Nevada County supervisors give initial OK to consolidate elected offices | SierraSun.com

Nevada County supervisors give initial OK to consolidate elected offices

Dave Moller
Sun News Service

NEVADA CITY, Calif. and#8212; Efforts to combine the Nevada County Treasurer/Tax Collector and Auditor/Controller offices were boosted Tuesday when the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to grant initial approval during a special meeting Tuesday.

Supervisors are poised to give final approval at their Tuesday, Jan. 12, meeting. They also could appoint Auditor/Controller Marcia Salter to the blended position at the same meeting.

“This buys us a week before its thumbs up or thumbs down,” said Supervisor Ted Owens, of Truckee.

Supervisor Nate Beason, of Nevada City, wanted more information and comment from special districts and constituents before giving his final approval, he said.

The move to combine the offices started to unfold in November when Treasurer/Tax Collector Christina Dabis said she would step down from her elected post at the end of December, a year before her term expires.

It accelerated quickly last week, when Assistant County Executive Laura Matteson and interim County Counsel Michael Jamison realized they have a short window of time to consolidate prior to February candidate filing dates for the June primary election.

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If approved next week, the new office could be effective Feb. 11, just five days before candidacy intention papers are due.

The countys intent is to save $150,000 in salary and benefits by eliminating the Treasurer/Tax Collector position. Both departments deal with county funds.

Salter would get a 15 percent bump in salary and benefits for taking on both jobs, according to County Executive Officer Rick Haffey. That would increase her compensation about $30,000 annually to $150,000.

Salter took out papers for re-election to the Auditor/Controllers post Monday and said she would strongly consider running for the combined office if the supervisors approve it.

Businessman Bill Steele has said he will run for the Treasurer/Tax Collectors office, but had not pulled papers by Tuesday afternoon.

Not a single member of the public spoke when the matter came before the board Tuesday, but Chairman Hank Weston, of District 4 in the far western county, encouraged the public to comment prior to the Jan. 12 meeting.

“We would be very open to hear concerns and comments,” Weston said.

The supervisors can be reached at (530) 265-1480, and have offices on the second floor of the Rood Center at 950 Maidu Ave., in Nevada City.

“It would be prudent for us to review it for a week and see what comes up,” Weston added.

“This year is not going to be a fun year,” Weston said. “We have to start making an example to deal with the county’s dwindling tax revenues and the impact on services.”

Both Beason and south county Supervisor Ed Scofield had concerns about how one boss would maintain the checks and balances that exist between the two offices.

For instance, the Treasurer/Tax Collector, who makes county investments, would be the same person as the Auditor/Controller in charge of reviewing them, Scofield noted.

Supervisors themselves can review investments through reports already generated for meetings, Salter said. External audits also could bring transparency to the process, she said.

“As long as we have internal controls, I think it would it would be adequate,² Salter told the board.

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail dmoller@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4237.