When I saw that La Paz County was in yet another financial predicament, I found myself resisting the urge to say, “So what else is new?” Seriously, this county seems to bumble their way from one financial crisis to another on a regular basis.
If the county’s financial crises were movies, I’m not sure what the number of the sequel would be by now.
District 2 Supervisor Duce Minor made an important point when he said the Supervisors were being presented with projections, not real numbers. A budget is just that: a projection or an estimate. It doesn’t reflect the money an entity actually has, but is an estimate of what they will have. This estimate is based on many factors, including the previous year’s revenues and expenditures and economic factors.
Of course, projections are rarely 100 percent correct. Some years, you’re going to fall short and have a deficit. In other years, you’re going to have more than projected and can carry forward the balance to the next year.
County Administrator Megan Spielman also made an important point about “aggregate” numbers. These do not take into account the health of individual funds. The county has funds where they have plenty of money, but they can’t legally use those to prop up the general fund because they are restricted to certain uses.
What’s needed is for the Supervisors to be given real numbers periodically throughout the fiscal year so they can see how the county’s finances are doing. They can then take action if revenues are falling short of expenditures. The Supervisors need to be able to see what’s really happening, not just projections of what it is hoped will happen.
Parker Town Manager Lori Wedemeyer provides the Town Council with a quarterly financial report. This lets the council know where the town’s finances stand. Per the recommendation of one of the auditors, this is something the Supervisors should consider for the county.
Speaking of Wedemeyer, some Parker residents had some choice things to say about her regarding the resignation of Senior Center Director Darla Tilley. Tilley claims she was forced to resign due to unspecified allegations of bullying. It’s important to remember we don’t know all the details, and there are things the Town can’t tell us because this is a personnel matter.
At the April 20 Town Council meeting, Mayor Karen Bonds offered two good suggestions. First, she said an outside party should be brought in to look into the town’s personnel situation. This would be a good idea. It’s always good to get an informed opinion from someone who isn’t tied to the entities involved. It could be there are no problems. It could be there are a lot of things that need to be changed.
Her second suggestion was the Council should look into outsourcing for human resources services. Again, this is a good idea. If an employee has a problem with the town manager, it’s rather awkward they’d have to take it to the town manager. A third party is needed. I’m sure there are management companies the town could contract with, just as they contract out for town attorney and engineer services.
Bonds’s ideas are definitely something the Council should consider, and they should consider them soon.
On the national scene, I see commentators like Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens talking about why former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in the death of George Floyd.
I wonder if they’d considered the possibility the jury found Chauvin guilty because he was guilty.
It’s just something they should consider.