Supervisors will look at Assessor resignations

MONO COURTHOUSEMono County Assessor Jody Henning handed in a letter of resignation at the end of May.  Today the Mono Supervisors were expected to talk about replacement of Henning and her assistant, Chris Lyon, who also resigned.

With the resignation of two top officials in one department, members of the public have asked if the Assessor’s office has problems.  At least one supervisor does not believe there are concerns.  Sierra Wave Media spoke to Supervisor Larry Johnston who referred us to Henning’s letter of resignation.  In that letter, Henning writes that she will resign effective June 28th to “pursue other professional opportunities.”

Henning says she was elected in 2008 and as a result the Assessor’s office, she said, is “more professional and accountable” to taxpayers.  Prior to Henning’s election, past Assessor Jim Lovett was the subject of a re-call election and a Grand Jury report.  He had faced accusations of drinking on the job and failure to come to work.  He was also arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in a county car.  Lovett retired, and Henning won the election.

The Mono Supervisors’ agenda says that officials will consider options of dealing with the two resignations.  They may consider re-organization and options for hiring and filling the vacancies.  Mono County did send out a job flyer for the Assistant Assessor job.

Supervisor Johnston said that he understands the tax roll is close to done and will soon be posted.”


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29 Responses to Supervisors will look at Assessor resignations

  1. Hypocritical action June 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    Johnston’s M.O. is to reduce every manager’s salary, take away travel expenses and convince the other board members to go along with this. This is fair to Johnston even though he took the same perks when he as a county manager. Hypocrisy? You be the judge. The result wil be more and more power to the union and less talented and experienced managers and a savings that would only be miniscule. I smell a tyrant in the making.

    • Benett Kessler June 11, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

      I have to reply on these critiques. Times are hard. Revenues are down. Many people have lost jobs or are losing income in their businesses. Government has to downsize the same way private business, and individuals, must. Attacking Supervisor Johnston may miss the point – change is needed. Clearly, some people see that. Look at the number of incumbent County Supervisors in both Inyo and Mono counties that got the boot. Your personal attacks on Johnston seem just that – personal. It’s time to look beyond the personal to the greater need. Why not put aside the anger and resentment and examine the larger picture.
      Benett Kessler

      • a cautionary tale June 12, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

        “It Can’t Happen Here” is a semi-satirical American political novel by Sinclair Lewis published in 1935. It describes the rise of a populist politician who calls his movement “patriotic” and creates his own militia (the Minute Men or “MM”, paralleling Hitler’s “SS”) and takes unconstitutional power after winning election — mirroring what Hitler was doing in Germany at the time of writing. Its plot centers around newspaperman Doremus Jessup’s belated realization of what is happening, and his subsequent struggle against the fascist regime of President Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip.
        Today it is just too easy to be bowled over by people like Larry Johnston who know how to push the right buttons with “‘so-and-so’ public adminstrators are making too much money. We must stop them!” rhetoric and is quite frankly dangerous as Lewis warns. And to top it all off Mr. Johnston and his wife both make out like bandits while they both were employed by the County.
        Something is drastically wrong with this vendetta.

      • Hypocritical action June 12, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

        “Your personal attacks on Johnston seem …”
        I am quite sure Mr. Johnston is a good man and means well. However in the political realm it is evident Mr. Johnston is obsessed with the reduction of every supervisor’s salary in Mono County and now we have newly elected supervisors who are agreeing with him. I have yet to hear supervisors demanding lower salaries from the core of the county workers – the union employees of the county.

        With respect, I don’t see this as a mere “personal attack” against Mr. Johnston (albeit odd that Mr. Johnston and his wife were both former employees of the county who enjoyed good salaries and perks). Now, if Mr. Johnston is willing to return an equal amount of taxpayer monies and perks he and his wife both enjoyed as county employees to the taxpayer, I would say his intentions of reducing the salaries and perks of existing county employees is honorable and above the usual political gamesmanship.

        • Benett Kessler June 12, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

          My hope is that those who comment will site facts and details that back up opinions rather than mere attacks.
          Then we can have a reasoned debate about issues. As for what Mr. and Mrs. Johnston may have been paid, frankly,
          that was then and this is now.
          Benett Kessler

          • Hypocritical action June 12, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

            “what Mr. and Mrs. Johnston may have been paid, frankly, that was then and this is now.”

            With all due respect, it is my belief that politicians who have the “do as I say – not as I do” comes into play here. Suggesting people with college degrees in supervisory positions with local government who haven’t had a salary increase in years and are now being told they make too much money (and considerably less than the private sector) is not only hypocritical but will not balance the budget due to the downturn of The Great Recession, and will only make the situation worse in that people will continue to spend less as their salaries shrink.
            I thought everybody remembered that in Econ 101.
            This is all about conservative politics worshipping the mega-rich.

