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POSITIONS

RESTORE FISCAL STABILITY

As your Supervisor, I pledge to take the same pay cut as county employees and will encourage others to do the same.

The County faces a shortfall of $8 million over the next 18 months. That’s the biggest fiscal challenge the county has ever faced. But it’s worth noting we are not alone. The federal government is $14 trillion (!) in the red. The state faces a $40 billion budget deficit. Even Sonoma County -- our well-heeled neighbor to the south – is being forced to make more than $30 million in cuts over the next year and half.

County government is going to have to downsize. This may not be a good thing, but it is a necessary thing. It is the responsibility of the Board of Supervisors to prioritize spending. It doesn’t make sense to implement sweeping, across-the-board freezes that don’t take into account the way the County is funded.  Also, the Board of Supervisors must look critically at the functioning of the CEO office. The Board is not receiving adequate and timely information regarding the challenges facing the County budget.

Simply put the Board of Supervisor has made promises it can’t keep. We’ve already seen this with respect to retiree health care, with the Board soon to be reneging on a commitment to fund this benefit for those employed before 1998.

The Board also made some overly generous commitments to law enforcement in 2004 – including early retirement, pension benefits and, particularly, retroactive payments. Despite good intentions, these were ill-advised.

Over the past 10 years, Mendocino County has gone from being one of the most fiscally stable counties in the state to being just another of the state’s beleaguered local governments. We can and must do better.