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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
February 25, 2015     Feather River Bulletin
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February 25, 2015

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6B Wednesday, Feb. 25,2015 EDITORIAL AND OPINION Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter J EDITORIAL It's time to end the crisis management and hire a CAO The recent resignation of the Mental Health director has once again exposed a gap in the county's organizational chart. And it's not the loss of a Mental Health director. It's the absence of a county administrative officer. The CAO's office has been empty for three years. And the void is sometimes glaring -- particularly pertaining to personnel matters, managing the county's finances and day-to-day operations. Running a county is similar to managing a multimillion-dollar corporation. And every successful corporation has a strong CEO who reports to a board of directors• The CAO (our county's version ofa CEO) provides the vision and direction. That person makes sure the business is efficient and achieves its goals. Without a CAO, Plumas County wastes a lot of time, spends extra money and misses out on untold opportunities. The county currently pays a number of consultants to perform many CAO duties• County counsel and the supervisors themselves are also taking on CAO chores• The piecemeal approach wasn't intended to be a long-term solution. But, three years later, the county is still running a disjointed operation that isn't effectively managing' its resources. The extra money the county spends in bits and pieces would easily pay a CAO's salary. Nearly every week the supervisors are bogged down in the boardroom with relatively trivial budget.transfers and decisions that would never have made it past the CAO's desk. A CAO would analyze each departmental request, see where it fits in the county's overall priorities, and make a recommendation to the board. Instead, department heads have to set aside work to show up at board meetings where they are essentially lobbyists in front of the supervisors. Persuasive or popular department heads sometimes get their way because the supervisors don't have enough unbiased back-up information to ma an informed decision or eorsider aifeives. : .... Some personnel matters reach the supervisors that shouldn't. A CAO, not the' supervisors, would conduct a director's initial performance evaluation. And a CAO would help mediate disputes between departmental leaders and elected department heads. This brings us back to the Mental Health director situation• Many of the disagreements between Mental Health and its community partners could have been resolved behind the closed door of the CAO's office. A strong CAO would have given the inexperienced Mental Health director firm direction and support, and reported the progress to the supervisors. Instead, a very public battle was waged in the boardroom and in the newspaper. The battle led the county to pay a consultant thousands of dollars to conduct an audit of the Mental Health department• The consulting firm's report didn't shed any new light on Mental Health. It only confirmed problems that almost everyone -- including the Mental Health director -- was already aware of. A competent CAO could have compiled that report for the supervisors in an afternoon, as part of that person's regular duties. Now the supervisors have to find a new Mental Health director. Qualified applicants need to have dynamic credentials, backed up by years of experience. Filling that highly important post will likely require an extensive search. The board admits it hasn't done a great job hiring the last few Mental Health directors• So it will likely be compelled to hire yet another consultant to conduct the search -- a search that would have been coordinated by a CAO. Our supervisors, county counsel and county department heads have done a commendable job in the absence ofa CAO. We fully understand why the supervisors decided not to fill the position after Jack Ingstad was fired in April 2012. The county was headed for the fiscal cliff because of the recession. The board saw an opportunity to save money, which in turn saved the jobs of other county workers. But our county is no longer in the middle of a fiscal crisis. As we emerge from the recession, it's time to abandon the crisis-management model and move forward• We can help ensure a brighter future by hiring a good CAO. It's not a position that needs to be filled immediately. But the board should start moving toward filling the vacancy. It wouldn't require an expensive headhunter to conduct a nationwide search• We believe several current and former county employees have the credentials and experience required to do the job. Editorials are written by members of the editorial board and should be considered the opinion of the newspaper• The board consists of the publisher, managing editor and the appropriate staff writers• I want to give up something new for Lent It's usually chocolate or ice cream, but this Lent I must give up something different -- reading sad news stories that involve children. The headline read: "Toronto boy dies after wandering away from apartment." Did I really need to read on? No, but I did, and then had to explain to