      • Dingo June 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

        But I thought “the private sector is doing fine”. Milk came out of my nose and I almost strained an abdominal muscle when the President said that the other day.
        Just kidding BK you hit it right on the head.

  2. Human Resources June 11, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    The money Larry Johnston is maniacally claiming to save from reducing the salaries of qualified people will never go back to the taxpayer. Ever. It will go into the coffers of the county. The taxpayers will see not one penny they think is going back to them.
    The only thing Johnston is accomplishing in his power play is the demonization of management. Some see the writing on the wall and are leaving for greener pastures. Underqualified and inept people will be getting the break they have been looking for.

  3. Watching Mono County Crumble June 11, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    It isn’t too hard to figure out that the whole County is suffering from poor management and supervision! Every entity is losing employees and having issues due to the Department Heads that govern them. Just today there were printed stories about issues with the Assessors office, Airport management, and the worst offender the Sheriff’s office! Maybe the BOS needs to really look into what is really going on and who the most complaints are about! Not just take the word of the CAO and Sheriff that everything is under control and “we got it handled!”

    • Solutions June 12, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

      Mono County should consider contracting for Law Enforcement services with the Mammoth Lakes Police Department. By all accounts they have a Chief who has turned the department around and is doing a good job. MLPD could take care of much of the south county, Lee Vining, June Lake, Crowley Lake and Swall Meadows area.

  4. Human Resources June 12, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    It is highly unlikely that a blanket anti-authority/anti-supervisor POV that is spreading everywhere, is going to result in increased morale, civility, and overall peace of mind in a community.
    History will show you how quickly thugs can take over and rile everyone up unnecessarily when a cooler heads prevailing should be the goal.

  5. Political vendettas June 12, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    Government employees and public-sector unions are the folks conservatives love to tar for the unpleasant fiscal situation in state and local governments. But there is little evidence that government workers or public-sector unions are responsible for budget deficits.

    Employee compensation has remained a constant share of state expenditures, and state and local workers are actually underpaid relative to comparable private-sector workers. Instead, the short-term deficits are primarily the result of the Great Recession. Furthermore, claims that public-sector pensions will bankrupt state and local governments are exaggerated.

    There are significant budget deficits among the states. Closing these gaps on the backs of workers alone would lead to large job losses and wage reductions.

    When you have politicians and their relatives who have previously enjoyed being compensated for their work and now insist the compensation of those still employed is the root of the fiscal problem in the county is pure politics and not a very well hidden ax-grinding exercise.

  6. Ken Warner June 12, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    If you do the research you will find that the public sector — government jobs at all levels — have decreased and private sector jobs have been increasing for over two years. The private sector may not be “fine” in your particular situation, but it’s a lot better than it was.

    You all have to remember the deep, deep depression the previous administration left us in.

    It’s not going to be easy to recover from what Bush and the gang did to our economy. And the longer those with the means to pay for the massive debt that benefited the most wealthy delay and deny responsibility and continue to lobby for exception — the longer it will take to recover.

    Simply cutting the so called Safety Net out from under the poorest will not ever be sufficient to heal the damage.

  7. Political vendettas June 13, 2012 at 5:06 am #

    It is clear that public-sector compensation is not spiraling out of control, yet government workers will probably need to make additional sacrifices to help states with severe shortfalls balance their budgets. But if policymakers do attempt to reduce their budget deficit by cutting solely public employee compensation—rather than by considering a balanced approach of appropriate cuts in several areas of the budget and revenue increases—then the results would be large-scale job losses among public-sector workers and more pain for the overall U.S. economy.

    Our estimates suggest that the size of projected state budget deficits for FY 2012 ending September 30, 2012, would necessitate cutting more than 1.6 million state government jobs if compensation cuts were carried out solely as layoffs. If all cuts came by reducing wages, salaries, and benefits, then these would have to be cut by an average of 22 percent to balance the budget.

    The scale of these layoffs or compensation cuts would dramatically reduce the quality of public services. And for a national economy deprived of aggregate demand—in the form of spending these state-sector workers engage in every day—reducing the amount of money in workers’ pockets would weaken our already tepid economic recovery. As of February 2011, the number of unemployed Americans stood at 13.7 million. Cutting 1.6 million jobs would increase the ranks of the unemployed significantly.

    Therefore it is clearly pure politics when a supervisor is bent on reducing salaries and perks for all government employees expecting this to balance the budget.

  8. Rob June 13, 2012 at 9:00 am #

    “The scale of these layoffs or compensation cuts would dramatically reduce the quality of public services.”

    I think we need to ask our selves if we’ve been getting our monies worth in the first place. I don’t think so.

    Same applies to education. Why throw more money at something when we haven’t got our monies worth in the first place?

