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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Dust devil
Dust devil
7 years ago

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!!!… Read more »

Rob
Rob
7 years ago

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… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
7 years ago

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.

Frank Linson
Frank Linson
7 years ago

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.… Read more »

This is just the beginning
This is just the beginning
7 years ago

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… Read more »

Econ 101
Econ 101
7 years ago

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… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
7 years ago
Reply to  Econ 101

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…

Obvious
Obvious
7 years ago

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… Read more »

Smart Guy
Smart Guy
7 years ago

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… Read more »

Rob
Rob
7 years ago

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.

Rob
Rob
7 years ago

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… Read more »

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
7 years ago

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… Read more »

DustDevil
DustDevil
7 years ago

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… Read more »

Beyond-Words
Beyond-Words
7 years ago

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… Read more »

p ite
p ite
7 years ago

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,… Read more »

outlandish
outlandish
7 years ago

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?… Read more »

Waxlips
Waxlips
7 years ago

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… Read more »

Waxlips
Waxlips
7 years ago

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…

concerned citizen
concerned citizen
7 years ago

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… Read more »

Logathaine
Logathaine
7 years ago

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… Read more »

Agreed
Agreed
7 years ago
Reply to  Logathaine

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… Read more »