my office mate why I was blubbering at my computer. A 3-year-old boy had wandered away from his home during the night and was found dead in the frigid cold the next morning. Could I leave it at that? No. I had to wonder if he called out for his mother or his father, and if he cried himself to sleep, alone and afraid. The only thing more questionable than reading a story that I know won't end well is to write about it. As the crying began anew, co-worker James Wilson suggested that I write about something happier -- like the advent of spring• James and I spend a lot of time talking about children• I am a fwst-time MY TURN DEBRA MOORE Staff Writer grandmother of 10-month-old Carter and he is the new father of 7-month-old Marj0rie. There are the inevitable comparisons of sleeping schedules, eating habits and milestones. There are also James' half-joking warnings that Carter better stay away from his Marjorie, but we also talk a lot about the ways that having children change us, and the incessant, pervasive worry that arrives with parenthood. This week's special days NOT JUST AN ORDINARY DAY COMPILED BY KERI TABORSKI Not just an ordinary day....a sampling of weekly notable special days and facts throughout the year. February 25 1836 -- Samuel Colt is granted a U.S. patent for the Colt revolver. 1919 -- Oregon places a I percent per gallon tax on gasoline, the first U.S. state to levy a gas tax. 1970 -- Ernie of Sesame Street debuts the ,, ,, , song Rubber Duckie on the children s television• show and it reaches No. 16 on the charts later in September. February 26 1829 -- Levi Strauss is born in Germany. He later opened a dry-cleaning business in San Francisco. Together, he and Jacob Davis, a tailor and tailor shop owner in • Reno, Nevada, and inventor of the.first pair of riveted denim pants, patented the new style of work pants in 1873. 1919 --President Woodrow Wilson signs an act of Congress establishing the Grand Canyon as a national park in Arizona. 1929-- President Calvin Coolidge signs an executive order establishing the 96,000-acre Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. February 27 1973 -- The American Indian Movement occupies Wounded Knee, South Dakota. 2010 -- An earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale strikes Chile, leaving over 500 victims and 1,000 injured. The quake triggers a tsunami, which strikes Hawaii shortly thereafter. February 28 1983 --The final episode of M*A*S*H is watched by a record 1•25 million television viewers. February 29 (2016 is the next Leap Year) 1960 -- The first Playboy Club by Hugh Hefner is opened in Chicago, Illinois. 1968 -- The Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club wins Best Album of the Year at the Grammy awards. March 1 The traditional birthstone for March is the aquamarine and the traditional flower is the jonquil. 1790 -- The first United States census is authorized and implemented. 1803 -- Ohio, The Buckeye State, is admitted as the 17th U.S. state. 1867 -- Nebraska, The Cornhusker State, ' is admitted as the 37th U.S. state. 1936 '- Boulder Dam, now known as Hoover Dam, located on the borders of Arizona and Nevada, is completed. 1961 -- The Peace Corps is established. 1995 -- The Internet website Yahoo! is incorporated. March 2 1933 -- The t'tim "King Kong" opens at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. 1983 -- Compact disc players and discs are released'for the first time in the United States; they were previously only available in Japan. The toddler who wandered away in the dead of night struck a chord. Just yesterday my Houdini-grandson managed to climb out of his jumpy chair. I have watched the YouTube videos of tots scrambling out0f cribs, over baby gates and through doorways left slightly ajar. As much as my heart aches for the little boy, I think of his mother, and how every day for the rest of her life she will carry that last image of her son, the unimaginable grief and the inevitable guilt. I worry about my grandson just as I did my daughters. And that worry never goes away. My eldest daughter is a psychologist in the Bay Area. She is a competent person; she has a Ph.D., she is bilingual; she is in demand in her field. When she was offered a great new position, both professionally and financially, but with an office in Richmond, she detected the lack of enthusiasm in my voice. "Mom, this is great, why aren't you happy?" she asked me. It did sound great, except for the daily commute to Richmond part. "Because unless you could work from home encased in bubble wrap, I will worry," I replied. And sadly, it's true. My mother tells me that she didn't worry as much about me or my siblings once we moved away from home, unless she knew what we were doing. For that reason, I have stopped asking about my daughter's weekend plans. Case in point: At 9:30 p.m. on Halloween she texted me a photo of herself in a kitty cat costume. Our texts went as follows: Me: Are you at a party? She: Just heading' out. Me: Where is it? She: Oakland? Me: How are you getting there? She: BART Me: Are you going with someone? She: Great• Halloween. Kitty cat costume. Oakland. For the next 14 hours, I worried: Finally, I couldn't take it any longer and at 11:30 a.m. the next day I texted her. Me: Meow? She: LOL. I knew you would be worried• I know, I know; I need to let go. She is an