Stonewalling Leads to Cover-up

I stayed for the whole Admin meeting; the Board didn’t move up the two items I was concerned about to the beginning this time. But that meant that I could comment on anything else that needed some citizen comment or clarification. Simon Hare apparently kept track of how many times I spoke, multiplied it by 3, and declared on the last item, Commissioner Decorum at Meetings, that I had spoken for 18 minutes, while also declaring how valuable and appreciated those comments were.

Valuable they were, as I was the only citizen to speak on those items. Those comments did manage to postpone the business of covering up the cost of eliminating our Facilities Manager, Rich Halliday, as the majority of the Board and the staff seek to hide who will be doing his job and for how much.

Sandi Cassanelli opposed giving our CFO the authority to hire temporary workers on even an emergency basis. I pointed out the major difference between a CFO and a County Manager is hiring authority and that every contract that Halliday oversaw can be spun off as a separate temporary work contract. The matter was immediately tabled for next Thursday’s Admin meeting.

The matter of his BOM fund duties was less easy to disguise on the agenda. Our CFO wanted herself and her deputy to have authority to distribute those duties among various people in her department. She didn’t mention the pay raises they would then have to receive to compensate for the extra work for which they were not originally hired. Sandi Cassanelli opposed it; I pointed out that they should have answered these obvious questions: “What is his job; who will do it; and for how much?” before eliminating his position. They should rescind that action, since they can’t show that they have saved any money, their stated reason for doing it. For now, they appointed one person to take on the BOM, and gave him a 5% pay raise.

Hare warned Cassanelli that they shouldn’t talk about this in public meeting at all, because Halliday was threatening to sue, and she was putting the County in liability. Cassanelli pointed out that the Board had put them in liability by firing the man. I said that the evil and the liability exist regardless of whether the Board talks about it, and they should reconsider that action. Hare said they’d talk about it at the Legal Meeting in Executive Session. Cassanelli asked, “What number?” as in “What reason?” Hare said that they’d “figure that out.”

After all that drama, Ron Brown turned on Channel 12’s camera for the item he’d come to tape, which was Commissioner Decorum. Though I had the most to say about it in a back-and-forth with Simon Hare, the man who spoke off topic against citizens speaking off topic got air time.

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