Letters to the editor for June 28
June 27, 2017
In the article reporting on the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce luncheon and the Chamber's input on the Master Plan process, there was a significant omission in the description of our suggestion of establishing an Open Space Acquisition program. At the event, and in the comments submitted to the Community Development Department, we have been very clear that the funding for any Open Space Acquisition Program developed by Douglas County must be the result of a voter approved initiative and not imposed by Commission action.
Thanks for the opportunity to add this key piece of information and thanks for the article.
Executive Director, Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce
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Walsh is countering his campaign
As someone who worked on Commissioner Larry Walsh's campaign team, I was dismayed to see his editorial advocate some policies that run counter to his campaign messaging.
Commissioner Walsh includes in the Board of County Commissioners' organizational sustainability initiative a policy to "create/implement supervisory management program to develop internal talent." As we saw at the June 1 BOCC meeting, blindly "developing internal talent" gave us an incompetent CFO that created four totally botched employee compensation agenda items at the June 1 meeting. Commissioner Walsh generously called overstating the contract costs by a factor of three a "mistake."
A couple of the commissioners said they wouldn't punish someone for a mistake. I was at that meeting — the entire package was shot through with mistakes, some of which still haven't been corrected. It's not credible to claim that rewarding county employees with very generous long-term pay increases helps the county if there are no consequences for bad performance, particularly when you are made to fumble around at a public meeting trying to fix the results of disastrous incompetence on the fly.
Long term employee compensation contracts, according to the editorial, are needed to attract and retain quality employees. But what evidence does the BOCC have that Douglas County needs any expensive enhancements to make county jobs more attractive? Do we lack applicants for job openings? Where are the exit interviews identifying the reasons for turn over. Further, what is the turn over rate? If there's no proof that a lack of long term contracts isn't a factor, the BOCC is throwing away taxpayer money that should be going to roads and flood control.
Government employment affords job protections that don't exist in the private sector and the benefits are incredibly generous. My wife and I have been asking food service workers, retail employees, and other private sector working people If they get COLAs (cost of living adjustments) or merit pay hikes. They don't know what we're talking about.
Commissioner Walsh would like to enable county employees to afford a newer car, a college education for their kids, and future financial planning. Really? According to the Douglas County strategic plan data, the average private sector resident earns about $42,000; the median average full-time Douglas County employee is paid $79,360 — that's before the new raises hit. Here's my wish list: A top-to-bottom county job audit. Last time we did it we eliminated 70 redundant jobs.
I worked to elect Commissioner Walsh because I thought he would address the citizens' priorities, not go along with the entrenched career staff's agenda. The commissioner campaigned on preserving the rural heritage, culture, and quality of life in our county, If that means preserving the legacy potholes and pavement cracks in local roads and funding major infrastructure with reserves and borrowed money, I'd say he needs to remind himself of his campaign promises.
Comey was in the wrong
It was interesting to watch the Senate Intelligence Committee questioning of former FBI Director James Comey. Sen. Feinstein asked a very pertinent question. She asked why the witness had not advised the President that they could not discuss Michael Flynn's investigation when President Trump broached the topic. Mr. Comey answered, "Maybe if I was stronger I would have . . . I was so stunned by the conversation that I just took it in."
James Comey is an attorney. He no doubt was trained that when someone desired to speak with him about a matter that he believed to be confidential, he should advise the person attempting to initiate such a conversation that it could not occur.
Since Mr. Comey believed that this investigation should not be discussed, he could have, and should have, just told our President so. It is very difficult to figure out why our Former FBI Director did not "man up" and tell the President they could not discuss the subject.
Mr. Comey testified that he subsequently leaked material about his this topic. According to Jonathan Turley, Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University School of Law, "This leak was in direct conflict with the agreement that Comey signed . . . at the FBI that makes material generated in relation to investigations 'FBI information'."
Sen. Rubio's questioning of the witness established that our President had never been under FBI investigation. This information was something that our former FBI Director chose not to leak.