Inyo Supervisors look to consultant to fix shortfall

This year, the Inyo Supervisors approved employee raises that will cost $1.8 million more next fiscal year and $4.5 million more the following year. Officials made these decisions with no revenue to back it up. Now, the Board of Supervisors looks to a consultant for answers.

County Administrator Kevin Carunchio found a consultant with a long history in local government management and a method to look for what he calls “creative budget solutions.” Carunchio introduced Dr. Frank Benest and said he would conduct workshops with department heads and other agencies on Wednesday. Carunchio pointed to the millions in budget shortfalls and said there will not be tax revenue increases to close the gap. He said, “This is the staggering face of reality.”

inyo_courthouse1.jpgCarunchio told the Board that Inyo County has long had a “structural deficit” and had balanced its budgets from money left over from the previous year. He called it a “manageable structural deficit.” Carunchio said when you add on the $1.8 million and $4.5 million shortfalls, “It’s insurmountable. The picture is not real pretty,” he said.

That’s when he introduced Frank Benest who spoke about “service re-design” to deal with budget problems. He advised the Board to “get out in front of service cutbacks. This can have terrible consequences.” He also said that “Cutting at the margins is not enough to forestall economic meltdown.”

Benest proceeded to explain that through collaborations and creative thinking, Inyo County and other agencies could “re-design services.” He said Inyo County has a lot of assets and needs to figure out how to leverage them with partners. Three members of the Bishop City Council attended the meeting. Councilman Dave Stottlemyre said Inyo County is not the only one with structural deficits. He said it’s happening nationwide, and the Bishop City Council now holds budget meetings every month. He said Bishop is willing to collaborate with Inyo County.

Benest said Inyo already has some creative ideas like the Jail Work-Release Program. He said through workshops with department heads and other organizations, officials will come up with service re-designs and final proposals for early May. Benest said the goal is to save $1.5 million next fiscal year and $3 million the following year.

The three Supervisors present – Arcularius, Kingsley and Griffiths – said they support the process. Privately, a number of County employees say they feel like officials are putting the budget shortfall off on rank and file workers’ cost of living increase while people at the top enjoy recent and large pay raises. The fear of lay-offs looms large at the Inyo Courthouse.

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Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
7 years ago

People with open eyes have vision. People with open hearts like you Ignacio envision.We need more of both in this world We need leaders with open eyes and open hearts
http://www.davidmixner.com/2013/12/art-amazing-tribute-to-nelson-mandela.html

mongo the idiot
mongo the idiot
7 years ago
Reply to  Philip Anaya

Thank you both! What a wonderful gift. I love clicking on the picture and seeing it full size! I have been longing for full size versions for months, most all the images of the week on SW are incredible. I think it would be great to have the image of… Read more »

mongo the idiot
mongo the idiot
7 years ago
Reply to  Philip Anaya

AWESOME LINK Philip!
Thanks!

ferdinand lopez
ferdinand lopez
7 years ago

off with their heads!

mongo the idiot
mongo the idiot
7 years ago

Ferdinand of Lopez, Give them raises and print more money! Produce nothing and import everything! Arrest more travelers and impose fines! Spare no expense for the Roman Revival shrine of our In-yo empire sits proudly in Independence, California! (oh my God! can you believe they built that there and now… Read more »

mongo the idiot
mongo the idiot
7 years ago

The real news is that you can click on “Image of the Week” to make it go full screen.
WOW!
That little picture of the frozen Aspen is pretty amazing full size.

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
7 years ago

Amazing Ignacio, How about a Hubble or a Gaia Space telescope to see all the planets around all those droplets. Amazing how long the effect remains decades after puttting down the bong

mongo the idiot
mongo the idiot
7 years ago
Reply to  Philip Anaya

I think image of the week should get posted in the side bar as well as in a thread so we can discus it. When I look at the image I see what you see PA. I think about all the microscopic life and geometric mineral trapped in that ice.… Read more »

Beautiful!
Beautiful!
7 years ago

Yea Mongo! Thank you for the tip on the picture! So beautiful! Brings to mind my newest favorite quote, “How much beauty can you handle?” And thank you for taking such a positive spin when going way off topic from the article. So refreshing. Love your idea about being able… Read more »

Richard
Richard
7 years ago

First of all, the words ‘creative’ and ‘budget’ don’t belong in the same sentence. The fact is the budget should be the least creative item of all within the county. Any ‘creative’ approach is either patently dishonest, or shifts current obligations into the future, both very poor choices. The CAO… Read more »

Citizen
Citizen
7 years ago

How irresponsible! So the people will lose services because of big raises. The people deserve to know who got those raises. And maybe the PEOPLE should be deciding what are priorities if the county administration is putting enrichment before public service.

