Inyo Supervisors try to decide how to cut Library and Museum services

inyosupervisorsAt the start of the Inyo Supervisors meeting Tuesday, the County Administrator clearly did not want the directors of Library or Museum services to speak personally about all of the proposed ways to cut and change their departments. However, they did speak when asked by the Board. Later in the meeting, Administrator Kevin Carunchio recommended that the Supervisors support combining Libraries and the Museum with just one director.

Deputy Administrator Pam Hennarty took charge of the discussion. She said it felt like the public discussion on this issue was “from Fox News or MSNBC.” Hennarty said, “This is not about closing the libraries or large impacts.” She said it’s about changing hours of operation. Hennarty said Library Director Nancy Masters had proposed two plans. One would increase expenses and the other would create zero savings. Masters had reasoned her employees suffered a surprise 27% cut a year or so ago and she wanted to make up for that.

What Hennarty called Service Redesign Option 1 would save $6600 and make some personnel changes including combining library and museum workers. Option 2 would use people in different ways and close the museum two days per week and the library additionally on Monday. This plan would save $87,000. Option 3, which most of the Supervisors supported, would include the same closures but with different employee choices and save $47,000. Option 4 would combine the two departments and hire one director. Facility hour closures would be the same as other options and would save $147,000.

Library Director Masters described a two-year process of big pay cuts, going to temporary workers, and dealing with vacancies. She called it “an extremely difficult time.” She pointed to the Library’s support of education, students, adults.

Supervisor Linda Arcularius said the Supervisors are not getting “favorable attention” for raises they gave earlier. The fact is, they didn’t have the money to pay for so-called equity raises and general cost of living raises. This put the County budget into a $2 million deficit. All the “Service Redesign” has been called a euphemism for cuts and layoffs to make up that shortfall.

Members of the public spoke out in support of the Library and the Museum. Rich White of the Friends of the Museum said he felt it was important to keep the Museum open 7 days a week. As a former motel owner in town, White said visitors like access to the Museum all week long. Dave Wagner said the former Library-Museum Director Bill Michaels commented when he left that the combined job of director over two departments was a factor in his departure.

Museum Director Jon Klusmire was asked by Supervisor Jeff Griffiths about sharing staff. Klusmire said realistically there is some potential but not to the extent presented. He said closure a couple of days could mean a loss of revenue. He pointed to many projects underway at the museum and the small staff there, plus his considerable work on County promotions. Klusmire said it was “disconcerting to have the museum upended because of Library problems.”

Then County Administrator Carunchio dropped the bombshell that he recommended Option 4 for maximum savings. Some in the audience gasped since Option 4 would mean the loss of the current Directors and hiring of a combined director. The Supervisors did not leap to agreement with that. Although Linda Arcularius did say Option 3 had benefits but she would go with Option 4 and “see what it looks like in detail. We need the impacts identified,” she said.

Supervisor Matt Kingsley went with Option 2 or 3. Supervisor Griffiths said Option 3 “is the best of not great choices.” Supervisor Rick Pucci said he was trending toward Option 3. He also said, “If 3 does not work, I would go to 4 or 2 or Ms. Master’s Road Map.” Supervisor Mark Tillemans said he would go for Option 3. Administrator Carunchio said the staff will return with information for the Board’s “necessary actions.” He said that to maximize this, he would need cooperation.

