The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors have been meeting, discussing, playing poker, and deciding on how to jam 20 gallons of spending into a 10-gallon hat for weeks now. This week, those “discussions” went into overdrive and decisions started to be made on Wednesday, September 9 as to how to spend more than they have.
There are two good Press Democrat articles depicting the maneuvering-the first is from Tuesday’s meeting and can be found here
The Board of Supervisors is not scheduled to determine how to spend the once in a lifetime $149 million PG & E settlement dollars from the 2017 and 2019 fires. And yet, on Wednesday, they decided to preempt the PG & E spending discussion and dip into that tempting $149 million pile of “found money”. Here is the Press Democrat article from Thursday morning regarding the decisions made at the Wednesday BOS meeting: Click here
Look-I am never in favor of promoting layoffs. However, we are in the middle of a freaking pandemic. Certainly most of our firms have suffered either layoffs, cuts to take home pay, or postponing equipment fleet updates or other major outlays of cash since Covid-19 threw our world into an upside down/inside out new reality. Yet here is the biggest employer in the County, bragging about avoiding any layoffs.
Excuse the hell out of me, but I would have thought the PG & E money might have been put to better use in strengthening our fire avoidance system by smart and logical vegetation management, some new equipment that could mobilize swiftly to contain lightning strikes or faulty electrical transmission lines, or burying some transmission lines in the highest risk areas. Silly me. Certainly the damage caused by the fires, estimated at $50 million, will be taken care of next month when they decide how to spend the rest of the $149 million (now less $26 million to help keep layoffs from happening).
Let me ask you-even in the most efficient times you can remember, when everyone of your co workers were operating at full throttle and there did not seem to be any wasted motions in your company, even then, I bet you could have found 2-5% of the workforce could have been laid off and others pick up the slack. 5% layoff of County workforce would be around 210 workers. The County could outsource that work, could lay it off onto other workers, or just not address some of the less “right now” work in order to cut some staff.
But here we are, opening the PD and seeing happy results that the County was able to avoid laying off ANYBODY. This being done by tapping the one-time windfall money and recognizing that there is a $30 million annual shortfall going forward. Huh?
Winners? The 210 County workers that probably should have been cut.
Losers? Go look in the mirror.
That’s All Folks!