“Figures don’t lie but liars do figure.” –Mark Twain
February 14, 2015
Last week Part 1 of “A Presentation of Distortions” dealt with the actual audited figures of revenues and expenditures over the past several years versus the figures County Manager, Karen Degges presented to the BOC.
This blog will show how Ms. Degges has also tried to justify her continuous hiring of more and more people (as questioned by TWG in a recent blog—BUILDING HER KINGDOM ONE EMPLOYEE AT A TIME) with questionable staffing figures presented to the BOC in the same presentation.
You can also see her entire Power Point presentation here
Remember, 2009 was the year when the economy took a nose dive and budgets and staffing both were cut in response to decreased property values and revenues.
In the Staffing part of the presentation Karen Degges shows that in 2009-2012 there were 6 people in the BOC office, when there were actually 4. See pages 2-4 of the presentation for the BOC staffing.
To get the number where she wants it to be–at 6, Ms. Degges added the maintenance person who worked under the Public Works Department to the BOC staff on her chart. This person worked on all county buildings and has never been included as BOC staff.
Ms. Degges also included the “billing clerk” as BOC staff. This position was always included under EMS until Ms. Degges brought that position into the BOC office in early 2014 despite protests of violating the HIPPA act. She shows this “billing clerk” in the BOC office from 2008-2013; this was never the case!
During 2010, 2011, and 2012 when Ms. Degges says staffing was at its highest, there were 4 people in the office—County Manager, Finance Manager, Human Resources, and Staff Accountant. However, during this time, everyone did what needed to be done, and there wasn’t a separate position of “County Clerk”; in fact during most of this time the County Manager served as County Clerk. Additionally, in 2012 after County Manager Greg Wood was terminated (August 2012), 3 people handled all the office duties for more than 6 months and got everything done on time and efficiently.
In the BOC office now, there are 6 staff members— a County Manager, Finance Director, Human Resources/County Clerk, Staff Accountant, Billing Clerk (who also answers the phone), and Administrative Specialist. Ms. Degges says she is just bringing the County back up the previous staffing levels. She presented the BOC a bogus chart to justify more people to do part of the job she was hired to do.
Her chart of Planning & Zoning personnel is just as deceptive. On pages 6-8 of her presentation, Ms. Degges shows a full-time P&Z director for 2009 when in fact that position was eliminated in early February of 2009. During the presentation she repeatedly said that it wasn’t until 2013 that P&Z was brought over to the courthouse, when in fact that took place in 2011 and there were only 2 staff members.
In order to make it look like the P&Z salaries are less now, the chart has Code Enforcement and the Building Inspector making $18 an hour in 2011 and 2012, when the same two people working now were working then—one at $16 per hour and one at $15 per hour. She also forgot to show the raises she has given to Sherry Braley in her chart; Mrs. Braley is now making $18.83 per hour. The extra $7.50 per hour shown for 2015 must be for a part-time code enforcement officer we’ve been hearing about for at least a year.
During her presentation of staffing, Ms. Degges showed a chart that had a total of 109 employees in 2014, including the 5 commissioners (page 11). We cannot comment on this figure since the BOC and P&Z staffing charts are so deceptive; it would be hard to rely on the figure of 109 total employees. However, Kelly Fox, who does the health insurance for the county employees, shows 125 full-time employees on his information presented to the BOC. So which is it?
If this BOC wants to continue to believe the distortions of fact, and if they want to believe that our 2 mil increase in property taxes will actually go to “a rainy day account,” it is very likely Jasper County is in for a long, hard road going forward.
If you like this newsletter, please forward to a friend and recommend they subscribe, too.
Your comments are welcome.