Cover Letter
COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR'S

RESPONSE TO THE 1994-95

GRAND JURY'S INTERIM FINAL

REPORT ON THE MANAGEMENT

OF COUNTY GOVERNMENT

July 3, 1995

Kent M. Taylor, County Administrator

Note to Readers:

We have attempted to enhance readability and continuity of thought by reproducing the Grand Jury's report verbatim and inserting pertinent County Administrator's comments where appropriate. The County Administrator's comments are in bold type, while the Grand Jury's text is in regular type.

Report on the Management of County Government

INTRODUCTION

Early in its term, the 1994-95 Grand Jury reviewed responses to the reports from the 1993-94 Grand Jury, in particular those regarding creation of the now dismantled Agricultural and Environmental Management Department, which apparently went forward without the benefit of appropriate management review and analysis. It also held preliminary meetings with all members of the sitting Board of Supervisors. As a result of these two activities, the Jury became interested in determining:

How the County is being managed

Whether it is utilizing modern professional business tools and techniques

Whether it is actually being managed or governed at all.

An examination of the County's policy making and management structures was then initiated.

The Grand Jury first endeavored to understand the complexities and issues affecting the difficulty of governing the County. It noted that the County of Santa Barbara occupies approximately two thousand seven hundred and seventy four (2,774) square miles, and held a population of almost four hundred thousand (400,000) in 1994. Forty-three percent (43%) of this population resides in unincorporated areas, where the County Government serves as the "city" administration to provide essential services for large, diverse, and heavily populated areas of the County, such as Goleta, Orcutt and Isla Vista. The County's appropriations for fiscal year 1994-95 totaled approximately $400 million dollars, and it employs approximately four thousand staff members.

The Administrative structure of Santa Barbara County Government, as outlined in the "Master Organization Chart" provided as Exhibit A at the end of this report, includes:

The Board of Supervisors

The Administrative Officer and his staff

Fifteen (15) departments whose heads are non-elected, of which two (2) report directly to the Administrative Officer, and thirteen (13) who serve at the pleasure of the Board of Supervisors

Five (5) departments with elected department heads

Sixty-five (65) boards, commissions, and committees

Eighteen (18) elected judges

A Probation Officer appointed by the court

Three (3) Court Administrators.

County Administrator's Comment:

The Marshal was overlooked in the above listing. The Marshal is appointed by the Judges of the Municipal Courts. Also, there are 12 department heads appointed by the Board and two appointed by the County Administrator, for a total of 14, not 15 as cited by the Grand Jury.

Like all county governments, Santa Barbara County has faced serious challenges within the last few years due to the net loss of approximately $10 million over a two year period (a loss of $26 million due to a property tax shift and a $16 million inflow from Proposition 172 funds), and delays and uncertainties resulting from the unstable State budget which affected the County's ability for fiscal planning.

County Administrator's Comment:

The State's taking of property tax money from the County has resulted in an ongoing annual loss of approximately $10 million per year. The cumulative loss to date exceeds $20 million with another $10 million loss projected in 1995-96. The Grand Jury's short paragraph tends to downplay the significance of this loss of revenue. In my opinion this is the most serious problem the County faces.

Governance of the County was significantly impacted by two other factors:

Philosophical differences between elected officials from North and South regions of the County

The eighteen month period in which the legal winner of the Third Supervisorial District race was being contested in the courts.

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to answer the questions "Who is managing the County?" and "How is it being managed?" in terms of the structure, authority, and accountability; and to make recommendations, where possible, for improvements in this process.

The Grand Jury did not attempt to evaluate either the political philosophy of the elected officials, the direction of the actions taken by the Board of Supervisors, or the performance of individual departments, but focused only upon the quality of direction, governance, accountability and working environment provided by the Board and the County Administrator.

APPROACH

This study consisted of interviews with the five Supervisors sitting in 1994, the two new Supervisors elected on November 8, 1994, the County Administrative Officer, two Deputy County Administrators, two Administrative Analysts, and numerous elected and non-elected department heads and their staff. Some individuals were interviewed more than once. All of the documents listed in the References Consulted Section and in the Exhibits were studied and evaluated. The Grand Jury accepted the various definitions shown in Exhibit C.

County Administrator's Comment:

The report would have been more helpful if it had identified the "numerous elected and non-elected department heads and their staff who were interviewed." It is not clear to me why two of our administrative analysts were interviewed by the Grand Jury and others were not. The Grand Jury could have gained a more complete understanding of the operation of our office by meeting with all of our analysts.

BACKGROUND

To gain an understanding of the management of the County, or lack of it, it was enlightening to obtain a historical perspective on the findings of others, and the development of the ordinances and policies that create the current environment for the functioning of the County government.

The 1982-83 Santa Barbara County Grand Jury Final Report contained a critique of the County Administrative Officer's office. It found that sufficient emphasis was not given to operational planning and control. It further found that no operational objectives are documented and there was no periodic program review or required analysis.

The 1988-89 Santa Barbara County Grand Jury investigated the County management, with particular emphasis on the County Administrator's office, and enhanced its efforts by commissioning a consulting study by Richard E. Watson. In overview, it found that the Board was not providing any long range planning, the administration of the County was confused and fragmented, and that it was difficult to assess accountability. Their recommendations included (a) strengthening the County Administrator position, including consideration of transferring full authority for all non-elected department heads, (b) having the County Administrator prepare goals, objectives, and priorities for Board approval, and (c ) strengthening the evaluation system, since it was functioning without the setting of specific goals and objectives. This report apparently led to the initiation of what is now called the Transformation Study.

The Santa Barbara County Administrative Office Management Review/Strategic Plan (commonly called the Transformation Study) by CMSI, an outside consulting firm, was commissioned in 1989 and submitted as a draft on June 25, 1990, at a cost to the County of approximately $166,000. After extensive interviews, reports of various study groups, and analysis of the then current County administration, the consultants concluded;

"For the majority of groups, the core issues that has (sic) the most impact on the County are ineffective leadership and leadership vision coming either from the Board of Supervisors or the Administrative Office. Ineffective leadership vision was seen to drive four major issues:

Lack of Mission, Goals;

Inadequate strategic planning;

Confusion over role and authority of Board, Administrative Office; and

Poor decision making process."

