District 5 candidate responds to DA’s questions regarding hiring and retaining employees

By Mimi Garner,

Candidate for District 5 Supervisor

 

“What will you do to recruit, hire and retain county employees who (to) make sure the country meets its most basic obligations?”

 

First, I think we can all agree: (1) that  the county is recovering from some major apocalyptic events — Covid, recessions, depressions, lake poisonings, forest fires,  mask mandates and hyper-inflation, to name a few. And, (2) County employees have been overwhelmed and as a result there are more vacancies than normal.

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It is my professional  assessment that as an employer of over 140 employees annually at Nakoma Resort in its heyday and over 600 farm workers employed at my farming operations in Mexico and the LA Produce Market over those 10 years, that a 15 percent staffing shortfall is not “an acute and precarious problem.”

It’s simply a short term, logistical problem and it offers the Board of Supervisors an opportunity to to take a new approach.  It allows them an opportunity  to reevaluate the needs of each department,  and  an opportunity to reassess the multitude of old, costly and widely scattered facilities housing Plumas County’s 369  employees.

When I am elected your next District 5 Supervisor, we can and will overcome these temporary staffing shortfalls.   I am confident and hopeful because  Plumas County has the talent and financial resources to succeed.   It has experienced department heads with the authority to hire the best.  Once the budget is cleaned up and revenue streams and expense costs are more fully defined, the Board can and will make better hiring decisions.

It is my opinion, that the responsibility of each Department Head is to hire its own staff.  When there is a department head vacancy, such as the Auditor position,  the Board of Supervisors steps in as  the lead authority  to find and hire that qualified candidate. Once hired, that department head will hire, entirely, his preferred staff.  Each department head can and should, at any time they feel the need, to submit their demands for more staff directly  to the Board of Supervisors for approvals.

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I am hopeful that when I am elected  the next District 5 supervisor, and I  begin to work together, work harder and work smarter with the other supervisors, that the challenges that the DA states as “acute and precarious” will turn into innovative ideas, better solutions  and new directions for Plumas County.

As a Realtor, I am a very good researcher.  I have already been investigating the number and condition of the  untold Plumas County owned and rented buildings scattered all over the county.  Many could be sold or consolidated for better use.  The Hospital Annex building and the Steeple Building which houses the Assessor, Planning and Building departments are two examples of wasted and unused space most of which is currently used for storage or lobbies.  They can be redesigned to be more efficient and house more departments, thus eliminating old facilities.

Both  buildings could be redesigned to accommodate a majority of Plumas County’s  personnel.  Many of the old buildings owned by Plumas County could then be sold off or rented to pay for the design costs and improvements. The savings in rent and maintenance costs could be enormous.  Or maybe, upon evaluation by the Board, a new location should be found to build a new facility to house all departments under one roof,  except possibly the jail, animal shelter, fairgrounds and public works department.  A new facility could save a lot of maintenance money and personnel travel costs.  It would definitely bring all employees working together under one roof and more efficiently.

So I would go a step  further than just limiting planning to recruiting, vetting, hiring and retaining employees.  I would definitely seek to improve the existing county facilities so they  can draw quality  employees who want to relocate here because they want to work in an uplifting work space with an enjoyable workplace atmosphere.  Let’s  go beyond meeting just  the county’s “basic obligations.”  The workplace environment at my Nakoma Resort was so stunning it drew employees who wanted to work there,  permanently.

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The added savings from reduced personnel and  newer facilities could be used to pay county employees better wages and reward  them with  better benefits. In turn, the county can and will meet their first responsibility of local government, providing superior public safety for both citizens and visitors.