A matter of efficiency
July 2, 2002
I want to thank Troy Hooper for his article regarding the layoffs. Both his and Allyn Harvey’s accounts demonstrated sensitivity during this stressful period for county employees.
As I have been approached several times already by people who were very surprised that we would have laid off the persons we did – I’d like to reiterate: All three people were excellent employees who demonstrated only the most professional ethics.
It was the position they held that was no longer absolutely necessary for the county to function effectively.
The county will have to ask the voters to consider a revenue increase in property taxes to offset losses in sales taxes. Upon advice from citizen advisory boards and the elected, in order for Pitkin County to request any financial relief we must demonstrate that they have exhausted all avenues available in order to continue to meet service requirements mandated by law or expected by the public.
A common accusation of government is that it starts programs that are necessary, but never gets rid of them when they have outlived their usefulness. Another is that governments reorganize for efficiencies or to meet new service demands, but never get rid of redundant positions.
Two of the positions eliminated come as a result of a very recent reorganization. The third position was created only about six years ago to solve a problem. The employee in charge, due to her great history with Pitkin County, was transferred and assigned the task. She implemented a safety program that can now stand on its own.
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The county commissioners, with the help of the Financial Advisory Board and CAPCO (a citizen task force), will be making concentrated efforts to make “common knowledge” what Pitkin County government has and is doing to provide services and how they do it in a business-like and efficient manner.
Making public the elimination of these positions is painful to all concerned, but it is important that the community understand that Pitkin County employees stand behind a mission statement to provide services in an efficient and fiscally responsible manner.
My hope is that, as you learn more about county operations, as I have in the last five years, you will be as supportive of our county government as I have become.
Pitkin County Commissioner