Deception and Cover Up by the BOC

July 2, 2013

Why does the BOC continue to engage in deception and cover-up?  Why are so many issues discussed and decided behind closed doors, via email and telephone and never in a public meeting?

Here are a few most recent examples:

Remember when the BOC decided that they were just too busy to come in to sign checks and wanted to approve an “autopen” to sign for them?  There were several questions raised, but they assured us that they would be reviewing all the checks through the computer and they would vote to approve the checks each month.  There would be plenty of oversight and accountability.  If you forgot, read any or all of the following links:

3/2/13  – Auto Pen approved for signing county checks
2/9/13  – Update on “Auto Pen” for County Checks
1/25/13 – BOC Considering “Auto Pen” to Sign County Checks

Guess what?  The BOC has not approved one check register in any meeting since the checks have been signed automatically.   This started the first of May.  They have violated their own policy and once again deceived the citizens about their accountability promises.

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Recently the BOC hired a new county manager, Karen Degges.  The Monticello News reported that she “will be compensated $80,000 for her first year, which is designed as probationary, and after that her salary will be increased to $85,000.”  Ms. Degges started working on June 20, according to the news report.  At the called department head meeting on Friday, June 21, Ms. Degges told those attending that she had a three year contract and she was here to stay. 

After asking for a copy of the contract through open records, the response was “no document existed.”  A copy of any employment agreement was also requested, and supposedly none existed.  If this is true why would Ms. Degges say she had a three year contract?  Or is it that this BOC does not want to the public to know what was agreed upon?  Any contract has to be voted on in public and put in the minutes to be valid.  Is there a contract or is there not?  Ms. Degges has no reason to make this up, but it seems the BOC wants to cover it up.

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Sharon Robinson has been introduced by Comm. Pennamon at the BOC meetings with many titles lately.  And each title brings another raise.  In January, Mrs. Robinson was given a $2.00 per hour raise when named County Clerk; this raised showed up on the HR report.  (Note that Mrs. Robinson is also HR director.)  In April Mrs. Robinson was named Interim County Manager at some point, but not in a public meeting and it was not voted on.  You would only know it by the introduction or by reading the meeting minutes.  At the same time she was given another raise of an additional $4.76 per hour or $9900 a year.  This brought her salary up to $54,995.  “Somehow” this raise was not reported on the HR report.  Why not?  In addition the BOC has a policy that no employee can be given a raise of more than $2.00 per hour without BOC approval–that means approval in open meeting.  The appointment nor the raise were ever mentioned or voted on by the BOC.

The raise was given 4/29/13 and was still in effect on 6/26/13.  Here’s the HR report showing “none” under pay rate changes.

The June 17 minutes show Sharon Robinson as Interim County Manager.  The June 27 minutes show Sharon Robinson as Ass’t County Manager.  Another appointment and title that was never voted on and approved.  Only the BOC can appoint a county manager or assistant county manager.  Will this new title merit $9900 in additional pay?  What additional duties have been added for this pay?

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Former County Manager, Lorri Smith, resigned the end of April.  She has been introduced as “County Consultant” at the meetings she continued to attend during the budget process in May and June.  According to a response to an open records request, Ms. Smith is being paid $50 per hour as the county consultant.  When was this position and pay rate approved by the BOC?  It must have been behind closed doors because it was not at any meeting.

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This BOC has earned the title of “The Most Secret Board Ever.”  Their adherence to Open Meetings Laws is severely lacking, and in fact one has to wonder if this BOC isn’t doing everything possible to keep the public in the dark while thumbing their noses at them and laughing about it behind closed doors.   All of course, while telling us how ethical this board is.

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