    • Political Vendettas June 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

      Expenditures must equal revenues; otherwise a state faces a budget deficit. States spend money on many things, from employees to roads to building maintenance. If public employee compensation is a huge drag on state budgets, then this trend would likely show up in the data on state expenditures on government workers. If state spending on employees is really out of control, then we would expect the share of state expenditures spent on employee compensation to be very high, and would have rapidly increased in recent years, especially in states with high public-sector union participation.

      Yet there is very little evidence that state expenditures on employees are a problem.

      • Benett Kessler June 13, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

        Not sure if that’s a correct conclusion. Check out this Reuter’s News Service report on pension costs:

        The California Legislative Analyst Office reports that in 2009-2010, California had roughly 357,000 full time employees at a cost of $22.2 billion. You have to look closer to know whether employee expenditures are a problem.

        Benett Kessler

        • News of the Wierd June 13, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

          “Bureaucrat Beat by Benett Kessler”

          This as they say, should say it all.

        • Political Vendettas June 13, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

          “You have to look closer to know whether employee expenditures are a problem”

          Tell that to the Mono supervisor who insists it is THE problem.
          Evidently he has looked at it, and has decreed “Off with their heads!”

      • Big AL June 13, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

        Public employees are an easy target PV .. easier to cut their pay than cut social services .. and that is a can of worms too hot to touch .. but politicians will not touch that can .. just go after the public employees .. because everyone thinks they are all independently wealthy anyways.

        • Big AL June 13, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

          And the school kids .. yes cut them as well .. they are easy targets too .. Oh and by the way .. why did we get a state lottery? Wasn’t for schools .. obviously.

    • Big AL June 13, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

      What do you mean .. in regard to education Rob .. just asking .. expand on that .. might be a good discussion.

  9. John Barton June 13, 2012 at 10:02 am #

    As Bennet points out, the government needs to cut back just like private business. The country of Greece is having a hard time swallowing the austerity pill. Greece as an exmaple has a negative GDP yet a high percentage on a per capita basis of the population is employed by the government and the retirement age with nice benefits is young. It’s therefore understandable why the population does not favor cutbacks. Government in this country at all levels need to look harder at combining offices, functions and cutting huge amounts of waste. Too many cutbacks at once can hurt the fragile economy so hiring freezes and better accounting of gov’t spending is a good place to start from Washington down to the counties.

    • News of the Wierd June 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

      There are cases where government union employees are clearly not pulling their load and taking advantage of every situation, ie., sick days on Fridays and Mondays, they can think of, minimum work every day, yet it is nearly impossible to terminate these slackers due to the power of the union.
      Does this mean anything to anyone?

      • just one June 13, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

        It means alot, mostly to those public union servants that WORK their butts off for the public. The ones that get the job done, the ones who get lumped in with the bad. The ones who have to take it and deal with it. The ones who honestly care about Mono County, The ones who are also looking at pay cuts while certain people make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year with total justification for thier pay. Just a thought. A person only has 100% to give, so if one person is doing three or four jobs IE: our County CAO, he can’t possibly be giving any one of those jobs 100%. Right? And if one man CAN do all of these jobs, obviously there is no need for department heads.

        • Big AL June 13, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

          Just one, yes your right everyone sees the slackers and they want to fire everyone .. send em down the road kicking horse turds. there are many who give it their best and care about what they do, an in any sector.

    • sierragrl June 13, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

      Hey John, you got a couple of interesting points. One is Austerity actions…it has been shown that ‘austerity’ is actually detrimental to recovery…ie. you need people to be able to spend money to get a country out of recession…thus in basic economics you are taught about about deficit spending as a necessity in a recession. (how much is up to debate).

      However, Greece is your second interesting point. Greece is in it’s situation for a very different reason then our country. The number one problem is hardly anyone pays their taxes…your odds of being caught are low so people don’t pay it. Number two, is the public sector has become a system of cronyism with political appointees who have almost no true responsibility yet draw large salaries and benefits…I’m truly amazed that the European Union let them in, it was a huge mistake. Bailing out Greece is like trying to remove sand at the beach. Austerity actually does probably apply best to Greece where the greed of the public in general has led to their downfall in contrast to our country where greed of the privileged few has led to our current difficulties.

      Oh, and just to point out, while our (the US and State) civil service sector I’m sure has it flaws, it goes to extreme to avoid cronyism and such. Graft and cronyism is only a problem in congress level appointees. the basic civil service is based on testing and experience etc. etc. We spend way too much money making sure everything is fair! (although JUST based on what I read, I have to wonder about Mono County!)

    • Big AL June 13, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

      Good post John

  10. News of the Wierd June 14, 2012 at 5:36 am #

    I totally agree with you, “just one.” There are many fine people who through no fault of their own must allow their union stewards to baby miscreant government employees who get away with … everything. And now to make things worse, we have elected officials who made out like bandits when they were county employees, painting department heads as evil and demanding salary cuts for everyone. And this is supposed to increase revenue and balance the budget?


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