One result of the Transformation Study was the amendment of Article X of Chapter 2 of the County Code, by Ordinance 3906 on February 19, 1991, for the intended purpose of strengthening the position of the County Administrator and clarifying the decision making procedures and accountability. The Statement of Intent unambiguously states, "The board fully intends to assign to the county administrator more clear and direct management authority and responsibility, and to hold him/her specifically accountable."

Another result of the Transformation Project was the MISSION - GOALS - PROGRAMS statement adopted by the Board in early 1992. This statement laid out in general terms the basic mission and five goals of the County, as well as certain specific goals for 1992 and 1993.

OBSERVATIONS

The Grand Jury has divided its observations relating to this study into six major areas:

Organizational structure, including the County Code regarding the powers of the County Administrator, the Transformation Study proposals and the initial MISSION - GOALS - PROGRAMS statement

The Board of Supervisors

The County Administrator

County departments with non-elected department heads

County departments with department heads elected by the voters of Santa Barbara County

.

The Citizens of Santa Barbara County.

Organizational Structure

Under the Implementation and Staging section of the Transformation Study it was stated; "For the Plan to be successfully implemented, there must be renewed commitment beginning with the Board of Supervisors down to and including representation of those affected." The Grand Jury could find no evidence that such commitment or effort was ever initiated.

The Transformation Study made twenty specific recommendations for the improvement of the leadership and governance of the County. Nine of the recommendations were within the direct purview of this Grand Jury study and it found four partially implemented and five not implemented at all.

County Administrator's Comment:

It would have been helpful had the Grand Jury identified specifically the Transformation Study's recommendations that were either partially implemented or not implemented at all. For the readers' information in the Spring of 1992, former Executive Assistant to the County Administrator, June Sochel, prepared an analysis and review of the Transformation Program. According to page 23 of that report, seven of the recommendations had been completed, some work had been done on seven other recommendations, eleven of the recommendations were ones where ongoing work was being pursued and four of the recommendations were ones where no work had been accomplished. I have reviewed the Transformation Study's recommendations in the process of developing this response. The following is my "tally" of our progress to date.

Implementation of

Transformation Study

Recommendations

Number Done Partial Not Done

1. X

2. X

3. X

4. X

5. X

6. X

7. X

8. X

9. X

10. X

11. X

12. X

13. X

14. X

15. X

16. X

17. X

18. X

19. X

20. X

_____ _____ _____

Total 7 7 6

When Article X, which relates to the position of the County Administrator, was adopted by the Board of Supervisors it generally followed the recommendations of the Transformation Study, except the Board added its own prerogative to deal with and transmit policy directly to department heads, rather than the Study's proposal to "..lay out guidelines for when it is appropriate for departments to work directly with the Board ..."

Among other requirements, Article X states:

"The board of supervisors acts primarily on establishing a strategic vision, goals, policies and budgets to meet legal mandates and the needs of county residents, on carrying out its legislative and decision-making responsibilities, and on communicating with and serving the citizens of the county," and

"The county administrator acts primarily on effective overall management of county resources, long range financial and organizational planning, ensuring that the county departments are producing services and results in accord with board goals, policies, and budgets, improving management and information systems to guarantee most effective use of county personnel, money, facilities, and equipment, and other specific duties assigned to the administrative office."

Witness testimony was that the consultants' original recommendation during the Transformation Study was to have a stronger County Administrator -- one with full authority with regard to all non-elected department heads. The recommendation was modified prior to submission of the report due to (1) objection from department heads, (2) objections from certain interest groups, and (3) the desire of certain Supervisors to retain their ability to direct various departmental actions.

The Board of Supervisors

The Grand Jury interviewed all five of the 1994-95 Board of Supervisors and the two incoming Supervisors for the Second and Fifth Districts. In four offices of sitting Supervisors where meetings were held, the Grand Jury observed stacks of reports and correspondence on their desks and the floor. Most Supervisors expressed difficulty in properly reviewing and handling all of the data in these documents.

County Administrator's Comment:

It is unclear whether the Grand Jury is being critical of Board members for reading too many reports and correspondence, or whether they are concerned over the lack of orderliness in some supervisors offices.

No Board member, even when questioned, identified to the Grand Jury a Santa Barbara County mission statement or goals. The Grand Jury later through a search of files and questions to various employees located a MISSION - GOALS - PROGRAMS statement adopted on January 27, 1992 and revised on February 4, 1992. This document was re-submitted to the Board by the County Administrator on February 9 and 22, 1993 for re-adoption, but was referred to the Budget Committee of the Board on February 22, 1993. The Budget Committee placed it on its agenda for March 8, 1993. Apparently no action was taken, as the Clerk of the Board employees were unable to determine that it had ever been returned to the Board. It was again placed on the Board agenda for February 7, 1995 by the County Administrator as part of the Report of Current Budget Status. No record can be found of any Board action as of April 1, 1995.

The first goal of the MISSION - GOALS - PROGRAMS, as adopted in 1992 was:

"GOAL I BOARD OF SUPERVISORS LEADERSHIP

To adopt, annually, clear and achievable goals and program priorities that address our community's most important needs."

The second goal was:

"GOAL II MANAGEMENT PERFORMANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY

To achieve the goals and program priorities adopted by the Board of Supervisors by optimizing managerial and organizational effectiveness.

The above goals are consistent with Section 2-69 (a) of Article X quoted previously. In spite of the foregoing, no Supervisor identified these to the Grand Jury as operational requirements. There was no evidence that any member of the Board was concerned with these requirements, and some were clearly indifferent. This was not too surprising, as one Supervisor told the Grand Jury they did not believe in that "mission stuff."

No meaningful departmental mission statements, goals or objectives could be located through the Board, even though specified in the Transformation Study and in Article X, although one Supervisor suggested the Grand Jury might look at what the Health Care Services Department was doing. The Grand Jury believes a clear understanding of policy, goals and objectives is essential to proper performance by the County Administrator and the departments.

County Administrator's Comment:

It is unclear why the Grand Jury sought departmental missions through the Board of Supervisors. A more straight forward approach would have been to simply ask each department head for these items. Apparently this was never done. Upon the issuance of the Grand Jury's report, I requested that departments provide me with copies of their missions, goals, objectives, and/or strategic plans and accomplishments that required strategic planning. Separate from this response, our office is compiling those submittals into a single document. That document will be issued this week as a supplement to this Grand Jury response.

