Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fee office tour, salaries, more mess

The good doctor and Commissioner Richard Briggs told me the other day that the move to bring the fee office budgets under the mayor and commission would be as big – if not bigger – than the proposal to enforce term-limits for some elected leaders.

Privately, I scoffed at the suggestion.

But, it's certainly picked up some steam since Monday when the commission initially talked about it. (I wrote about it here.)

A lot of local papers and bloggers have touched on it, looking at all the angles, the perspectives, the whatever.

Anyhoo, Commissioner Amy Broyles asked some of the fee officers – Criminal Court Clerk Joy McCroskey and Circuit Clerk Clerk Cathy Quist – if they'd give her a tour of the offices. (The two clerks noted to commissioners that they didn't know squat about how to run the departments, so they shouldn't be meddling with their budgetary affairs.)

The meeting was sun shined and Broyles was the only commissioner who made it. As McCroskey said: “No one has bothered to ever come up here and see what we do.”

Broyles asked McCroskey to “show me what you think I need to know about how you run things and what the differences would be be if we changed (the budgetary process).”

I give credit to Broyles for attending. Other than that, it was pretty boring.

It's like, uh, well, here's the pretty office. There's the fax machine, there's a zillion old, yellow files (guess they haven't heard of electronic systems), there's a person clicking away on the computer, there's a nice room with a view, there's a stapler and there's a telephone.

Fascinating stuff.

I took off after 10 minutes, wading through some potential jurors in the hallway, listening to them talk about an upcoming criminal trial that they probably shouldn't have been discussing.

But I digress.

I'm rambling. I know.

I also recently asked the county bean counters to run me some numbers I wanted to know how much the fee offices requested in their recent salary suits and what the current salaries are. I also wanted to know about vacancies.

I got some back. Not everything. There's six fee offices. They listed five, but one was blank. Heh. What's up with that?

Anyway, for the number nerds:

  • County Clerk: Filed a $3.65 million salary suit and has $2.83 million on the books with four vacancies.
  • Trustee: Filed a $2.22 million suit and has $1.93 million on the books with four vacancies.
  • Criminal Court Clerk: Filed a $6.36 million salary suit and has $2.98 million on the books with 11 vacancies.
  • Register of Deeds: Filed for $1.58 and has $1.11 on the books and six vacancies.

The commission is set to vote on this Monday. I think they will. This will probably be the rare occasion where officials don't form one of those silly sub-committees that never gets anything done. (Or at least makes recommendations that never get approved.) They want to fast-track this bad boy. Why give opponents a chance to rally?

Still, that's not going to stop folks from trying.

This Saturday, the county's GOP party will apparently talk about a resolution opposing the issue, according to Brian Hornback. Click here for more. He's also got some other stuff about about the fee office debate.

There's also a post over here at the site run by my favorite hippie.

Joe Sullivan has a piece here.

And I blogged the other day about it here.

If I left anyone out, it wasn't intentional.

I've got to run. There's someone in the county Deathstar ducking me. And if they don't think I won't sit outside their office all day and haunt the staff, then they're really not paying attention. Which wouldn't surprise me.


Anonymous said...

R. Neal is a hippie????

Anonymous said...

They don't have "electronic systems" because the county won't provide the money. And by the way, the fee offices have always submitted budgets to be approved by the county and the commission does and has always voted on them. In fact, they are currently having budget meetings with the Mayor's office. The "salary suits" are just that...only about salaries, not office budgets! This whole issue is that the offices are allowed to hold back a couple of months of salaries to ensure they have enough money to pay employees, and Rice wants that money in the general fund in order to show that their budget balances. Nothing more.

Mike Donila said...

LOL, I'm just having fun with R. Neal.
Same with electronic systems.

Anonymous said...

Is R. Neal a hippie? Does he allow anyone to comment on his website that disagrees with him?


Then he is a hippie. That is what hippies do.