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Perks for management elite

My property taxes have gone up every year for the last several years, and it’s not particularly reassuring to know that some of it is going toward a soiree over in Placer County for Mr. Gaebler and his associates.

We are told that these events are needed to develop the skills of managers (who should have demonstrated their management capability before they were hired), to enhance the planning process (something they are already paid to do), and to facilitate communication (they probably have county-paid wireless phones – so use them!).



In truth, these retreats, seminars or whatever are perks for the management elite. Three days of free room and board, a couple of hours listening to motivational speakers, a day updating your mission statement and department objectives, hobnobbing with the big boss, a little tennis, a little golf – hey, this sounds almost like fun, and it probably fulfills one of Gaebler’s bonus requirements. The lessons learned, if any, are usually forgotten two hours after returning to work.




These shenanigans are fairly common in the private sector if the company is showing a profit and the stockholders and board of directors buy into it, a reward for good performance, if you will. It’s easy to tie the profit picture to the efficacious effects of off-campus management training. And, as Mr. Van Zant states, that is what has happened. Cost savings have been substantial because of improved management practices, he so implies. But, if the county is able to “save” money it’s because the budgeting and planning processes were flawed, we were shorted on services, they collected too much money via taxes in the first place, or some combination of the above. If the county is running a surplus, they should show their compassion and fairness by giving it back in the form of a tax reduction or a rebate. These are hard economic times – the taxpayers need a break.

John Coon

Grass Valley


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