Tiede’s out, Johnston comments, Arkens parties
Mono County Director of Social Services Julie Tiede confirmed this week that she would not renew her contract with the County upon its expiration in April 2013.
Tiede said that whomever the County hires as the new Director would take over responsibilities such as the subcontract between Mono County and the Eastern Sierra Area Agency on Aging, as well as the remainder of her duties.
She did not have any comment on the reason(s) why she chose not to renew, but Mono County CAO Jim Arkens did voice his thoughts.
“Julie is one of our stellar department heads who’s working 12 hour days,” Arkens said. “I think she was disappointed when the Board [of Supervisors] rejected the idea of Julie overseeing the Mental Health Department when Ann Gimpel left.”
Robin Roberts was hired to take Gimpel’s place but needed some time to get up to speed. According to Arkens, Tiede asked for more money to oversee the department, which is why the Board rejected the idea.
Supervisor Larry Johnston confirmed that giving Tiede more money to run the department on an interim basis was not what the Board had wanted to do at the time.
“It was quite a bit extra,” Johnston said. He added that his understanding had been that Tiede was planning to retire, but would have stayed on longer if the extra money had been approved.
In relation to recent hiring and reshuffling within the County, Johnston added that the Board of Supervisors is at a disadvantage when it comes to personnel.
“We’re not working with them on a daily basis,” Johnston said, adding that the process has always been that the Board hires the CAO and County Counsel. It is then up to the CAO to do the hiring and firing for the rest of the employees.
“I don’t know about any preferential treatment,” he said.
“The HR Director processes the applications, does the interviews, etc.,” Johnston said, ”but the CAO makes the ultimate decision on whom to hire and fire. I don’t think we need a HR Director right now,” he added in reference to the criticism that Arkens wears both the CAO and HR Director hats and therefore has too much power.
“We are looking at hiring an HR Director at some point but it is not a necessity and it [the consolidation] is saving the County money,” he concluded.
Johnston felt that a lot of the commotion circulating throughout the County at this time stemmed from the Luman Personnel Appeals Board case. He pointed out that having a HR Director in place might not have made a difference in that situation.
Most recently, Arkens approved the hiring of Aimee Brewster as Assistant Assessor. Johnston believed Brewster would likely be appointed Interim Assessor as well. Her contract goes before the Board for approval on Tuesday. Brewster, along with one or two others, applied from within the County for the Assistant Assessor position, Johnston said.
Arkens holds housewarming
The Sheet received a complaint from Mono County resident Paul Betlach who was “outraged” that Mono County CAO had planned a housewarming party for this Friday, Sept. 28 beginning at 3 p.m.
“Were these invitations made on County Supplies, County Time, by County Employees,” Betlach’s email asked. And are County employees expected to take time off work to attend the party?
“This is a harmless housewarming,” Arkens contested. “The invitations were not made with any County supplies or on County time. Stacey Westerlund [Payroll and Benefits Manager] and Nancy Boardman [Animal Control Director] offered to arrange the party for me. They made the invitations on their own time and with their own supplies and Stacey hand delivered them to employees.
“I planned the party for Friday beginning at 3 p.m. so that those employees who have Friday off would still be able to attend. I wanted everyone to have a chance to swing by and since Fridays are flex days for many people I wanted to catch them before they headed out of town. It is not a paid county function.”