County Notes

by Mark Scaramella, December 6, 2017

This Week’s Dubious Tax Expenditures

Your Tax Dollar At Work — for next week’s 12/5/2017 Board of Supervisors meeting.

(All items beginning with “4” are consent calendar items and the Five Zupervisorial Sombies will vote for them, no questions asked.)

Anne Molgaard, Assistant/Acting Director of Health and Human Services has asked the Board of Supervisors to provide a generous Auto Allowance like other department heads to two newly hired high-paid female officials:

4n) Approval of Automobile Allowance for Health and Human Services Agency Assistant Directors of Public Health and Administrative Services

Barbara Howe, recently hired as the Director of Public Health. Howe began her new role last month after serving as the Deputy Director of Public Health with the New Mexico Department of Health. Previously, Howe was the Public Health Administrator in Humboldt County.

(Caption from cheac.org website: “Mendocino County Public Health Director Barbara Howe transformed into the PHAB Fairy for Halloween this week, granting domain-approval dreams to her staff. Howe’s costume was quite the talk of the department, and Mendocino County Public Health staff appreciated the Halloween visit from the fairy.”)

And Darcie Antle, newly hired Director of Administrative Services and former friend and associate of Molgaard’s when Molgaard ran First-5 and Antle was Director of the Ukiah Valley Rural Health Center/the Adventists who got a nice chunk of First-5’s annual million bucks.

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(Silly Us: We thought this “retroactive” expenditure approval problem was solved with the pre-emptive firing of former Assistant CEO Alan Flora…)

4o) Approval of Retroactive Agreement with Redwood Community Services, dba Redwood Community Crisis Center, in the Amount of $70,511 to Provide 24/7 Crisis Response and Outreach and Engagement Services for Children, Youth, and Young Adults for the Term of July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018

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Air Quality Management District

7a) Discussion and Possible Approval of Retroactive Amendment to Legal Services Agreement Number 17-022 with Derek Cole for the Term of May 16, 2017, through June 30, 2018, Increasing the Amount of the Agreement by $50,000 for a New Total of $100,000 for Legal Representation of Matters Related to the Appeal of Permits Issued by the District, in Addition to other Legal Actions Related to Enforcement; and Approval of Transfer of Funds from the District’s Budget Unit 0327 Fund Balance in the Amount of $50,000 to Budget Unit 0327, Object Code 862183, to Cover Unanticipated Expenses Related to the Amendment to the Agreement (Sponsor: Air Quality Management District)

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County To Pay Employees To Go Home And Document All The Personal Stuff They Own

4q) Approval of a One-Time Amendment to County Policy Number 29, County Wellness Participation, Adding 2 (Two) Hours of Wellness Leave to be Used by June 30, 2018, for Emergency Preparedness to Allow Mendocino County Employees Time to Perform a Home Inventory of Personal Belongings

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County To Create Pot Czar Position

Agenda Item 4r) “Adoption of Resolution Authorizing the Adoption of the Classification of Cannabis Program Manager and Changes to the Position Allocation Table as Follows: Budget Unit 1020 Add One (1) FTE Cannabis Program Manager; Budget Unit 2710, Delete One (1) FTE Assistant Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer Weights and Measures  [i.e., not a new position, a redefinition of an existing position].”

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Supes To Discuss how to appoint the usual suspects to the Measure B Committee while appearing to be independent.

Agenda Item 5e) “Discussion and Possible Action Regarding Consideration of an Application and Appointment Process for the Mental Health Treatment Act Citizen’s Oversight Committee (“Measure B Oversight Committee”) (Sponsor: Executive Office) Recommended Action: Approve the recommended application and appointment process for the Mental Health Treatment Act Citizen's Oversight Committee (‘Measure B Oversight Committee’) or provide alternative direction to staff.”

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A Mystery Announcement, unexplained, and no record of it having been presented to the Board of Supervisors, appeared memorialized as a fait accompli in the Ukiah Daily Journal on Sunday, declaring that “Effective Jan. 1, Mendocino County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services (BHRS) will be transitioning all medication management services to Redwood Quality Management Company.” The Announcement went on to specify various details about the “transitioning,” and how it would be “easy” and “seamless” for “clients and their families” to their psychotropics. Local psychiatrists Garratt and Segal “who had been working with Mendocino County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services will continue to provide medication management services through Redwood Quality Management Company.” And “Dr. Timme and Larry Aguirre-PAC, who have already been working with Redwood Quality Management Company, will provide uninterrupted medication management services through the transition period and into the future.”

