Mono CAO answers to party critic

Mono County Administrator Jim Arkens’ house warming party on Friday has left at least one constituent with the angry chills.  Paul Betlach sent a letter to local media to accuse Arkens of a misuse of county funds to invite and carry out his personal house warming event.

Administrator Arkens said, with some frustration, that the invitations were done personally by Stacy Westerlund, a county employee, on her own time and that he will pay for the materials used.  Of Betlach’s accusations, Arkens said, “They’re not true.  I did not spend a penny of county money, and no one is being paid while attending the house warming.”

Arkens said Ms. Westerlund hand-delivered the invitations to county workers.  No postage was used. He said Westerlund and Nancy Boardman spent their own personal time arranging things.  The Administrator further justified his party plans when he said county employees have flex hours, so would not be “paid” to attend his event.  “I stand on principle,” said Arkens.  “There is no public money or time involved.”  He explained that he has a new home in Bridgeport, had done a lot of work on it and decided to celebrate.

Mr. Betlach was less cheerful about the whole thing.  He wrote, “Most employees do not want to go but think that if they do not go to this party, they will be frowned upon and there will be repercussions.”  Arkens said not true.  He said he invited those workers he directly deals with or who report to him plus the Sheriff’s Office. “There is clearly no obligation.” Arkens also noted that the time of the gathering was designed to accomodate the many workers who do not live in Bridgeport.

Arkens seemed Flummoxed by the hoopla over his house warming.  He said, “I’ve had parties everywhere I worked, and it was never anything like this.”  Why this time?  Arkens said, “Certain people don’t like me.  There are also the controversies over personnel issues.  People like to pick,” he said.  Mr. Betlach did pick on Arkens for assuming some four jobs – CAO, Personnel Director, Public Works Director and Assessor. Said Betlach, “There are no checks and balances.”

The CAO said he assumed these jobs, working 12 hour days at times and some weekends, to “save money.  We have saved well over $1 million.”  He also pointed out that Amy Brewster was offered the Assistant Assessor job and is expected to start October 1.  October 9, said Arkens, he plans to ask the Supervisors about hiring a Human Resources Director and Risk Manager.  Arkens said he does not believe the County needs a Public Works Director.  “We are financially fine,” he said, “and between the Finance Director and myself have saved $5 million over the past two years or so.”

The exasperated CAO said, “Why not focus on the savings instead of my party.”


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18 Responses to Mono CAO answers to party critic

  1. Sick of Mono County September 27, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    He may have saved the County 5 million, but will end up costing the County even more in lawsuits! This guy is a joke and needs to go!

  2. Dingo September 27, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Can somebody define “flex hours” please?

    • Benett Kessler September 27, 2012 at 10:57 am #

      My understanding is that employees can be flexible about the hours they work to complete the job assigned.

    • Big AL September 27, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

      Flex hours are hours worked other than standard working time.

  3. Ask not ... September 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    I see the government-haters are out and about again today.
    I wonder whatever happened to:
    “Ask not what your country can do for you … ask what you …?
    Whine and blame.
    Blame and whine.

  4. Shameless Mono County rides again September 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    Guess someone got his hand caught in the cookie jar…… Bravo to Mr. Betlach for standing up for what is right. Mr Arken’s thinks he is above the rules and his conduct in this matter proves it. Just read about his past and you will see it…..

    You are right,,,, Sick of Mono County- the lawsuits will cost the county more than he ever “Saved” which is just his resume lingo for making sure he has all the power and that there is no one anyone to turn to when they have issues. It is the same Mono County Good ole boy crap that has been going on for years.

    It needs to end and he needs to be sent packing. Just like his last two employers did… or how he will put it “I was asked to leave, not terminated” same thing in my books….

  5. Proud of Mr Betlach September 27, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    Hand delivered by Ms Westerlund on county time no less…. boy he sure doesn’t own up does he? I bet he wouldn’t have paid for the matierials if someone hadn’t alerted the media.

    Just imagine how much of this stuff is going on that we don’t get to hear about!