Bob Loblaw
Bob Loblaw
7 years ago
Reply to  Citizen

Much as it pains me to rain on your parade Citizen, but less than 2 percent isn’t a “big raise”. In fact, if said employee makes $50,000 a year, that’s a raise of about $17 a week. While 4.5% is better, how long has it been since these employees had… Read more »

The Emperor
The Emperor
7 years ago
Reply to  Bob Loblaw

The COLA for the rank and file employees weren’t the “big raises”. Ask some questions Mr. Loblaw. I did. There were some employees that were “reclassed” and received 27% raises. Because those folks were already making top dollar , that equals a lot more that $17 per week. You’ll pay… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
7 years ago
Reply to  The Emperor

Sierra Wave has asked for more information on all of this. Stay tuned.
Benett Kessler

Free Consultant
Free Consultant
7 years ago

Don’t spend more than you take in.

Expenditures should not exceed revenue.

upthecreek
upthecreek
7 years ago

With the current public pension system and unfunded liabilities , it will never be fixed.

Govt gone WILD..
just keep spending money you will never have

Trouble
Trouble
7 years ago
Reply to  upthecreek

Taking away peoples pensions and medical benefits is not going to help anyone. God forbid the top 5% really pay taxes.

Sunoma Logathain
Sunoma Logathain
7 years ago

Where and when is that workshop? I would like to go. My tax dollars are helping to pay for Mr. Benest’s consulting services unless he is doing it for free.

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
7 years ago

I was told it’s at the fairgrounds. Confirmed – Talman Pavillion today.
BK

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
7 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

The fairgrounds are an appropriate place for a dog and pony show. Just saying ………….

Joe
Joe
7 years ago

Hey DT- you claim to live in Ridgecrest or Lancaster so why do you feel it necessary to put your plug into everything up here? Do you feel you are contributing something help to Inyo County citizens or simply exercising your 1st Amendment rights? Just curious because I find it… Read more »

Waxlips
Waxlips
7 years ago
Reply to  Joe

I was wondering the same thing.

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
7 years ago
Reply to  Joe

The Eastern Sierra extends south to Red Rock Canyon and this region is my home. I have rental properties south in the Antelope Valley and in the Bay Area. I am also involved in local government as a city council committee member and offer my opinions. I don’t expect everyone… Read more »

Sunoma Logathain
Sunoma Logathain
7 years ago

Why did anybody get big raises in the face of decreased tax revenues and projected budget shortfalls? None of this makes sense. Who is the budget officer and why wasn’t the fact of the budget shortfalls made public prior to enacting salary increases? Seems like a budget officer’s job is… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
7 years ago

This is a constant source of revulsion for me. We elect people to represent us and to solve problems, expecting them to be knowledgeable enough to do the job. But the reality appears to be that most of the people elected lack the intellect to solve problems and have to… Read more »

Watchdog
Watchdog
7 years ago

Then there are the Mono supervisors who recently reduced every department head’s salary but greedily failed to take a cut in their own generous part-time salaries.

Elected hypocrites
Elected hypocrites
7 years ago
Reply to  Watchdog

The Mono County Supervisors make almost $50,000 a year plus car allowance, etc. Not bad for a part-time position, don’t you think? The nerve of them to insist everyone but themselves is making too much money.

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
7 years ago

Watch Dog and Elected Hippos. Although you both clearly state Mono Supervisors I was confused for a time and was ill at the thought that Inyo Sups were the attention of your posts. Both Mono and Inyo Counties you might agree have a minute number of registered voters compared to… Read more »

86heard
86heard
7 years ago

4 of the 5 Supervisors are in their first term – 3 of them in their first year. Cut them some slack. If they need help, they should get help. Maybe it was a mess when they got there?

29th Minute
29th Minute
7 years ago
Reply to  86heard

Check out 29th minute of 17 December LADWP commissioners meeting. Camera pans for a few seconds to empty teleconference room in Bishop. Might be nice to have supervisors show their presence when Owens Lake contracts are on the agenda.
http://ladwp.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=2

Not hardly
Not hardly
7 years ago
Reply to  86heard

According to the article, this problem was caused recently by raises with no money to back it by this board. Finances aren’t their strong suit, obviously. They must be really good at other things.

Sunoma Logathain
Sunoma Logathain
7 years ago

I thought of an idea. Instead of feeling like we taxpayers are powerless to influence the county decision makers, why don’t we organize a group made up of citizens interested in good government? I don’t like feeling powerless. And we need to get the people in the southeastern corner of… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
7 years ago

That is absolutely true. Packing the chambers for supervisors meetings and a line of people waiting to comment on agenda items will get any elected body’s attention.

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
7 years ago

It seems we could use a few more bucks. True if you watch your nickels and dimes the dollars take care of themselves. I do not believe that Inyo County has dedicated Grant Writing office. Grants do provide dollars although they are limited and short term but every dollar helps.… Read more »