Toward the end of the announcement we also read that “Mendocino Coast Hospitality provides support services through their mental health clinic, including Case Management, Therapy, Mental Health Rehabilitation, Peer Support throughout the Mendocino County coast, as well as a drop in Wellness Center in Fort Bragg.”

It’s not clear if there’s a change in the Hospitality contract, but since it’s in this abrupt Redwood Quality Management Company declaration we assume it means that Redwood Quality Management Company will also take over some level of “management” of Hospitality’s mental health services.

So we have an abrupt privatization of a significant Health and Human Services job that was previously handled directly by psychiatric contractors under the supervision of County employees, but we only hear about it after the fact? No justification, no explanation, no proposed contract change presented to the Board of Supervisors, no prior agenda item for the Board of Supervisors, no assessment of the costs and benefits. Just a done deal announced NOT by the County, but by the recipient of the additional funding.

Note that we are talking about “Medication Management Services” — i.e., the “management” of medications, not the delivery of the medications which apparently will continue to be done by licensed psychiatrists already performing that service under direct contract with the County. There may be reasons to make this change, but without the Supes' prior consideration, discussion and approval? This is a major contract change for privately-owned Redwood Quality Management Company, sole source, no competitive bids, yet we can find no record of a contract change for RQMC anywhere in the County’s on-line records.

It’s possible that Redwood Quality Management Company is picking up the “management” of medication services under some umbrella clause in their existing contract, and they might even be doing it for no additional cost (although we doubt that). But even if that were true, what about liability for medication management and other contractual considerations? What about other options for the service? Shouldn’t these and other contract implications be brought before the Board of Supervisors like any other contract change or add-on?

Readers will recall that former Assistant CEO Alan Flora was unceremoniously fired a couple months ago because he approved a couple of routine contract extensions without first bringing them to the Board for approval, extensions which nobody objected to and which were necessary for reasons that were clearly explained. During that same time period there were two other major contract add-ons that were wrongly approved by staff without Board approval and no one was censured or fired over either of them.

But Mendo can farm out another big chunk of Mental Health Services without any discussion or explanation or analysis and nobody cares.In Mendo if you work for Ann Molgaard, and you want a major change in Health and Human Services without Board approval, just go ahead — then announce it after the fact. No problem. But if you work in any other department — Law enforcement, facilities, roads, technology, CEO staff, etc. — you’re subject to immediate termination.

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Another Sole Source Techno-Boondoggle

Board of Supervisors Agenda Item 5c) “Discussion and Possible Action Regarding Request for Proposal (RFP) Number 08-17 “Information Technology Master Plan.” Results, Including the Evaluation Review Committee’s Recommendations Regarding Proposals Received and Contract Award. Receive the update and recommendations of the Evaluation Review Committee related to RFP No. 08-17, "Information Technology Master Plan;" award contract to ClientFirst Technology Consulting to provide an IT Master Plan and Consulting Services in the amount of $99,902; and authorize Chair to sign same.(Sponsor: Executive Office)

Also no evidence of any competitive bidding or alternatives considered. Just hand over a suspiciously specific “$99,902” (only $98 short of $100k) to a few IT suits from San Diego and, again, present it to the Board as a done deal.

These two techno guys — Jakobsen and Robichaud — would be expensive if their titles were just “computer consultant,’ but with titles like these their hourly rate skyrockets!:

1) Tom Jakobsen, Senior Partner IT Support and Infrastructure Practice Leader, And

2) Steve Robichaud, Partner Applications and Process Consulting Practice Leader

From the presentation we find nothing but pure technobabble and nothing about what they’ll actually do for the $100k:

“The Result How will this leave the County better off? Assessment of Existing IT Environment (a Baseline) •Identification of Strengths and Weaknesses •Identification of IT Needs (Countywide) •Expression of IT Needs as Projects/Initiatives •Prioritization of All IT Projects/Initiatives •Improved Security •Increased Efficiency •Consensus on IT Spending and Investment •Improved Governance of IT Resources and IT Decision Making •Alignment of IT Strategies with Countywide Strategies. It’s an IT Roadmap for the County to Follow”CF Presentation pdf

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So that makes at least five wasteful large done deals and several smaller ones in just the last few months, without a peep of objection from any of the Supervisors. And as long as no one objects it is certain to accelerate. In fact, we could save almost $2 million a year by simply eliminating the Board of Supervisors since they rubberstamp everything CEO Angelo and her staff present to them. (The last time we recall the Board rejecting anything was that odd incident last January when the Board refused to approve Sheriff Allman’s request for a non-General Fund purchase of a Snowcat for winter rescues.)

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