After reading all the comments on the issue of the training retreat for the department heads of Nevada County, it seems to me that the time has come for a reasonable sense of perspective.
First of all, training, including executive and team training, is an essential and ordinary expense of every effective organization, public and private. Assuming the total reported cost of $18,000 is correct, a per-person cost of $600 is certainly reasonable.
Regarding the issue of the cost versus the state of the economy, it would seem to me that these are exactly the times we need a well-trained and cohesive county administration, an executive team that can perform effectively in tough times.
As to the location of the training, it is essential that this type of training be held in a location that assures that all participants are together for the duration of the sessions and that is far enough from the work location to preclude any interruptions. Holding the retreat anywhere in the Nevada City/Grass Valley area would have seriously jeopardized the success of the training.
The claims that the retreat is nothing more than a three-day vacation are an outright insult to the integrity of the county administration and are essentially asinine.
That being said, there is no question that the county administration itself did a very poor job of explaining the situation to the public once the issue came up. A clear-cut statement of what the actual cost was; the breakdown by element, i.e. housing, food, training cost; the reasons for going out of the area, etc., would have gone a long way in answering questions the public had.
What we should be focusing on is the overall job the county administration is doing on providing needed services at a reasonable cost, one that is comparable to other similar communities. How they do it is their job and micro-managing their methods is counterproductive.
Ronald P. Avanzino
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