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Others assume CAO duties

Debra Moore
Staff Writer
11/14/2012

 Plumas County doesn’t have a county administrative officer, but somebody still has to do the work.  

The Board of Supervisors took steps to divvy up some of the CAO’s duties during its Nov. 6 meeting.  

 While the entire board had already taken over some tasks — such as conducting budget workshops — it’s untenable for the supervisors to act as a body in handling every job assigned to the CAO.  

The supervisors transferred the CAO’s responsibilities of risk management and safety officer to the county auditor permanently, and the duties of purchasing agent to the board chairman temporarily. 

The latter decision capped a lengthy discussion about how the county should proceed with both purchasing and the CAO position. 

Regular board observer Larry Douglas told the supervisors that he was concerned about their decision to eliminate the CAO position, which he saw as “creating more chaos.”   

“This may just be temporary,” Board Chairman Robert Meacher said.  

Supervisor Sherrie Thrall said that the board didn’t eliminate the CAO position, but refrained from filling it because of budget constraints.  

“I kinda like how it is,” Supervisor Jon Kennedy said. 

He went on to tell Douglas, “We allocated our money for what we think are better priorities and we are right.” 

But now somebody has to sign the checks. Meacher has been performing that function, but by the county’s own ordinances, the practice is questionable since it is a duty assigned to the CAO. 

“We haven’t had a challenge and I’ve been doing it since March,” he said. 

Kennedy suggested that each department head be authorized to approve expenditures up to $10,000, but County Counsel Craig Settlemire said that government code allowed for a single individual to be the purchasing agent. 

Public Works Director Bob Perreault told the supervisors that the subject of a “purchasing agent dominated discussion” during a recent meeting of the management council (the county’s department heads) because of its importance. 

“A real purchasing agent will pay for themselves,” Facility Director Joe Wilson said.   

Until a long-term solution can be reached, the Board of Supervisors chairman will sign the contracts, and in his absence it will fall to the county counsel. The supervisors approved a resolution to make the decision official. 

But those are just two of the responsibilities that need to be reassigned.  

“The CAO responsibilities show up in dozens of resolutions,” Perreault said. 

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