Sacramento County has given us yet another piece of evidence that certain elected officials and managers of California government entities have devolved into nothing more than their own personal existence justification system. Over the last three years we have repeatedly seen government managers go to extraordinary lengths to protect themselves and their friends.
On Wednesday, May 26, 2010, the Sacramento Bee reported that during 2009, the number of Sacramento County’s highest paid employees significantly increased. Yes, that’s right, increased. During the worst fiscal crisis in Sacramento County’s history the number of Sacramento County employees making over $100,000.00 a year in base salary increased. Remember, for the last three years Sacramento County has had budget deficets over $100 million.
Sacramento County officials were quick to defend themselves by saying that the salary increase were the result of collective bargaining agreements they have no control over. However, what is clear is Sacramento County leaders and most government officials do not want that control. They do not want to make hard decisions that are necessary in today’s economic climate. Government officials are quick to slap a band-aid on the severed artery by furloughing employees, laying off some of the lowest paid employees and attempting to freeze wage or benefit increases. Government leaders hold on from one pay period to the next, use smoke and mirrors to pay their bills, all while fending off difficult questions as to why they are making the decisions they make. Here is what drives them: Sacramento County officials and most government leaders first and foremost want to protect themselves and their closest allies and friends. In Sacramento County’s case that starts with supervisors and goes to the County Administrator’s office. They refuse to recognize the obvious solution which is significant parts of their governmental empires have to permanently go away. A massive restructuring of California government must occur so that these government entities can provide the basic, fundamental, and indispensable services they are required to provide.
I for one want more government workers on the streets doing the actual work and less bureaucrats thinking of ways to justify their existence. Some form of real leadership needs to arise arises in California state and local governments for it’s fiscal problems to be fixed.