  6. Mono Citizen September 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    this is news? please.

  7. Tourbillon September 27, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    Betlach, as a guy who’s been called a Tea Partier on this site and not in a nice way by some of the more rabid lefties, let me tell you something. If you had a valid point, you lost me with your media squeal about a trivial party at which no taxpayer funds have been shown to have been used.

    Why a government guy can’t invite some co-workers to a house warming party, and why some of those co-workers can’t help him to organize it voluntarily, just like in any other job, without getting frog-walked in the press, beats the heck out of me. This is getting ridiculous. You know something more? Were taxpayer dollars really used? Were any County employees actually coerced, as opposed to simply being inclusively invited and then imagining an insidious threat from innocent cordiality? If you do, prove it. Until then, all you have is innuendo and suspicion and that’s worthless.

  8. Society in decline September 27, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    There are those in our society who have gone so entirely nuts that they believe it is unlawful for an at-will employee should be allowed to throw a party
    (because he is surely using taxpayer’s dollars).
    Society is most certainly in decline.
    Why not turn off the talk-radio, get a job, or do some service for your community?

  9. Chris September 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    In most cases, “flex time” refers to situations wherein one’s hours may differ from the standard 8-5 (note, not 9-5 for gov’t employees). An employee or group of employees may work from 6-2:30 with a 30 minute lunch break, or 9–6 with an hour lunch break, etc. to complete a 40-hr. work week. Also, flex time is a term usually used to refer to “rank and file” or non-management personnel, i.e., those who must work 40 hrs./week. “Work weeks” may differ for personnel throughout an agency, for instance law enforcement and fire personnel may have different hours than finance or recorders’ offices. Within a department there may be different “work week” arrangements, i.e., administrative staff may work eight-hour days while road maintenance crews may work 12-hour days. Again, I’m referring to typical, local or state government employees in California.

    On the other hand, “management” employees, who may serve “at will”, i.e., until the appointing individual or body chooses to employ them no longer, are not bound to the 40-hr. work week. A City Manager, County CAO, department head, etc. would usually fall into this category. An individual in this category is expected to work until the job is done, regardless of the number of hours required or how early/late in the day. While these employees, who serve at the pleasure of elected boards or councils, may choose to keep track of the hours they put in on the job, they are paid a salary to do whatever work is assigned to them by their employers and as they see fit in order to complete those jobs.

    I am not an attorney or union representative, nor do I purport that the above explanation should be etched in stone. Simply, I offer it to help clarify the term, “flex time”.

    • Big AL September 27, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

      hehe good job Chris .. love the disclaimer hehe

  10. Scholl Bowl September 27, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    He should be placed on administrative leave and investigated like any other employee that did this on work time, using work computers, work copiers, work paper, much less taking advantage of his employees! There is also the intimidation factor to the employees. You know this a exercise to see what employees he has allegence from and which ones he doesn’t. His behavior is appalling and a perfect example of Mono County harassment at its finest!

  11. Greg September 27, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

    Just ask the county employees doing the real work and the extra hours required for them to work because he has four hats.

  12. WeekEndCowgirl September 28, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    I think a more appropriate article should have been written about the communities concerns regarding the job Jim Arkens is doing for Mono County, not his house warming party.

  13. Growing Iceberg in Mono September 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    Mono County Administration is like an iceberg. The depth of the deceit and corruption is not measured by what appears on the surface. It goes much deeper. Come on people open your eyes and get involved in your community

    Does anyone else wonder after all of Arkens’s hard work on his house remodel, and working those 12 hour days and weekends to save the County all that money, if he had time to obtain the required building permits needed for the work done?

    Didn’t he purchase this house from the previous Solid Waste Superintendent / Real Estate Agent, who he supervised?? Hmm, Would that be considered a conflict of intrests?

    There are some people who would just be content to go with the flow of things until it affects them, and then start placing blame . Come on people wake up. Do you really want to pay for someone else’s mistakes through County lawsuits. Were’nt we all taught to stand up for what we believe in with honesty and integrety?

    What ever happened to morals and ethics?

  14. keoni September 29, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    I have a feeling the new board will do away with him.

  15. Shameless Mono County October 2, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    I was just wondering if anyone knows how the party went? LMAO


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