Why Nothing Gets Done In Mendocino County

The AVA Online
Mendo’s Management Deficit 12/12/09

[…]The county has never required formal departmental reporting on a regular basis from their various departments. Such reporting is standard fare for ordinary businesses and should include preformatted reports addressing personnel/staffing, budget status, outside contracts, overtime, extra help, lost time, and the (brief) status of all special projects in the department. There are also needs to be specific identification of current and anticipated problems which each department is aware of with recommendations for how to deal with them. Problems which involve other departments should require the other department(s) to be on hand to resolve them at the time of each departmental presentation. Each department must also identify “cost drivers” — the primary factors driving their staffing levels and budgets. Each monthly report from a department must provide a summary and status of these cost drivers and what’s being done to control them.

As time passes, such reporting provides a basis for follow-up by comparing current months to previous months; objectives and assignments are accumulated with status reports each time they make presentations. The supervisors then gain an understanding of what their departments are doing, what the trends are, what affects their budgets, what can be done to handle them, and surprises will be minimized. This also provides a much better basis for annual budgeting and staffing decisions. Each department’s summaries should also include identification of which positions are funded by grants and special funds as separate from general fund positions.

Unfortunately, none of this kind of formal supervision — which you would expect from someone whose title is “supervisor” — is mentioned during political campaigns. Instead, what we get is standard, business as usual blather about water, zoning, “budget challenges,” why things can’t get done, “my position” on this or that, and the rest of the unattended, unaddressed “issues” over which the supervisors have very little control anyway.

Don’t expect anything different this year either. Candidates Hamburg, Roberts, Wells, Madrigal, Pinches, Orth, etc. can not and will not address the county’s urgent management deficit. Without such oversight, the county will continue to founder on the ever-steepening shoals of bloated, growing debt and looming revenue cuts…