Alpine administrative officer asks residents for suggestions |

Alpine administrative officer asks residents for suggestions

by Bill Morgan

Pamela Knorr, Alpine County’s new administrative officer, came on board May 15.

Though her principal responsibility is the overall supervision and coordination of the several departments not headed by elected officials, she came just in time to tackle the daunting task of putting together a tentative budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year.

The state of California, like Nevada, is facing a sizable shortfall of revenues and has advised California counties to plan for serious cutbacks in funds for the categories of public safety and public works in particular. Other funding sources from the state are being squeezed, too.

Some of the funds that the county has been getting from the federal government will be cut back also. Her unenviable job is to prepare that tentative budget, making recommendations to the board of supervisors as to where to make the cuts needed to result in a balanced budget. Annual pay raises, existing and proposed positions, favorite community service programs, all those and more are in play. That’s not the ideal situation to be in if you wish to win friends and influence people. But Knorr is a team player and is doing her homework.

She’s determined to do the best that can be done in a tough financial situation.

In the short time she has been with the county, she has managed to get around the territory, meeting with the many volunteers, sitting in on meetings of the various commissions and generally getting acquainted. And she is seeking ideas from the community regarding ways to meet the financial challenges. For example, she is asking interested people to come to the county administrative office building 5 p.m. Monday, for a meeting to discuss how savings can be made in the operation of the library and the museum.

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Those are two of the county’s best programs and cutbacks in financial support could be painful. Other programs expected to be hard hit are those that have been receiving substantial funds from state or federal sources. The sheriff’s department is one such program as is health and human services. The county department heads and the fiscal staff have already been very helpful in identifying possible cost savings in the county’s operation. It appears that Alpine County government is about to experience some significant changes.

Knorr has said that though the most challenging part of her job is that fiscal situation, working with the county staff and the members of the Board of Supervisors is the most pleasurable part of her job. A tall, slender woman, she’s comfortable in a board room or on a trail bike. Though she has been working in her office well after dark at times, she has managed to get into the great outdoors of Alpine County with her two boys for some recreation on weekends.

That’s good. She’s going to need to keep her personal and professional lives in balance in the rough months ahead.