.

Elk Grove created a One Stop Shop around 2002, gave the owner of a large consulting firm an office at City Hall and made him assistant city manager; it also made him quite wealthy. If you wanted an answer to anything, you couldn’t get it from City Hall, you had to go to the consultant and use consultant employees to obtain the answers, a questionable form of payola.

El Dorado County has recently started using this same consultant PMC. PMC was also the highly paid consultant in Amador that Kerr hired spent oodles of money on. They were run out of many other Northern California jurisdictions when word got around about how they operated.

Read Amador County Grand Jury’s scathing report of Kim Kerr, her overly optimistic financial projections and her wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on expensive consultants in Ione and Amador County. Also read the city of Ione mayor’s Sept. 4, 2012, response to the Grand Jury report and the city’s findings regarding the scathing blame of Kim Kerr and her improprieties while employed there.

The city charged that its former employee Kerr had acted in jobs that she lacked proper qualifications and expertise to perform, lacked the financial education and knowledge necessary for the jobs she performed and caused the city great financial harm.

This proposed streamlining plan will create a czar system that primarily serves the CAO to appoint unqualified county employees to highly paid positions, create bureaucracy, subcontract work to expensive consultants and raise the cost to taxpayers.