Did the airing by the OC political blogs of the rumors and the smarmy politics that bubbled up from the need to ensure that Chris Norby and Bruce Whitaker continued to have public sector paychecks finally force County government to open the Clerk-Recorder, Public Administrator and Auditor-Controller positions for public applications? We hope so, as the MSM hasn’t exactly been on top of a growing controversy.
Unless the Board takes a big, creative step toward re-statusing these elected administrative positions as we suggested yesterday, opening these positions to anyone qualified and NOT making Chicago-style patronage appointments is the right thing to do. Still, there seems no great rush to fill these jobs as the respective Departments are not in chaos due to a current lack of leadership — lacking a political boss with a different long-term agenda might even mean they’re running better (and cheaper). Some research and deliberation might be in order.
Shouldn’t, at least, the County Counsel weigh in on changing the legal status of these positions and causing them to be appointed? Maybe some local academicians like Fred Smoller and Mark Petracca could contribute an opinion? There should be some value in reducing the political footprint at this rather ordinary administrative level of the bureaucracy.
12/8 UPDATE: BOS Chairman John Moorlach just emailed this via his Moorlach Update newsletter:
At Tuesday’s Board meeting, we voted to approve the recruitment process for three vacant countywide elected positions. The County Auditor-Controller (A-C) and Clerk-Recorder (C-R) departments are being managed competently by the assistants that were in place before the resignations of the incumbents. Lucille Lyon is serving the County well as the interim Public Administrator (PA). Supervisor Campbell and I have been working on the A-C and PA positions. We had negotiated a satisfactory compromise with Jan Grimes for the A-C position, which was to have been voted on next Tuesday. Supervisor Campbell and I have also been meeting with other countywide electeds, specifically the Treasurer and the Sheriff, on the possibility of merging the PA into their offices. Providing these two outstanding leaders with more responsibilities, while their current obligations are demanding enough, is a difficult sell. Thirty C-R departments are merged with their County Assessor departments in the state of California. This structure should be analyzed and considered for the OC, but a similar conclusion may also be reached. We’re also well along on the CEO and Performance Audit Director recruitments. I would like to reiterate that Supervisor Campbell and I have been very pleased with the jobs performed by our interim A-C and PA. But, we are a team and I appreciate the need for a formal process.