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21 Responses to Inyo Supervisors try to decide how to cut Library and Museum services

  1. Dust devil June 20, 2014 at 6:41 am #

    Good Point Frank Linson!! Common Core is going to create a lot of struggling students anyways, leaving many kids behind. So much for “no child left behind” . Those children will grow up idiots, maybe some becoming government officials. Now there is something to look forward too: Dumb and Dumber!!! Oh wait……..we have that now, federally, statewide, and within Inyo County. You have a bunch of fat heads sitting at the top of the ladder, waiting to crap on everyone below them. Oh wait……..they already are!! Museums and Libraries are valuable resources for our schools, visitors, and local residents. The Eastern Sierra Museum is one of the best I have been too, that’s because of the dedicated staff that organize special events and displays. The County Fat Heads should appreciate what we have here and what’s been created on a limited budget already. That’s only as a result of the “thinkers and Do’ers”!! But as the ol saying goes ” rob Peter to pay Paul” in Inyo County it’s rob resources and line staff to pay BOS and Department Heads, Personnel supervisors, Risk Managers, and who ever else is willing to “suck up”

  2. Rob June 20, 2014 at 1:07 am #

    Smart Guy, you are right, but the CAO is the one who shapes the agenda and presents options. Few Supervisors are willing to do the work to craft alternate proposals, and “smart like a fox” administrators know how to stall, object and cajole the electeds outside public view. I have served on a body overseeing powerful, entrenched staff, and they will make life hell for the electeds/appointeds who fight them. They will play scheduling and agenda games, withhold information, and work the Brown Act against you like true pros. They play the board members off each other and even file complaints for workplace harassment if you get too insistent and don’t cooperate.

    I would bet Kevin is driving this agenda.

    The CAO needs to go, as he is the one protecting his chosen ones at the public’s expense.

    The Board is weak and stupid for letting Kevin get away with this crap. Ultimately they are responsible, but who honestly believes any of them will roll up their sleeves or fight the status quo?

  3. Ken Warner June 19, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

    Half the time the people here are complaining about big intrusive government — the other half of the time the people here are complaining that government is not doing enough.

    I’ve mostly stopped taking all those kinds of comments seriously.

  4. Frank Linson June 19, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

    Wow! Well, Common Core is coming to a school near your child, they won’t need a library, the book list needed is not allowed in a library anyway. And cursive won’t be taught so they won’t be reading old written texts from radicals like the founding fathers or historical documents. We need more government like we need this government. NOT AT ALL! So history? Bet that goes out the window too. No need for museums.

  5. This is just the beginning June 19, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

    Library and Museum are just the beginning of cuts to the service of our community that this “service redesign” is trying to implement. Every department that is “ok” is being financially drained in order to pay for the raises of the higher up admin (not the hardworking people at the bottom). You will see in the near future Kevin to give proposals similar to this to the board for every department. These services being cut have a drastic impact on the lives of all in our community. FOR ALL THOSE BENEFITING (Kevin and the department heads): How many people’s lives are you willing to hurt in order to fatten your wallet? Your last raise was more than the majority make in a month. How many county employees will lose their jobs, their way of providing for their children, to provide you with a more luxurious life! How many tax paying citizens of this community will lose services they expect and need in order to give you an easier life?

    • Econ 101 June 20, 2014 at 5:29 am #

      Until more of the world’s wealthy vacationers decide to come to The Sierra to relax, recreate, and spend their money, or Hollywood puts up major studios, or somebody strikes gold … it’s “Welcome to the beginning of Great Depression II.”

      Ironically, in nearby places such as the (very liberal) Bay Area and Silicon Valley … it’s “What Recession?”

      Brace yourself for more: Every Man for Himself in the economically disadvantaged Sierra.

      • Ken Warner June 20, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

        Econ 101: Why would rich people come here? To ride scateboards down 203? Camp in Motorhomes? Drink in bars with a bunch of stupid drunks? Shop at Vons?

        Rusty’s dream aint never gonna happen. There’s already an Aspen…

  6. Obvious June 19, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Thank you “Smart Guy” for pointing out the obvious. I read that Kevin’s evaluation was on the agenda the last meeting. Of course because it is a personnel matter, it all happens in closed session. However, his contract with the County is public information. Has anybody seen that contract? Does anybody know if he negotiated another raise for himself in this latest round of evaluations? Shame on the Board if that happened. That would definitely add insult to injury.
    I also read somewhere that one of the candidates being considered for the City of Bishop administrator is a local. Heaven help Bishop if it is Pam or Kevin.

