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Mauk’s county hiring freeze needs something to keep it HARD

Back in mid-December the Orange County Board of Supervisors directed that County CEO Tom Mauk take the following action regarding spending in the County.

“Directed the CEO to implement a hard hiring freeze, with limited exceptions to allow compliance with state and federal mandates, to allow the transfer of employees from the general fund to non-general fund supported positions, and for positions critical to the operations of the county.”

Tom Mauk

The Orange County Register reported Monday that the job that Peggi Buff, the former number two in the The Public Administrator/ Public Guardian’s office, was granted at the Orange County Community Resources department was never a posted vacancy at the agency, and there was no recruitment done for the position. From the Register story:

The $95,000 a year county job given to former Assistant Public Administrator/Public Guardian Peggi Buff was never publicly posted in the county’s job openings, The Watchdog has learned.

Buff, who is engaged to District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, was removed from her position as second-in-command of the embattled Public Administrator/Public Guardian’s office as a result of an audit on the agency by the county’s human resources department.

That didn’t land Buff in line at the unemployment office.

County officials transferred Buff Friday to the O.C. Community Resources division to be help coordinate volunteers. Buff, an at-will employee, was appointed by Public Administrator/Public Guardian John S. Williams in 2003 and then promoted from executive assistant to second-in-command of the Public Administrator’s office after five years.

So let’s see if I’ve got this straight; the Public Administrator/ Public Guardian who Supervisors are trying to get to resign has managed to arrange a golden parachute for his political appointee, and District Attorney Tony Rackauckas’s fiancee. She will be a Volunteer Coordinator making $95,000 a year. No wonder people think county workers are over paid.

I guess I’m not really surprised. When county management says hard hiring freeze, it really doesn’t mean much. They will still hire people to fill magically created management positions regardless of any freeze, particularly when it suits the political needs of elected officials. I would love to hear the rationale as to how Buff’s transfer to a position that was previously vacant, and was not even listed as being recruited for, is to allow compliance with state and federal mandates, to allow the transfer of employees from the general fund to non-general fund supported positions, and for positions critical to the operations of the county.

Regular county workers have to sacrifice, do more with less, and serve more customers (taxpayers) than can reasonably be served; while political appointees get jobs created for them when their bosses move on. If your going to start hiring people, how about hiring back a few more Social Workers, or Probation Officers, Sheriff’s Special Officers, or Welfare Fraud Investigators. The list goes on and on, you get the point.

But if there really is a need for a hiring freeze, then I wonder if there is a pill or something that we can get Tom Mauk to help him keep his freeze hard?