Fete for fireworks fundraising?
In last week’s Sheet it is stated, “Vicki Bauer asked that the Board review the County’s support of Mammoth’s Fourth of July celebration to see if it should contribute more this year.”
“‘We help Bridgeport a lot,’ she said in comparison.”
I want to make this perfectly clear … Yes the County helps us a lot, with the employees doing a lot of work for it, and for which I am very grateful. Without them I’m not sure how I would handle it. BUT … They give us NO MONEY to put on our celebration; it is all done mainly with donations.
Granted, the employees have to be paid, but in my opinion that is not what Ms. Bauer is talking about. We just had a Fundraiser Dinner that made $16,873! Why can’t Mammoth do the same? You have many more people than we do.
John Diaz, aka “Mr. Nice Guy”
I was in Vons recently. I’m not normally allowed to shop in Vons. Kathy considers me to be a hopelessly impulsive junk food buyer; however, she’s out of town for a few weeks and I was loose and on my own recognizance, so to speak.
I was chitchatting with people and blissfully filling the cart with the necessities of bachelor life, when I got to the check stand and the young woman at the register announced my total. I reached for my hip pocket and found it empty. A quick survey of other pockets confirmed the embarrassing reality: I had no money.
What a rookie move! I asked the checker if we could ring it up and I could pick it up later after driving home to get my wallet? She replied, “Of course.”
But the guy behind me in line said, “Don’t do that Jack. I’ll pay for it. You can pay me back.” I was floored. Where does that happen? Who does that? I took him up on the offer. But it leaves me thinking: what a blessing it is to live in a small town and what a nice guy John Diaz is.
Ping pong … Hap’s turn
Your letter in The Sheet dated 3-17-12 was appreciated as it was far more civil than prior letters on this subject. I will answer it not as a rebuttal but rather as an explanation of how the Supervisor position is handled by the County and PERS (Public Employee’s Retirement System). PERS is somewhat complicated and when tied to county policy it can be very confusing.
First, let’s start by sorting out that there are three separate issues to consider in regards to an employee’s retirement and Supervisors compensation. 1) Base salary and retirement compensation. 2) Retirement credits towards a retirement and medical benefits, 3) County policy for supervisors including car allowance, phone allowance, office space, and travel reimbursement.
Please understand that no supervisor has a custom-designed retirement plan but they do have decision points. Each Supervisor follows the rules as dictated by State Law, PERS regulations and County policy.
In the case of my retirement:
I have a PERS retirement system benefit plan that was negotiated by the Deputy Sherriff’s Association over many years. I receive a basic retirement check monthly, I have medical insurance that comes out of my retirement check, but then it is reimbursed by the county as is the policy for many retirees that retired ahead of me and some that have followed after me. My children are now removed from my benefit plan due to their age.
Now let’s talk about the Board of Supervisors:
I receive a base salary for the work I do. The Board of Supervisors are legally considered “Part time” as they are elected.
One of the first decisions any newly elected supervisor must make is their future retirement program. A person without any prior PERS retirement credits can sign up to receive credits towards their retirement in the PERS system. A simple and straightforward decision for a Supervisor with no prior PERS employment.
If the newly elected supervisor has prior PERS credits then the decision becomes more complicated. PERS regulations and County policy allow that an elected official can choose to “opt in” or “opt out” of the retirement system. In my case I have full retirement credits and didn’t want or need any additional credits. I also have my medical benefits from my retirement and didn’t need that coverage. Both of these benefits are the “opt out” position I’ve taken. (Therefore the county does not pay for these benefits for me as a Supervisor). The final consideration for me was the limitation on available hours to work.
If I had elected to stay in the PERS system (opt in) I would have been limited to an annual maximum working hour of 960 hours. I campaigned and promised the citizens of the district that I would work a full time schedule as there were too many issues to be a part time supervisor. I have kept that promise and worked full time since my first election. By not being in the PERS system (opt out) I can work as many hours as needed to get projects done.
The last category of compensation is the car allowance, phone allowance, office space, and travel reimbursement:
Most of these policies have been in place for years prior to my election. These policies are established by county policy and are subject to public review and comment prior to being established. I do receive a car allowance to reimburse vehicle expense as I do not use a county vehicle. I do receive a phone allowance to cover part of the cost of my cell phone that I use for county business. I pay for my own office phone and fax numbers.
Over the years of my elected service at least four other supervisors have requested and received county office space to conduct county business, I have never asked for, or received, an office and I pay for all my own cost for my home office including utilities. This has been by my choice as I believe that the citizens of District 2 would be more comfortable with a meeting at their home, in a public place, or at their business. They also don’t have to drive into Mammoth to speak to me.
These are all policies that cover all Supervisors. I realize that this is somewhat boring to some folks and I will not address these concerns in public again. However, it is a good way to explain these policies for all Mono County citizens that might not understand how their government works. If anyone should have additional question they can contact me at (760) 935-4999 office or (760) 914-1403 cell.
I hope this has explained the role of a Mono County Supervisor and our compensation, retirement options, and our ability to conduct business on behalf of our citizens.
Duane “Hap” Hazard
Mono County Supervisor