On April 11, 1994 a Performance Measurement Workshop was conducted for certain department heads by the Auditor-Controller, with support from the County Administrator. A video tape from this workshop was viewed by the Grand Jury. A result of this workshop was a submission by the County Administrator to the Board on August 3, 1994, entitled Santa Barbara County Performance Measurements , which was a compilation of performance measurements by the various department heads. The Grand Jury found that while most of these submissions had a Statement of Purpose and a list of potential items to be measured, for the most part it was a wholly inadequate effort. The Grand Jury could find no evidence that either the Board or the County Administrator attempted to evaluate the submissions or request more refined data.

County Administrator's Comment:

It would have been helpful had the Grand Jury indicated specifically why the submissions by the department heads constituted "a wholly inadequate effort."

The Auditor-Controller, in a letter to the Board for the Agenda of February 7, 1995, responding to a Board request, proposed a scaled down new effort. On February 14, 1995, the Board by Minute Order directed the County Administrator to implement a Performance Measurement program in departments to be selected by him. The County Administrator and the two Deputies have each recently attended a two day workshop to prepare for this implementation.

Individual Board members stated that they had differing relationships to the non-elected department heads. Their testimony, and that of department sources, suggested that some individual Board members inject themselves into day to day operations, and tend to micro-manage when it suits their interests. One Supervisor even bragged to the Grand Jury how a problem was solved through direct interference by the Supervisor in the interrelationship of two departments by entering into an issue below the department head level. The Board policy of direct relationships with non-elected department heads, when combined with "hire and fire" authority", appears to undercut the County Administrator in his efforts to manage the County's activities. The Board purports to maintain their "historic relationship" with non-elected department heads with regard to "policy," but testimony suggests that "policy" is frequently interpreted individually, rather than by a majority agreement of the Board.

County Administrator's Comment:

It would have been helpful had the Grand Jury indicated specific examples of the alleged micro-management of appointed department heads by members of the Board of Supervisors.

Board Members did not agree among themselves regarding the duties of the County Administrator, even though these are detailed in Article X of the County Code. Some members had varying interpretations, and one did not even accept the validity of the existence of this ordinance.

Although Article X refers five times to "accountability," primarily in relation to the County Administrator, the Board has not seen fit to complete a performance evaluation of the County Administrator during his entire tenure.

County Administrator's Comment:

The current Board of Supervisors has completed a written performance evaluation developed by the 1994 Board of Supervisors and that written evaluation has been placed in my official file in the Personnel Department.

The Grand Jury found no Board directed incentive programs designed to promote and effectively reward innovation and creativity, make the government more flexible and innovative, improve delivery of higher quality service, improve responsiveness to its customers, offer more choices, or accomplish productive change. The Grand Jury did review the Suggestion and Awards program operated under a Suggestion Review Committee, and a letter to the Grand Jury from the County Administrator's office providing additional information. During the last six years, there was an average cash award of $6,550 to 24 recipients, with the awards dropping off somewhat after the first three years. This program, while meritorious, does not address the needed impetus to major change.

County Administrator's Comment:

The Grand Jury overlooked the fact that the Board of Supervisors directed that the County Suggestion Award Program be expanded to include public suggestions. Also, while the Grand Jury does not view the Suggestion Award Program as providing "needed impetus to major change" it is unclear exactly what sort of incentive program the Grand Jury thinks would be appropriate.

Most Board Members stated that they have little or no control over the elected department heads, except through budget appropriations. Those elected department heads who testified stated that they are directly responsible to the county electorate as a whole, and not to the Board of Supervisors or the County Administrator.

The County Administrator

The County Administrator, when questioned, did not identify to the Grand Jury any departmental mission statements, goals or objectives, although specified in the Transformation Study and Article X, except for a statement that the Auditor-Controller and the AEM Department had developed some.

County Administrator's Comment:

This is not an accurate portrayal of either what I was asked by the Grand Jury or what I told it. I was asked if the County had a single document that included all the departments mission statements, goals and objectives. I answered that I was not certain that a single document included these items and that perhaps the closest that we might have that was current would be the Performance Measure documents that was submitted to the Board of Supervisors in the summer of 1994. I believe that I also stated that I felt that the Auditor-Controller and the Agricultural and Environmental Management Departments both did a good job of linking their performance measures to mission statements. As stated in an earlier response, we are compiling the departmental missions, goals and objectives as a supplement to this response that will be issued this week.

Article X of the County Code, and good management practice, requires the County Administrator to enter into performance agreements with each non-elected department head to detail the annual understandings regarding the key factors in accomplishment of the County and departmental goals and objectives. There was no evidence presented until late March 1995 that any existed, when the Grand Jury was advised that they were being developed as evaluations were being accomplished.

County Administrator's Comment:

The Grand Jury here appears to be using performance agreements and performance evaluations synonymously. During the Transformation Program, these were not considered the same. Performance agreements were documents which included what the department planned to do for the following year. Performance evaluations were the County Administrator's assessment of the appointed department heads' performance.

Since I have been with the County, there has been a combination of these two such that the performance evaluation being completed for each department head includes goals, and objectives that are mutually derived.

There exists a ten page evaluation form for the annual review of the non-elected department heads. At the time of our review, over the prior three years only one department head had received a complete evaluation, and apparently one other received a partial evaluation. When questioned about this by the Grand Jury, most members of the Board of Supervisors expressed surprise at this, and apparently had never noticed that such evaluations, which they must approve, had not been performed. In spite of the non-existence of annual performance evaluations, most department heads regularly received their annual merit payroll increases. One department head received such a merit increase while on extended sick leave for most of the year. In late March of 1995 the Grand Jury was advised that evaluations of department heads had been started--two were completed and the remaining would be completed by May.

County Administrator's Comment:

The ten page evaluation form the Grand Jury is referring to was developed by a task force of County department heads and myself. While I could make excuses, completion of these evaluations is my responsibility. They will be completed by the end of this summer. Of the 14 department head evaluations in question, as of this date 4 have been approved by the Board of Supervisors this year, 7 are being finalized for submittal to the Board, 2 departments are being currently managed by acting department heads, and 1 department head's evaluation is not currently due.

The County Administrator has not performed many of the management functions required by Article X, possibly due to:

His relatively weak position, since all but two department heads are either elected or basically responsible to the Board, and the individual Supervisors maintain direct contact with the non-elected department heads,

County Administrator's Comment:

Unfortunately, the Grand Jury failed to enumerate the "many" management functions that I have not performed. Therefore, it is impossible to respond to the above allegation.

The fact that the major share of the County Administrator's time is spent on the budget and in meetings with the Board, leaving insufficient time for organization, management and control.

