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Who needs a CAO? Apparently not Plumas County

Debra Moore
Staff Writer
2/27/2014
 

Supervisor Jon Kennedy was so impressed with what Facilities Director Dony Sawchuk had to say about the lack of a county administrative officer (CAO) that he asked him to repeat it.

“The operating relationship between the department heads and the supervisors is functioning very well due to the cooperative effort of all,” said Sawchuk, speaking as chairman of the county’s management council.

Such was the consensus of the 20 department heads and elected officials who attended the last council meeting.

Sawchuk addressed the topic during the supervisors’ Feb. 18 meeting.

“The current management structure has been successful,” he said, noting that it succeeded even during difficult economic times.

The supervisors have been operating without a county administrative officer since April 2012, when the board terminated its contract with Jack Ingstad.

During a Feb. 21 interview, Kennedy credited the county counsel, clerk to the board, his fellow supervisors and the department heads for picking up the slack.

“A CAO has two main duties — to handle the budget and to handle day-to-day business,” Kennedy said.

With regard to the budget, Kennedy praised the work of budget consultant Susan Scarlett for providing neutral guidance and presenting a clear and concise budget picture.

As for the day-to-day work, “It’s been a collective team effort,” Kennedy said, “and even though it’s been a hard time, it’s been good for the county.”

Sawchuk also reported on other council discussions including orientation packets for new department heads, procedures to follow when hiring new employees, and drug testing.

Design checkers

Johnny Mansell and Scott Satterlee are the newest members of the Quincy Design Review Committee.

Supervisor Lori Simpson nominated the pair to bring the committee to full membership because of upcoming work on the Pizza Factory site and other projects. Mansell is a Realtor and Satterlee owns a restaurant in East Quincy.

The committee reviews projects to ensure that they meet guidelines for structural details, color, signage, landscape and more through the Quincy corridor.

 

It’s a deal

In exchange for using county property to install Internet transmission lines, Digital Path is providing all maintenance and improvements on the airport’s beacon tower in Quincy, as well as providing a free Internet connection and service to one county building. The public benefits by receiving improved online access.

 

An even bigger deal

The Plumas County Sheriff’s Office struck a deal of its own with Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications.

Plumas-Sierra needs some of the sheriff’s transmission capabilities and the sheriff, in turn, will receive fiber optic connections at its Quincy office, the jail and the Portola substation with no reoccurring cost or maintenance fee. Plumas-Sierra will also provide a link to the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office.

“This agreement has been a very long time in coming,” Sheriff Greg Hagwood said.

But he’s pleased with the result, deeming it a “win-win situation.”

“This will greatly expand and improve the communication that we have,” Hagwood said.

Bob Marshall, the general manager of Plumas-Sierra, said that the arrangement saved the company the cost of investing in expensive equipment. “It fixed the problem from Claremont (in Quincy) to Beckwourth,” Marshall said during an interview when he learned that the supervisors had approved the agreement. “It’s a fine deal,” he said.

Hagwood said that the deal has put the county “on the leading edge of what has been theoretical” to this point.

“We are on the verge of doing something that no one else in the state can do,” Hagwood added, and in a later conversation said that he would be able to discuss those details in the near future.

Hagwood noted that in this case Plumas County’s small size and unique relationships allowed this arrangement to occur.


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