SANTA ANA — Almost two months after the County of Orange Performance Auditor Steve Danley issued his scathing report on the failure of the County Human Resources Department to follow policies and procedures governing management pay and benefits, the Board committee tasked with responding to the report comes back today with a few recommendations. Supervisors Shawn Nelson and Patricia Bates have landed squarely on the side Danley, and disappointment is hardly sufficient to describe the results of their response.
The lack of a coherent Human Resources Department strategy for current HR Systems and practices has inadvertently contributed to a “salary arms race.”
Despite CEO Tom Mauk’s strident defense of the extraordinary raises granted to senior managers without adequate justification the committee validated each of the 50 audit findings. The committee recommends that the Board, in addition to establishing procedures and processes to prevent future problems, place the salary and benefits granted to senior managers as identified in the performance audit on probationary status, requiring justification in 45 days. If that justification is found to be insufficient by the Board, then the promotions and the associated salary and benefit increases may be reversed by the Board. In addition, there are some increases in benefits that are so far outside of policy, that the committee has taken the position that they need to be reversed regardless of suggested justification.
It will be interesting to see if Nelson and Bates are able to get an additional member to support all of their recommendations. Unfortunately, what is missing from the report are any real consequences for the executives, including CEO Mauk, who are responsible for this major lack of oversight and failure of leadership. Absent real consequences for those responsible, this is just one more time that Executive Management gets away with raiding the cookie jar, with little more than a slap on the hand.