County Administrator's Comment:

What is stated here as a "fact" is incorrect. The Grand Jury never asked me how I spend my time. While almost all my activities ultimately involve financial resources, the following is a more specific breakdown of my activities for 1994.

Board of Supervisor Meetings 288 hours

Individual Supervisor Meetings 102 hours

Meetings with individual Department Heads 223 hours

CAO Staff Meetings 153 hours

Budget Meetings 155 hours

Other Meetings 612 hours

Desk Time (Reading, Writing, 320 hours

Telephone Calls)

Other (Jury Duty, Vacation, Holiday, Sick) 227 hours

Total 2,080 hours

Non-elected (Appointed) Department Heads

The Grand Jury noted that many witnesses from different parts of County government independently used the term "fiefdoms" when discussing county departments. This word, defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as "..the estate or domain of a feudal lord," suggests that each county department runs as an independent entity with few centralized controls, evaluations, or accountability. The Grand Jury received witness testimony and documentary evidence suggesting that this does, in fact, describe the situation accurately.

County Administrator's Comment:

It is unclear why the Grand Jury is discussing the concept "fiefdoms" under the heading of appointed department heads. Departments managed by elected department heads are much more independent than those run by appointed department heads. I don't agree with referencing the operations of appointed or elected department heads as "fiefdoms."

There are presently thirteen (13) departments with non-elected department heads employed "at the will" of the Board of Supervisors, and two departments (Personnel and General Services) whose heads report directly to the County Administrator. The County Administrator has hire/fire authority over only these two department heads. Other department heads may be hired and fired only by majority vote of the Board of Supervisors.

Witnesses have described a tradition of strong departments and the development of informal authority by influential department heads in both County government and the private community. This has been described as "subtle back scratching" among department heads which bypasses the established lines of authority.

County Administrator's Comment:

There are 10 at-will department heads appointed by the Board of Supervisors, not 13 as referred by the Grand Jury. The County Counsel and Agricultural Commissioner are appointed for four year terms and are removable only for cause, and are therefore not at-will department heads. Regarding the second paragraph above, without any specifics or evidence being cited, it is impossible to respond to the allegations.

Departments have taken wide latitude in everything from whether or not to consult the Personnel Department on promotional examinations to a lack of mission statements, goals and objectives for use in evaluating a department's performance.

County Administrator's Comment:

No specific departments are referenced. Also, "everything" in this context is not defined. Lack of specificity makes this allegation impossible to respond to. I agree that our office could do more in seeing that departments' missions, goals and objectives are updated frequently and combined in a single document for the public and Board of Supervisors review. However, this statement leads the reader to conclude that appointed department heads are out of control. I strongly disagree.

Although no standards or direction have been set for departmental missions, goals and objectives, some departments have initiated them on their own. During the course of this investigation, the Grand Jury encountered an excellent example of these policies and procedures in the "Customer Service Recommendations" created by the Santa Barbara County Health Care Services Department. The efforts of this department are to be commended and could be used as a positive example for others.

County Administrator's Comment:

I don't agree that standards and direction have not been given in this area. For example, the following is the "rationale" for the Goal II, in the Board of Supervisors mission, goals and programs statement adopted in January 1992:

"The Board of Supervisors is the primary entity responsible for articulating the direction, priorities, and desired results in the use of the County's fiscal resources. Once this direction is set, in the form of Mission, Values, Major Goals, and Program Priorities, it is up to staff, especially at the executive level, to outline how these will be accomplished, including project options, costs, funding sources, and impact on other priorities. It is also the responsibility of the executives and the County Administrator to ensure that all of the organization's activities support these Board-set directions; this is what the Board means by alignment."

Clearly the intent of the Board-adopted policy is that departments' mission, goals and programs will be aimed at supporting Board adopted missions, goals and programs. I believe this is an important standard that has been set by Board policy. However, the Grand Jury is correct in concluding that there is a need for the County to update the Board adopted mission, goals and programs.

Elected Department Heads

Those elected department heads who testified stated that they are directly responsible to the county electorate as a whole, and not to the Board of Supervisors or the County Administrator. There is no evaluation of their performance, other than by the electorate for whom sufficient information regarding that performance is difficult to obtain.

County Administrator's Comment:

I don't concur that it is difficult to obtain information about the performance of elected department heads. If the Grand Jury had asked the elected department heads for evaluation criteria, they would have received it.

Detailed information from the Auditor-Controller regarding his programs for managerial improvement in the department was analyzed by the Grand Jury. These include a comprehensive Mission Statement, Statement of Principles and Values, Departmental Goals and Objectives, and individual Goals for each Section of the Operating Division. The Grand Jury also reviewed status reports that indicated good follow up, and many examples of performance measurement and process monitoring, the use of which resulted in significant improvements in performance. Records indicated a thorough and thoughtful employee review program.

The Grand Jury reviewed the Mission Statement, Organization Statement, training program and the Work Evaluation and Review (WEAR) program of the Sheriff's Department and found them to be well done and productive. There was, however, no evidence of measurable goals and objectives, other than those in each employee's performance measurements in the WEAR program.

County Administrator's Comment:

Readers should review the Sheriff's response to the Grand Jury report.

The District Attorney stated that his department had mission statements and departmental objectives. He presented the 1992 Annual Report and a Management Tools booklet, in which the Grand Jury could find no meaningful mission statement, goals or measurable objectives. When asked by the County Administrator to participate in the performance measurement program attempt in 1994, the District Attorney's office declined. Testimony was that the primary management techniques used in the department were hands-on management and supervisor staff meetings.

County Administrator's Comment:

Readers should refer to the District Attorney's response to the Grand Jury report.

The Citizens of Santa Barbara County

The Civil Grand Jury is composed of nineteen citizens from all parts of Santa Barbara County. Most of them have no prior background in government, and their traditional "watchdog" role is free from pressure by any outside group. Even with the power of the Grand Jury to obtain information from governmental sources, and the generally cooperative effort by these agencies, the Grand Jury has considerable difficulty determining what is actually going on in some areas of County government. It follows that if the Grand Jury finds it difficult to locate and comprehend information about government functions, it must be almost impossible for an average citizen to do so.

County Administrator's Comment:

It is unclear at what this paragraph is aiming. Santa Barbara County government is an over $400 million a year conglomerate public corporation providing probably the widest range of government services of any level of government in California. I regret that the Grand Jury had difficulty locating information. It is unfortunate that the Grand Jury had difficulty comprehending information about County government functions.