adult. But my morn still worries about me and I am a grandmother! Someday, she will understand. Her sister already does -- now that she is a mother• "I'm never going to let him go out," she said of Carter d(irg ;rcent conversation andthen gave me one otthe best compliments I have ever received. She told me that as a parent I had struck the perfect balance of giving her some freedom, but also setting boundaries. And she now Understands why I Couldn't sleep until I heard the garage door going up, signaling her or her sister's safe arrival home. I knew parenthood meant a life of worry but I didn't realize that grandparenthood would mean a whole new generation to worry about. If I could, I wouldn't give up chocolate, or ice cream, or even sad news stories for Lent-- I would give up worrying, but I just don't think it's possible. REMEMBER WHEN Elementary School sometime during the .............................................................................. past weekend and drove motorbikes KERI TABORSKI Historian 100 YEARS AGO ..... 1915 A heavy rainstorm prevailed in Plumas County this week in which several inches of water fell in combination with melting mountain snow causing slides and delaying railroad traffic throughout the Feather River canyon. 50 YEARS AGO ..... 1965 Vandals entered the Greenville though the hallways and leaving black skidmarks. Also three locks on classroom doors were tampered with. Members of the Indian Valley Grange are in the process of remodeling the Taylorsville Grange Hall. The building was originally constructed in October 1916 and has been the scene of many Grange and other community acitivites there. 25 YEARS AGO ..... 1990 Plumas District Hospital administator Linda Horn announced that the hospital has been successful in recruiting a surgeon, Dr. Richard Spady, to open a practice in Quincy. 10 YEARS AGO ..... 2005 More than 1,099 Plumas Unified School District bus passes were sold, raising $16,056 for the district and is closer to buying a new school bus. Note: items included in the weekly Remember . When column are taken from our bound newspaper archives and represent writing styles of that particular period. The spelling and grammar are not edited, so the copy is presented as it actually appeared in the original newspaper. backup generator. With no gas in Quincy and a need to stay plugged in, I called Greenville. The phone at the Mohawk station was busy, but I got throug h to Nellz Towne Pump and was informed that they were closed, but pumping gas. By the time I got to Greenville the generator at Nellz had broken down, leaving quite a mob at the MohaWk station, much of that crowd from Quincy and needing gas to keep their refrigerators charged. This whole scene was reminiscence of the great gas shortage of the '70s, but much more civil. But all was not hunky-dory at the gas pumps being as how the computer broke down. Eventually the gas station became somewhat of a social event while waiting for the electrons to wake up. Finally the pumps were on, I got 10 gallons of gas and headed home in the sure knowledge that I would be able to keep my TV addiction alive. As soon as I got home, of course, the power came back, leaving me with an extra 10 gallons of gas. But not so quick; Sunday, Feb. 15, while working on the computer there was a sharp explosion in the house and electricity died again. This time it exploded light bulbs, but that was all I knew at the time. Flip switches, start generator and commence to figure out what got fried. First there were six circuit breakers blown. I checked the computer and it was OK. Two surge protectors were surged out, but the microwave and refrigerator were good. But then, alas and awoe, the TV would not support my addiction anymore. Neither would the Dish receiver, the DVD player and the VCR. The entire entertainment suite was gone even though it was running through an expensive surge protector. As I scribble this story at 5:30 Monday, Feb. 16, the power has yet to be restored, and I am now in the market for a new TV. I got gas though• Friday, Feb. 6, the windows commenced to rattle, objects could be heard flying about, the trees across the street danced and the wind roared. We all know, we Plumans, that it's only a matter of time before the lights go off, and so it was. The only sound missing Friday night was that of fallingrain, but the next two days made up for that. "No problem," says I. Not only do I have a generator, there is an isolation switch to keep it company• Go to the breaker box, turn off the hot water heater then outside to the back deck, pull the isolation switch to disconnect PG&E, pull the string on the generator and behold; the house has lights, TV, computer and water. Also the refrigerator and freezer stay charged. There are a couple of things that prevent this system from being perfect; generator noise is constant and the thing needs a liquid petroleum product to run. There is also the slight problem of not knowing when the power comes back, but neighbors usually call and let me know. In this case gasoline became a problem. Troy Rittgers informed me that Quincy was also out of power, and all the gas stations were down. The gas thing kind of shocked me, like where do you live folks? At least one gas station should have a WILL FARRIS Staff Writer -- twice MY TURN Power outages shake up the Canyon