After five months of research and evaluation an Orange County Board of Supervisor’s Subcommittee of Supervisors Pat Bates and Shawn Nelson have wrapped up their work responding to the damning revelations of the Human Resources Department performance audit earlier this year. The recommendations included in the report being considered today by the full board, follow up on the remaining business from their first report on August 9, 2011.
The Subcommittee has found that the Executive Manager promotions and multiple raises implemented at CEO Tom Mauk’s discretion lacked the appropriate justification. The Subcommittee report recommends that the board rescind a number of increases, reverse several promotions to Executive Manager, and in some cases leave the current incumbents at the Executive Manager level until their positions are vacated and then revert the positions to the lower Administrative Manager III classification.
From the report:
“… in the view of the Subcommittee, there is insufficient justification for the reclassification and/or discretionary increases in compensation. The Subcommittee has also determined that the original approval of these reclassification’s and salary increases violated County policy and runs contrary to the sound fiscal stewardship that is incumbent on the BOS.”
Supervisors Bates and Nelson recommend that Assistant CEO Rob Richardson be demoted back to the Administrative Manager III level resulting in an 11.2% drop in compensation. They recommend that the 13.1 percent unjustified raise Deputy CEO for Infrastructure Alisa Drakodaidis received be reversed. If Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante was still employed as OC Public Works Administrative Services Director, he would have suffered the same fate as Richardson. The Subcommittee recommends reclassification of that position back to the Administrative Manager III level as well.
The report and recommendations if adopted by the Board of Supervisors today represents a positive step in the right direction. It shows that the wild west days of unjustified promotions and raises for senior managers in the county is at an end. The next positive step would be for the Board to freeze the filling of all Executive Management positions in the future without a comprehensive review of the justification for the position level. With more than 100 Executive Managers on the payroll, it appears that there may be some more fat that can be skimmed from the top. In such tough economic times, a 3% 401(a) contribution plan on top of pension benefits and $795 a month car allowances seem to be a bit excessive and unnecessary. Why can’t these managers submit mileage reimbursements like everybody else? Most of the time they sit in their offices anyway.
Good first steps, but more needs to come.