County consolidates departments
December 9, 2003
PLACERVILLE – El Dorado County will not have a registrar of voters come January.
That’s when Michele Mac Intyre, registrar and head of the elections department, retires and her staff will join the recorder-clerk’s office. Her job will be eliminated to save $90,000 a year. Right now it is the only position in elections to be cut.
The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors approved the change Tuesday, making it the first action the county has taken to reorganize services to address an anticipated budget deficit that could exceed $13 million for fiscal year 2004-05, which begins July 1.
El Dorado County had a $285 million budget for the 2003-04 fiscal year.
Laura Gill, chief administrative officer, is leading the reorganization process. She said 27 out of 58 counties in California already operate their elections department within the recorder-clerk’s office.
More budget problems may loom for this year’s fiscal budget, Gill warned. An additional $4.6 million from its 2003-04 budget may have to be cut because of Vehicle License Fee funding, which has not been settled by the Legislature.
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“We’ve got to start doing some very bold things very quickly. We’ve got a big hole to fill,” Gill said.
As part of Gill’s proposed reorganization, supervisors also approved a move that would put her in charge of three departments: human resources, information technology, and purchasing and contracts.
Gill said that change wouldn’t necessarily save money, but it would make things run more smoothly. In all, her reorganization plan would consolidate 14 departments into six, cut as many as 29 jobs and save the county nearly $2 million a year.
Gill emphasized her plan is subject to change. The difficult decisions will be made between now and Jan. 26, the date of a county workshop on the budget. Gill said she plans to spend a lot of time talking with department heads and community members between now and then.
“There may be some components that don’t work,” said Gill, who aims to have the reorganization complete by April. “We need to look at them and bring them back if need be. Basically what I’m saying is that nothing would be set in stone.”
Complicating matters further is that the county and the a labor union that represents 55 percent of the county’s workforce are deadlocked in contract negotiations.
El Dorado County veterans showed up in force to contest Gill’s plan to combine the veterans services department with the social and community service departments. About 50 veterans spoke against the plan.
“That’s a direct slap in the face to the honor and integrity of every veteran in this country,” said Leo De Los Rios, 77, who served in the Navy in three wars. “That would put the veterans in the welfare department. How the hell do you expect to service the veterans?”
After listening to De Los Rios and others, supervisors voted to let the department continue to remain independent.
– Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at email@example.com