  7. Smart Guy June 19, 2014 at 9:07 am #

    Kevin Carunchio is dumb like a fox. Consider that the CAO’s first job is to insulate the elected board of supervisors from public outrage. Job Accomplished. No one commenting here is stating the obvious fact that the duly elected board of supervisors approved the raises and are approving reducing services to make up a $2 million deficit this coming fiscal year and $5 million the following year. As long as he keeps the focus on himself, not the elected supervisors, they will keep him around because he’s their shield. Duh. He’s made everyone on this thread look sort of foolish, because the negative comments and outrage are not directed at the elected officials who make the final decisions.

  8. Rob June 19, 2014 at 12:45 am #

    You do not cut public services in order to give raises to public employees. If the CAO doesn’t understand that basic principle, he needs to find work elsewhere.

  9. Rob June 19, 2014 at 12:33 am #

    A community ceases being a true community when essential public services are cut in order to pay for higher public salaries and benefits.

    The savings being discussed are minimal when compared with the corresponding ravaging of services. What makes it even more offensive is that the proposed savings are literally a drop in the bucket in comparison to the amounts spent on raises.

    Libraries and museums are just as important as public safety, they serve, protect and enrich the community in many ways. If you strip a county down to highly paid utility and public safety personnel with no cultural services, you are left with an obscene revenue generating machine that views the public as nothing more than another revenue source.

    Inyo County is isolated from cultural centers and needs to prioritize the preservation and protection of its cultural and educational heritage.

  10. Philip Anaya June 18, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

    Sorry Kevin,
    Have to say that the best CAO’s are not handing off hard impossible decisions to their Boards. The best CAO’s provide a Board with options that do not elicit constituent responses that articulate reasonable and logical dissatisfaction with your CAO options . The best CAO’s discuss and resolve with Department Heads a budgetary plan and do not leave it to the Board to hire/fire dedicated and impossible to replace folks who by the way I personally admire, know and respect. The best CAO’s find the dollars to fund their previous recommendations that have budgetary implications and do not scape coat individuals,departments or services as the cause for the “service redesign”. I would like to see attention paid to finding revenues ,grants and Pam H. seems to have the strength and the expertise to find beneficial dollars to fund the already basic minimal services the Library, the Eastern California Museum ,the staff ,the department heads and the programs provide. Thank goodness to Metabolic Studios, Friends of the Museum for the enhancements that they provide.
    The best thing about the Supes actions is that they have not decided yet what to do. Maybe an across the board reduction in every department ,sorry, on every paycheck maybe 1,2,3 4% and let our Department Heads manage their Departments with a Budget is a better approach than dumping any employee. The “Service Redesign” approach has had some positive effects and savings but we the people need more service for less dollars all the time (todas al tiempo)
    We should always temper our anger and apply energy to solutions for every outrage. The problem of not enough revenue needs a solution other than diminished Library Hours and Museum access especially these days . Bust it out Kevin, create a Grant Program for Inyo County . Have Pam shed the hatchet and pick up a abacus and show us some surplus funds so that our Supes get to make some appropriate beneficial decisions. Encourage ,support individual Departments to seek funding and enhancements and lets invest into the future of balanced and fully funded programs of basic Inyo County Services. That’s what the best CAO’s are striving to do. We have a wonderful community that contributes, pulls the wagon,(ie contributes and funds a new animal shelter).
    Time to consider the supply side and lend an ear to what these Sierra Wave contributors are saying.

  11. DustDevil June 18, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

    This county is in quite a mess. How can an administrator approve raises for many County employees, knowing there is going to be a budget downfall. A mis-managing County Administrator does this!! Feathers his own nest and the nest of his “gluteus maximus” kissers (aka: Department heads) at the cost of tax-payers and WORKING County employees. Kevin Carunchio and his minions are a disgrace.