An example is the budget of Santa Barbara County, a large technical document in which the costs of many actual services are rarely identified. It has often been necessary for departments to do special research in order to provide cost figures for Grand Jury inquiries into matters such as transporting minors to and from Juvenile Hall, housing employees at the County parks, and various other programs.

County Administrator's Comment:

The County's budget is a large technical document. However, I am not sure that it is reasonable to expect that the budget document itself would include such detailed information as the cost to transport a minor to and from juvenile hall and/or to house employees at County Parks. While it is legitimate to ask for this kind of cost information on specific programs, I don't concur that the budget document itself should include this kind of information. There appears to be some confusion on the Grand Jury's part between the purpose of a budget document versus appropriate, necessary cost accounting.

County departments generate massive numbers of reports and statistics. Anyone wishing to gather facts on a relevant issue from the sources must be able to obtain all current relevant documents, review the contents, and cross-check with other sources. Much of this data is not available to the average citizen. Another problem is the extremely vague and legalistic language in which government documents are written. Unfortunately, the very style of this bureaucratic syntax makes it almost impossible for anyone to draw a solid interpretation of the facts on a given issue. The Grand Jury has spent many hours with various officials in attempting to find out exactly what these documents mean. The average citizen rarely has this opportunity.

County Administrator's Comment:

Again, it is unclear as to the intent of this paragraph. Santa Barbara County prides itself on being open to the public in fostering participation. While the County strives to avoid jargon and "bureaucratese" in its documents, frequently we must make necessary references to language in state or federal law or regulations. The County will continue to try and make its documents user friendly to the public.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS

The data reviewed from 1982 to date indicate the recurring theme of a lack of professional management as shown by the absence of strategic initiatives, performance measurements and accountability. Some Supervisors were aware of this lack and considered it a problem; others did not find the lack of management tools utilized by the Board of Supervisors and the County Administrator to be a significant problem. The line between setting policy and managing day-to-day county operations is apparently unclear.

County Administrator's Comment:

It is true that previous Grand Juries have cited a concern about a lack of missions, goals objectives, and vision in County government. The County Transformation Program was aimed at filling those needs. Also, as readers will see in the supplement to the Grand Jury response our office is issuing this week, departments have done a good deal of work in this area. It is unclear how the last sentence of the above paragraph relates to the rest of the paragraph.

The Board and County Administrator continue the historical pattern of focusing their efforts on crisis management and how to fit the current years estimated resources into the prior mode of operation -- rather than how to re-evaluate and/or re-structure the operations to better serve its constituency in a more efficient manner. Several Supervisors used the difficult periods of revenue loss and budget uncertainty as an excuse for not addressing improved management performance, rather than the recognition that professional management techniques are the solution to maintaining and/or improving service to its citizens within the existing constraints.

County Administrator's Comment:

This paragraph ignores the substantial amount of County department consolidation and restructuring that has occurred in the last two years. The purpose of such restructuring was aimed at reorganizing operations to better serve the citizens. Later, under findings and recommendations, my response goes into this area in greater detail.

A partial explanation of this lack of progress in improving management practices appears to be that the County is a weakly interconnected system which is resistant to change for the following basic reasons:

The citizens of Santa Barbara County elect the Board of Supervisors and the five elected department heads and, in general, are responsible for the government. Most citizens base their vote on personal preferences, a particular agenda, support of a special interest group, dislike of an opponent, or one of many other reasons. Their decisions are mainly based upon the media exposure and the evaluation of candidate positions, and it is extremely difficult for them to obtain accurate information on the candidates skill and/or their inclination and ability to govern the County in the best interest of its citizens.

County Administrator's Comment:

It is not clear how the above indictment of our political system relates to the stated problem of "a system which is resistant to change."

The Board of Supervisors is elected to govern the County and fulfill other legal functions. Many candidates are elected primarily on a narrow agenda, rather than their managerial skills or promotion of the well being of the County as a whole. They apparently find it easier and more politically rewarding to focus on narrow issues and micro manage operations than to provide the necessary vision, and promote performance measurement and accountability. As one Supervisor told the Grand Jury, "To affect change one must use up political capital, and most elected officials are reluctant to do that."

County Administrator's Comment:

Apparently the Grand Jury does not care for the performance of some former and/or current members of the Board of Supervisors. Under our system of government, this evaluation should be left up to the voters.

Elected Department heads are chosen by the entire electorate, and also are selected more upon a few issues, rather than managerial skills. Some of these officials appear to provide lip service frequently when dealing with the Board of Supervisors in jointly addressing important County issues. The fact that these officials are frequently unopposed in the elections removes an essential form of accountability.

County Administrator's Comment:

This paragraph is flawed with unfortunate innuendo. Is the Grand Jury saying that some elected department heads are not good managers? If so, which ones are being referenced? What are the examples of some elected department heads "providing lip service in dealing with the Board in jointly addressing important County issues?" As to the last sentence, obviously if elected department heads are not opposed in their re-election races, one could conclude that the voters have considered their performance, held them accountable, and found their performance to be satisfactory.

The County Administrator spends most of his time involved with the budget and Board of Supervisors' business matters, rather than managing the County functions, an unfortunate problem that has existed for many years. It is not entirely clear whether this lack is a result of the County Administrator's reluctance to exercise leadership and perform the functions in his job description, or whether the Board through its actions and their lack of leadership prevent him from effectively accomplishing these duties.

County Administrator's Comment:

This paragraph restates a previous misstatement as to how I allocate my time which was responded to earlier. No specifics are given as to what County functions I am not managing. Accordingly, it is impossible to respond to such a vague allegation.

Non-elected department heads are basically chosen by, and ultimately report to, the Board of Supervisors, though responsible under the County Code to the County Administrator. These departments, due to abdication of effective responsibility by both the Board and the County Administrator, operate with a great deal of autonomy and little or no accountability. Whenever there are attempts to create new procedures, they are regarded as "fads" to be endured until the next change in philosophy by a new Board.

