“Service Redesign” looks at Senior Program

inyo_courthouse.jpgTo accommodate nearly $2 million in employee raises and benefits next year, double that the following year and maybe throw in costs for a new County building, Inyo officials are busy looking for ways to cut costs and consolidate services. They call it “Service Redesign.” Thursday, Inyo County department heads met in another workshop to brainstorm cost savings. One of the topics pointed at the Senior Citizen Meal Program.

Senior Citizens started to call Health and Human Services Director Jean Turner with fears that their program would fall through or go down hill. Turner said repeatedly to us that no decisions have been made. She did confirm that an idea came out of the Service Redesign talks about consolidating food and laundry service among the Jail, Juvenile Center and Senior Centers.

Turner said she has been asked to analyze this possibility. She said Senior programs are costly and that her department has reduced administrative costs since the County took over the programs. Turner said she and other officials are a long way from decisions, but she realizes there are fears of job losses. Turner said if changes do occur, there is a commitment to find jobs within County government, if possible, for displaced workers. Although she noted that there is a hiring freeze now on.

Turner confirmed that she and Sheriff Bill Lutze will meet with Lone Pine senior citizens and Senior Center employees next Tuesday at noon to tell them face to face where things stand. Turner repeated that no decisions have been made and the process is ongoing.

Turner and the Sheriff will meet with Bishop seniors at the Bishop Senior Center next Wednesday around 11:45am. Said Turner, “I want them to hear directly from us. I understand the fear that is attached to change.” She also said that Senior Programs in other parts of the State use vendors and frozen meals for Seniors. She said at least the Jail kitchen would mean fresh food cooked locally.


16 Responses to “Service Redesign” looks at Senior Program

  1. upthecreek January 23, 2014 at 10:46 pm #

    What else would you expect from an out of control government.

    Sorry taxpayers you don’t need roads, sidewalks , tree triming or even senior services.

    The masters have spoken!!

    • Pedro January 24, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

      I’m sure your the first to volunteer at the senior center when people that lose their pensions have to camp outside.

  2. 86heard January 24, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    I heard from an employee in attendance that 4 of 5 members of the Board (all but Archularius) were present and participating. How is this NOT a Brown Act violation? i can’t find a public meeting announcement on the county’s website, and I understand it was NOT open to the public.

    • Benett Kessler January 24, 2014 at 10:40 am #

      The Brown Act says three or more county supervisors can not attend a meeting and deliberate issues to reach a decision. I don’t know what they were doing there.

      • Desert Tortoise January 25, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

        There are six exceptions to Brown Act requirements. They are:

        1) Individual contacts

        2) Conferences

        3) Community Meetings – open to the public hosted by another community organization to address topics of community concern

        4) Other Legislative Bodies – attendance at meetings of other legislative bodies

        5) Standing Committees – a majority of a legislative body may attend a regularly scheduled, agendized meeting of a standing committee of that legislative body

        6) Ceremonial events

        Finally, meetings or retreats of political parties are not considered to be meetings for Brown Act purposes.

        • Benett Kessler January 25, 2014 at 6:24 pm #

          Inyo’s County Counsel, Margaret Kemp-Williams, contacted me about the Brown Act question over the Service Redesign Workshop. Her opinion is the members of the Board of Supervisors who attended that event were “just observing a process.” Ms. Kemp-Williams said the Board was not deliberating on any subject and so not in violation of the Brown Act.

          • 86Heard January 25, 2014 at 10:07 pm #

            Well, I didn’t expect her to say “Oh, yes! 4 of my board members DID violate the Brown Act”! Her “opinion” is likely to conform to the actions of the people who hired her. I can’t believe that you of all people were so easily shut down like that.

            See DT’s post above – none of these exceptions fits. And according to my information (from multiple employees now), the supes were participating, not merely observing.

            If they are talking about a Service Redesign that affects public services, why isn’t the public in attendence if the board is?

          • Benett Kessler January 25, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

            No one was shut down. Ms. Kemp-Williams offered her opinion.
            Benett Kessler

          • Desert Tortoise January 27, 2014 at 10:00 am #

            86Heard, the Board members presence at that meeting is covered under exceptions 2 and 3, for conferences and community meetings, depending on what you wanted to call that particular meeting. I don’t see a violation.

  3. Kay Ives January 24, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

    Who do you think trims the trees, builds/repairs the roads and provides those senior services? It is those salaried, benefited employees, who, by the way, also put that money back into the economy by paying taxes and buying all the same things non-government employees buy-rent, food, clothing, local products…. It’s easier to criticize and harder to be part of the solution.

    • upthecreek January 24, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

      Take away that public pension & benefits package , pay into the social security system and dont’t retire till 65 and I would agree 100%.

      • Desert Tortoise January 25, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

        Unlike a 401k you have to hold your public service job usually 20 or more years to qualify for a pension. Leave before that and you get nothing. Most agencies make you stay 30 years or more to earn a full pension. And, as you mention, you give up Social Security to earn that pension.

  4. Desert Tortoise January 25, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    Seniors sharing food service with the jails? Hope it’s not the trustees preparing and serving senior meals.

    • Benett Kessler January 25, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

      The jail has hired cooks.

      • Pedro January 26, 2014 at 1:42 am #

        Trustees prepare and serve for jail staff some places. What’s the problem with serving seniors? God forbid anyone actually redeems and rehabilates themselves through serving others and learning an honest trade?

        • Desert Tortoise January 27, 2014 at 10:11 am #

          Let’s be blunt. They’re prisoners. I used to deliver fuel to Donovan State Prison and some LA County Sheriffs stations that kept prisoners and had to deal with the trustees as part of my job. Lets just say there is a good reason these guys ended up in prison. Good judgement just isn’t there. I wouldn’t let one cook anything I or anyone dear to me was going to eat. If you want to, have at it, it’s your life to live (or not).


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