  12. Beyond-Words June 18, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    The first thing a dictator does to completely take control of the masses is to take control of public access to education. Between Dictator Carunchio and his hand-picked and controllable side-kick Pam Hennarty, the Board has been totally manipulated with half truths or flat out lies. Dictator Carunchio has progressively spiraled out of control; he’s volatile, retaliatory, and desperately lacking in ethics. When will this Board take control of this man? Or fire him? Honestly. It. Is. An. Embarrassment. Oh, and dare I say a liability? I mean attempting to suppress someone’s right to speak in a public meeting?! Shocking.

  13. p ite June 18, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    there is no foward thinking in the leadership of this county, if this drought situation continues we wont have a tax base , i say we need a recall, for all current county supervisers, take back the raises, stop all unnecessary spending,including any thought of a new courthouse in bishop, and get a new county administrator, and if any county employee is unhappy then let them try the private sector. recall recall recall.

  14. outlandish June 18, 2014 at 9:25 am #

    It is not just the equity adjustments that have gotten the county into this mess…it is the raises for department heads (such as the Probation Chief) that have really caused most of the issues.

    Why is the CAO looking at the budget issues and making all departments take similar hits?

    Currently the Probation Department has approx 20 juvenilles on probation and 3 Probation officers to cover them. Although one of the Probation officers is leaving at the end of the month, the Department is attempting to put a Probation officer in the Juvenile Hall and one at the Jail. Why? Can two PO’s not handle 10 kids each?

    In addition, why did Inyo County make an agreement with the Superintendents of Schools office to remodel and upgrade the Bishop Library, only to cut the hours of operation a few months later?

    None of this makes any sense to me

  15. Waxlips June 18, 2014 at 8:57 am #

    1.8 million in raises After Inyo County Administrator Kevin Carunchio recently underlined the news that pay raises for all classes of employees will cost the County $1.8 million more next fiscal year and more than double that the following year while the City of Bishop and others look for government savings. Just sayn…

  16. Waxlips June 18, 2014 at 8:38 am #

    What a shame, take away the museum, take away the library, take away seniors food, so some people could have a fatter paycheck. Just sayn…

  17. concerned citizen June 18, 2014 at 5:47 am #

    Thank you once again to the Board of Supervisors for listening to your constituents including the Library and Museum Directors. The CAO’s attempts to limit the Library Director’s ability to speak to this issue, both in her professional capacity and as a citizen, appeared to be a violation of the First Amendment’s protection of speech. Freedom of speech is essential for a self-governing society. It enables people to obtain information from a diversity of sources and helps our government officials make informed decisions. It was a sad day in Inyo County government to see such blatant disregard for the principles of democracy from the County Administrator.

  18. Logathaine June 17, 2014 at 10:04 pm #

    It might be time to impeach the CAO. The fact that this CAO did not scream at the top of his lungs about what disastrous effects the raises and “equity” adjustments (including “equity” increases for several of the already highly paid people in his own department) would have on the services for the tax paying citizens of this county indicates a serious lack of ability to use simple math and do any kind of forecasting.
    I am curious if any of the Library staff received any equity adjustments at all and how long has it been? I believe Ms, Masters said some of the library positions are now the lowest paid in the entire county. What a shame that Inyo County is in this mess. Go find your savings somewhere else and fully fund and staff the Library and Museum.
    What a misnomer “service redesign” is. It now means there are less services for the tax paying citizens and more pay for the already highly paid Inyo County “managers”. I wonder how many of them have a library card.

    • Agreed June 18, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

      Kevin has been on a power-trip since the last change of board members, and there’s not a leader among them who will stop him. I cringe at the thought of Linda leaving. And now Pam is criticizing how the public discusses the Public’s Business – excuse me? She is a public servant, not master. Why shouldn’t the department heads of the affected departments speak? I wonder which of them has displeased King Crunch -we’ll find out in the layoffs.


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