County Administrator's Comment:

This paragraph overlooks the fact that under Article X, the County Administrator recommends the final applicant for an appointed department head position to the Board of Supervisors. Every appointed department head who has come to the County service since I have been County Administrator, (with the exception of the County Counsel who is appointed directly by the Board) has been recommended to the Board by me. I also prepare the performance evaluations of these individuals to be considered by the Board of Supervisors. These factors cause the appointed department heads to be accountable to both the Board of Supervisors and the County Administrator which I believe was the intent of the current County Code. The paragraph omits any specifics as to "great deal of autonomy and little or no accountability" that is cited. Again, this broad, vague allegation without specifics is impossible to respond to. Finally, the last sentence is a particularly unfair criticism leveled at the appointed department heads. There are no examples cited showing where appointed department heads have regarded new procedures as "fads to be endured until the next change in philosophy by a new Board."

FINDING #1: The Grand Jury finds that the Board and the County Administrator engage in crisis management rather than leading and governing. Although a Strategic Planning Process was strongly recommended in the 1990 Transformation Study, required by Article X, and considered essential to proper business planning, the County has never fully implemented this leadership process. A detailed MISSION - GOALS - PROGRAMS statement was adopted on January 27, 1992 and amended on February 4, 1992 as the first step; however, strategic initiatives based upon this statement were never undertaken.

County Administrator's Comment:

No examples are cited by the Grand Jury of crisis management nor is the term defined. Several departments have completed strategic plans; examples are listed in the separate document we are issuing this week on departmental missions, goals and objectives. I agree that the strategic planning reflected in the "Santa Barbara County Administrative Office Management Review/Strategic Plan" and the Board's 1992 Mission, Goals, and Programs statement should be updated and I intend to cause this to be completed during 1995-96.

While the Grand Jury fails to define "strategic initiatives" presumably they are actions that implement or help achieve the Board's above referenced statement. I disagree that no such initiatives have been taken. The following examples tie directly to the 1992 Board-adopted mission, goals and programs statement:

1. An annual legislative program has been planned and executed.

2. Each appointed department head will have their performance evaluated in writing by the end of this summer.

3. The Board has furthered the idea of developing measurable results by:

a. Funding a new automated financial system that will allow for program budgeting, improved cost accounting leading to wider use of performance measures.

b. Directing our office to work with a group of departments in developing performance measures.

4. Notwithstanding the County's difficult financial condition, the Board has provided funds for selected salary inequity adjustments.

5. The Board authorized a position in the Health Care Services department devoted to implementing Total Quality Management (TQM). The Board has also provided funds for several departments to receive TQM training.

6. The Board has approved the formation of the Family Services Council to further collaborative service planning and delivery by the Health Care Services, Mental Health Services, Social Services, Probation and Job Training Network departments.

7. The County Mental Health Department has obtained a multimillion dollar federal grant for a multi-department collaborative approach to providing services to 1,500 at-risk children in the County.

8. Community Plans have been completed for the communities of Goleta and Montecito and such a plan for Orcutt is being completed.

9. Streamlining of land use permitting has been continually enhanced.

10. The Board formed the County Economic Development Commission in an attempt to strengthen the local economy. Also, a contract Economic Development Coordinator was hired in order to accomplish the goals of retaining current businesses and attracting new ones.

11. The County's Information Systems Strategic Plan has been continually updated.

12. The Board has provided funding for coordinated automation of departmental information needs in terms of accounting and financial information and the property tax system.

13. The Board just recently approved funding for new software for personal computers in all the departments to foster information sharing and compatibility.

14. The Board approved funding for a new automated 911 computer aided dispatch system during 1994-95.

15. The Board has approved massive reorganization of county departments to reduce the number of department heads and related costs, improve functional alignment, improve the County Administrator's span of control, improve efficiency and effectiveness.

16. The Board approved the privatization of jail medical services in County jail during 1994-95.

RECOMMENDATION #1a: The Grand Jury recommends that within the next sixty (60) days, the Board of Supervisors, assisted by the County Administrator, assess the County's long term and short term needs, and revise, adopt and enforce the County MISSION-GOALS-PROGRAMS.

County Administrator's Comment:

The recommendation to assess long-term and short-term needs and revise, adopt and enforce the County mission, goals and programs statement in 60 days is unrealistic. However, as noted above, I agree that this should be done and intend to see that the County's mission statement, goals, and program statement are updated during 1995-96. I don't understand what is meant by "enforce" the revised mission, goals and programs statement; perhaps the Grand Jury means the Board's revision should be integrated into each department's own missions, goals and programs statement. If this is the meaning, I agree.

RECOMMENDATION #1b: The Grand Jury recommends that the Board of Supervisors direct the County Administrator to prepare, within sixty (60) days following adoption of Recommendation #1a, for Board approval of proposed strategic initiatives designed to accomplish the intent of the Board's Mission statement. These two documents, when adopted, would establish a framework within which the County Administrator and department heads can develop their individual management programs.

County Administrator's Comment:

As noted earlier, the Grand Jury failed to define the phrase "strategic initiatives." Presumably this refers to those critical actions the County will take to further or accomplish the intent of the mission, goals and programs statement. I am not convinced that 60 days is sufficient time for this activity. However, as noted earlier, it is my intent to see that the strategic elements of the Transformation Program report and the County mission, goals and programs statement are updated during 1995-96. Following this process it would be appropriate to identify action steps.

RECOMMENDATION #1c: The Grand Jury recommends that a formal follow-up procedure should be established to ensure an annual review of the plan developed under #1b. The currently successful programs of the Auditor-Controller and Health Care Services Departments could serve as models for other departments.

County Administrator's Comment:

Recommendation #1b makes no reference to a "plan." However, if the Grand Jury is referring to the updated mission, goals and programs statement, as well as strategic initiatives referenced in Recommendation #1b, then I concur that an annual review is appropriate.

FINDING #2: Neither individual Supervisors nor the County Administrator identified any meaningful departmental Mission Statements, Programs, Goals, Performance Measurements or other form of department professional management systems. These procedures would facilitate accomplishment of the Board's Mission and other directives through the clarity of mission, measurement and accountability required to operate an efficient organization geared to promoting customer responsiveness, stimulating innovation and creativity, and providing higher quality services with increasing cost effectiveness.

County Administrator's Comment:

The Grand Jury inquired of me as to whether or not we had a compilation or a single document which included each department's mission statements, goals and objectives. I responded that I did not think that we had a single document that included these items. The closest thing in my experience was the compilation of departmental performance measures that was considered by the Board in the summer of 1994. This was not intended to convey that there were no departmental missions, goals or objectives. We have requested that departments provide us with this information and the departmental submittals are included in the Grand Jury response supplement document we are issuing this week. Regarding performance measurement, in addition to the countywide effort last year, at Board direction, our office is working on a pilot project of developing meaningful performance measures with a small group of departments.

