Open Letter To County Council On Proposed Budget

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Dear Councilors:

Over the past 4 years, I’ve written to you and made presentations in preparation for the budget hearings.  I gave you documentation on various issues, and I’m following up on them once again.

One of the issues I brought up was the decrease in front-line workers ( -45 in the last 5 years), while middle management was increasing.  The consequence of this became clear this year when LAC was caught in the snow emergency. The lack of available personnel was painfully obvious.  Council can’t shirk the responsibility and blame you and the county’s upper management share for this.

The management issue continues.  In the last 5 years, 2 Assistant County Manager positions were created, although one has now been renamed.  Also during that time, about a dozen “Management Analyst” positions were created. A public records request of the work done by these folks showed only 2 (in Utilities) were regularly doing any actual analyses; it seems the rest were merely another covert layer of managers.

Our Information Management division, already much bigger, in both numbers and percentage than any other comparable city or county, rather than being reduced, is staying as is.  The county needs to winnow it down by at least half and use contractors as needed, especially now that the new enterprise software is in place.

The RCLC debacle gave the county quite a black eye.  Its cost was over $100,000 last summer, the cost has grown, and it continues to make headlines. It was caused by hubris and incompetence in the higher echelons, and no one has been held accountable for it.  Those involved should get no pay increases this year.

Lastly, stop robbing from Utilities!  Transferring out their earnings to the rest of the county is unethical.  Doing this is a covert way of raising taxes, and causes Utilities to raise their rates.  Leave these funds for re-investment in utilities public works.

Your job as Councilors is to make the county use taxpayers’ hard-earned money as efficiently and transparently as possible.  You should not rubber-stamp everything presented by the county management, but to question everything and take corrective measures.  Don’t let the citizen/taxpayers down again.

Jose Carreño, MBA
Los Alamos