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Elected officials voice displeasure over county plan for reorganization

August 17, 2001|By LAURA MITCHELL, Staff Writer

A proposal to reorganize the county's administrative structure has some elected officials upset at what they see as a plan that could remove them from the people they serve.

A flow chart of the proposed new administrative structure shows no connection between the people and elected department heads. County elected department heads include the assessor, auditor-controller, clerk/recorder, district attorney, public administrator, sheriff/coroner and tax collector/treasurer.

"We are elected by the voters. We are in the same position as the Board of Supervisors in that respect," county Clerk/Recorder Dolores Provencio said. "If we appear (on the chart) in any position other than that, I don't believe it reflects our autonomy as elected officials."

In his opinion, the management of the old system caused unnecessary delays, Board of Supervisors Chairman Tony Tirado said. Department heads would come directly to the board with budget requests and the board would direct the county administrative officer, now the county executive officer, to take action.

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Under the new system, department heads would be under the CEO's direction on budgetary matters, Tirado said. This would expedite any process to come before the board.

"The CEO is directed only by the Board of Supervisors," Provencio said. "We should have a direct line to the Board of Supervisors."

County Assessor Jose Rodriguez echoed Provencio's statement about the autonomy of elected officials.

"Here, we run our department according to county policy," he said. "We're responsible to the electorate. Budget-wise, I have to answer to the Board of Supervisors."

Rodriguez said CEO Ann Capela seemed to be rethinking the proposal.

Rodriguez said Capela approached him Thursday morning to discuss the proposal. He said he thinks she intends to go to each department head to talk about the setup.

"She came up with the idea of the reorganization," Rodriguez said. "It's good she's going to each department head and getting their reaction."

"Right now, everything is on hold until further discussion," Rodriguez said. "We will wait and see what she comes up with."

There will be a meeting between the department heads and Capela on Sept. 6.

Capela could not be reached for comment.

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