I was not asked by the Grand Jury if we had some other form of "department professional management systems." The meaning of this phrase is unclear. The Grand Jury seems to believe that County departments need a management approach such as Total Quality Management, Management by Objectives, or some other management "system" to guide their management decisions. I don't concur. Department heads are expected as the County's executive management team to be fully capable of managing their departments, carrying out the functions of management, i.e., planning, organizing, staffing, scheduling, coordinating, directing, budgeting, evaluating and communicating. The Grand Jury seems to feel that the County and departments should have a "system" that tells them how to carry out these functions of executive management. Again, I don't concur.

RECOMMENDATION #2: The Grand Jury recommends that the Board of Supervisors instruct the County Administrator to direct and coordinate the development and implementation of appropriate Mission Statements, Objectives, Goals and Performance Measurements and the supporting Performance Agreements with each Board appointed department head to implement the overall County goals within ninety (90) days of the completion of Recommendation #1b. As part of their oversight function, the Board would review and evaluate the quality and timeliness of the ongoing program by reviewing the Mission Statements, Goals and Objectives, and Performance Agreements initially, and annually thereafter.

County Administrator's Comment:

I think it is appropriate for departments to update their mission statements, goals and objectives after the Board's revision of the County's overall mission, goals and programs. However, ninety days is an unrealistic time table. I would suggest that ninety days be only a goal which will be adjusted, if necessary. I don't agree that this should include performance measures until the Board's revision to the above-referenced mission goals and programs statement. Since we have merged performance agreements and the department heads' annual performance evaluation, I think it is appropriate to see that departments' goals and objectives be linked to that evaluation. I agree that the Board should review departments' revised missions, goals and objectives annually.

FINDING #3: Departments headed by elected officials are responsible to the electorate and not directly responsible to the Board of Supervisors. Nevertheless, due to the budgetary interrelationship, the Grand Jury finds that every department headed by an elected official, who has not already done so, needs to have a Mission Statement coordinated with the MISSION - GOALS - PROGRAMS, and the necessary strategic initiatives, objectives, goals and performance measurements recommended above to improve performance and cost effectiveness.

County Administrator's Comment:

I agree with this finding, but I think elected departments may wish to wait until the Board has revised its mission, goals and programs statement to the County as a whole. On the other hand, if they wish to proceed with developing their performance measures, they are free to do so.

RECOMMENDATION #3a: The Grand Jury recommends that each elected department head, who has not already done so, within the time allotted in Recommendations #1a and #1b, adopt a Mission Statement and implement the supporting strategic initiatives.

County Administrator's Comment:

I concur with this recommendation. If the Board updates the County's overall mission, goals and programs statement during 1995-96, the elected department heads should re-evaluate their mission statements and strategic initiatives in order to align with the Board's statement.

RECOMMENDATION #3b: The Grand Jury recommends that each elected department head, who has not already done so, within the time allotted in Recommendation #2, develop and implement management and measurement procedures to accomplish the intent of Recommendation #3a. The currently successful programs of the Auditor-Controller and Health Care Services departments could serve as models for other departments.

County Administrator's Comment:

The phrase "management and measurement procedures" is somewhat unclear. If the reference is to performance measures, my response to Recommendation #3a applies here as well. Since the Auditor-Controller and the Health Service Departments are both utilizing total quality management techniques, apparently the Grand Jury is suggesting that the elected department heads should do so as well. Instead, I think department heads should utilize those management techniques they feel will be most successful in accomplishing their department's mission, goals and objectives.

FINDING #4: Extensive witness testimony, admissions by several members of the Board of Supervisors, and observation of County management practices show that individual Supervisors micro-manage issues with individual departments, which the Grand Jury finds interferes with the efficient management and operations of the County and distracts the Board of Supervisors from their more important responsibilities of vision, strategy, goals, policy and legislation.

County Administrator's Comment:

Since no example of "micro-managing" is cited in the Grand Jury's report, it is impossible to respond to this finding. While the Board frequently deals with complicated, detailed land use matters, doing so is simply one of the legal duties of the Board of Supervisors.

RECOMMENDATION #4a: The Grand Jury recommends that the Board of Supervisors cease micro-managing departmental operations and thus allow development of an efficient chain of command and permit the Board to concentrate on its primary obligation to establish a strategic vision, goals, policies, budgets and legislation to properly address the needs of the citizens of the County.

County Administrator's Comment:

My response to Finding #4 also applies here. Additionally, as referenced earlier, I will be recommending that the Board re-visit the 1992 Board-adopted mission, goals and programs statement during 1995-96.

RECOMMENDATION #4b: The Grand Jury recommends that the Board amend Article X to delete Section 2-69(c) and revise Section 2-69(d) to state that policy will be transmitted to non-elected department heads through the County Administrator by Minute Orders, rather than through the informal individual direction which currently exists.

County Administrator's Comment:

While I have no quarrel philosophically with this direction, the Board and the public should realize that two undesired consequences may result. First, policy implementation may take longer because it would involve communication from the Board of Supervisors to the County Administrator and from the County Administrator to department heads. Since this would be formalized via the Board of Supervisors' minute order, the County Administrator's direction to department heads would also be formalized in memoranda. While all this formality would reduce ambiguity, it would also take additional time. Secondly, this would occur at the same time the County Administrator's staffing is being reduced in 1995-96. The Transformation Program's recommended staffing levels for the County Administrator's office have never been realized, due mainly to the financial problems the County has been experiencing. If additional work is added in the form providing policy and direction to appointed department heads in a formal way, there is a likelihood that additional staff resources in the County Administrator's office will be required to keep the change from substantially slowing down County Government.

Not every organization in the late 1990's is trending toward stronger centralization of power. The visionary book on the future,Megatrends by John Naisbitt, has a whole chapter on forces at work in public and private organizations in our country and throughout the world which are tending towards decentralization of power. This is not to suggest that there is anything wrong with the Grand Jury's intent in strengthening the County Administrator's position. I am only pointing out that centralization of power is not a panacea for organizations.

Lastly, the Grand Jury's recommendation is aimed specifically at appointed department heads. It's unclear what the Grand Jury has in mind as far as conveying Board of Supervisors' policy to elected department heads. Perhaps the Grand Jury believes that Board of Supervisors' policies are not applicable to elected department heads. While this is true in some cases, it is not always the case.

