Bureaucrat Beat: Kingdom of AOC and Money at the Top

sacramentoWe could thank the state of California Administrative Office of the Courts for the hard feelings that now trouble Inyo County people. The AOC picked Independence as the location for a new court building. As one person pointed out, the AOC’s own evaluation ranked Independence higher than Bishop in most all categories for site location. Everything moved along fine until a major hiccup that apparently came from the AOC, but it’s never been terribly clear.

We will note that the AOC had a major hand in the new $20 million court building that now goes up in Mammoth. We will also point out that Mammoth officials tried desperately to get the state bureaucrats to work with them on a building design compatible to the community. The state goons basically responded with a screw you attitude. We in the Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom will only observe that state bureaucrats need to work with us like good neighbors not like high-handed monarchs. Put away your tiaras and listen to the people.

Local people have offered ideas to combine projects and save big-time. The State will have none of that. We need a new Governor who will set an example of reasonable cooperation between state leaders and county leaders and the people. We have heard that one of the judges said the AOC basically wants a monument to their pride in the new court buildings. California is too poor to spend much on ego trips.

Sadly, the series of public meetings has left many southern Inyo residents with the feeling that they will get the shaft on the court building. Many did not like the “small manageable groups” citizens were shuttled into for discussion. Whistler Hurd dropped into the newsroom the other day to say, “If the court is in Bishop, Independence will be a ghost town. Bishop will have more people, and Bishop doesn’t need more people.”

Stan Smith said, “Unreasonable as it may seem, the AOC is the driving force in this project. My opinion,” said Smith is that we have another case of bureaucrats making decisions without facts and then force-feeding us and telling us they know better than we, the locals, do!”

Looks like the AOC has plummeting popularity with others, too. Legislators grilled AOC officials this week on plans for a $1.3 billion computer system. Judges testified that the proposed system is a nightmare.

Lawmakers also scolded the AOC for costs to maintain courthouses and facilities. Like $175 for cleaning an ashtray and $8,000 to remove gum from the entrance to the Sacramento courthouse. Wow. A legislative audit lies ahead.

Meanwhile, in Mammoth Lakes, the September 1st Town Council meeting lies ahead and with it apparent lay-offs for somemammoth_town_office workers. That’s part of the plan, we are told. Privately, one concerned Mammoth parent, who asked her name be withheld said she was saddened to hear that John Connolly of the Town Recreation Department was one of those slated for the axe. The mother said Connolly has been a “positive influence” and has offered guidance, leadership and values.

This Mammoth woman said she would favor putting money into Connolly and Stephanie Daniels instead of Recreation manager Stuart Brown. She wonders of Brown’s job were posted. She points to the “Good Old Boys’ System”. This letter went on to suggest removal of “unnecessary management positions which pay over $75,000.” She points to the growth of the Community Development Department and suggests cuts.

The letter calls for an overhaul “from the top down – not from the bottom up.”

With that, this is Benett Kessler signing off for Bureaucrat Beat where we await your word on our lives in the Eastern Sierra and beyond.

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