RECOMMENDATION #4c: The Grand Jury recommends that the Board modify Section 2-75(e) of Article X to provide that the County Administrator appoint all non-elected department heads, except the County Counsel, and modify Section 2-75(f) to state that the County Administrator shall take appropriate action upon completion of each department head's annual performance review.

County Administrator's Comment:

I have no quarrel with this recommendation. However, the Board should realize that there can be strong philosophical differences over the issue of transferring too much power to a single appointed official. I would also point out that under the current ordinance, with the exception of the County Counsel, (which is a special case under County Ordinance) every appointed department head who has been appointed since I have become County Administrator was recommended to the Board of Supervisors by me and their performance is evaluated by me. Therefore in the "real world," what the Grand Jury is trying to accomplish with this recommendation has largely been achieved.

It should be pointed out that the Grand Jury overlooked the fact that, like the County Counsel, the Agricultural Commissioner, is by State law, a Board of Supervisors' appointee for a four-year term.

FINDING #5: Contrary to the clearly spelled out functional requirements in Article X, the County Administrator has not exercised leadership in directing and managing the County government.

County Administrator's Comment:

The Grand Jury report lacks specific evidence and examples to support this finding. Ultimately, the judgment of the quality of leadership of the County Administrator is the responsibility of the elected officials selected by the people to govern the County, the Board of Supervisors.

With the above being said, I think it is appropriate to recall what the Transformation Study recommended in terms of staffing levels in the County Administrator's Office. Clearly, if the County Administrator was to become the County's "Chief Strategic Planner," as suggested in the Transformation Study, he or she would need assistance in order to be freed up from day-to-day problem solving. The following compares the County Administrator's staffing recommendations in that study to what is currently authorized:

Transformation Study Current

(1) Assistant County Administrator -0-

(3) Deputy County Administrators 2 Deputy County Administrators

Also, it should be noted that the Executive Assistant to the County Administrator and one Administrative Analyst IV were deleted in the 1992-93 budget, and another Administrative Analyst IV position is slated for deletion in the 1995-96 budget. Moreover, although two Deputies are now in place, for 20 of the past 39 months, our office has operated with only one Deputy.

The staff resources previously envisioned as being necessary for the position of County Administrator to effectively direct and manage the County have not been provided. Article X of the County codes was written as a result of the Transformation Study. The "bottom line" is that the job duty requirements of the ordinance have never matched the staff resources necessary to carry it out as originally envisioned.

RECOMMENDATION #5a: The Grand Jury recommends that the Board of Supervisors immediately direct the County Administrator to perform all of the responsibilities prescribed for him in Article X, and that the Board ensure that the County Administrator has the authority and supportive environment in which to carry out his duties.

County Administrator's Comment:

Article X has been adopted by the Board of Supervisors, and I am carrying out its requirements to the best of my ability with the resources that I have available. If any department head, including the County Administrator, has to be told by the Board of Supervisors to carry out his or her duties, the Board should instead act to remove that individual from County service. I am not sure as to what is meant by the phrase "the authority and supportive environment."

RECOMMENDATION #5b: The Grand Jury specifically recommends that the Board direct the County Administrator to complete the performance evaluations of each non-elected department head and the Board should review the status of this process on a monthly basis until complete, and at least annually thereafter.

County Administrator's Comment:

As the Grand Jury knows, since I told it so, and as the Board of Supervisors know, I am in the process of completing performance evaluations for appointed department heads. The Board-adopted process requires that, after the County Administrator has completed his final draft evaluation, it is formally reviewed in closed session by the Board of Supervisors with the appointed department head. After any changes the Board may wish to make, it is then provided to the department head with a copy placed in the County's official personnel file. I expect this process to be completed no later than the end of this summer.

FINDING #6: The County Administrator has held his present position for three years and there has not been a completed performance evaluation of him by the Board of Supervisors during his tenure.

County Administrator's Comment:

This finding is misleading because it conveys the idea that the Board of Supervisors has not taken any steps towards evaluating the County Administrator. This is not correct. A draft evaluation was completed in February 1994 and discussed with the County Administrator. However, at that time the Board wished to refine that document by linking it more closely to the responsibilities as identified in Article X. Because of the illness of one Board member and the change in the composition of the Board in the summer in 1994, and then the change in the Board composition in January 1995, the 1994 evaluation was not finalized. However, on June 20, 1995 the Board of Supervisors acted to finalize the earlier evaluation, and it is on file in the County's official records in the Personnel department.

RECOMMENDATION #6: The Grand Jury recommends that the Board of Supervisors, within the next ninety (90) days, complete a thorough evaluation of the County Administrator's performance to date, and evaluate his management skills to properly manage the functions of the County government - and exercise their authority to take appropriate action.

County Administrator's Comment:

Please see response to Finding #6. Additionally, the Board is currently in the process of formally evaluating my performance.

FINDING #7: Both the County Administrator's office and the Auditor-Controller have the authority to conduct managerial and operational reviews (management audits), and have demonstrated to the Grand Jury through several examples that they are capable of performing quality audits. Evidence is that at present such management audits must either be requested or used to address a specific issue in County government, rather than for scheduled periodic reviews.

County Administrator's Comment:

Unfortunately, such studies of all departments are not done on a regular scheduled basis. Additional resources would be required to accomplish this. The proposed 1995-96 budget calls for the elimination of one existing Administrative Analyst IV position in the County Administrator's office. With the reduced staffing resources we believe that we will only be able to do management reviews on an as-needed basis and not on a regular schedule for all departments as recommended by the Grand Jury. I also believe that funds are not available for the Auditor-Controller to complete management audits of all departments on a regular basis. The Grand Jury here uses managerial and operational reviews interchangeably with management audits. Technically they are not the same. The reader should also refer to the Auditor-Controller's response.

RECOMMENDATION #7a: The Grand Jury recommends that the Board of Supervisors either (1) direct the County Administrator's office, or (2) enter into an agreement with the Auditor-Controller, to perform management audits of each department under the Board's control on a five year cycle, and report the results to the Board.

County Administrator's Comment:

See response to Finding #7.

RECOMMENDATION #7b: The Grand Jury recommends that the Board direct the County Administrator to coordinate the initiation of an effective annual self audit by each department headed by a non-elected department head, and report the results to the Board within thirty (30) days of its completion.

County Administrator's Comment:

It is unclear what the Grand Jury means by "an effective annual self audit." If what was intended was a periodic review by appointed department heads of their programs and services, their effectiveness and efficiency, I believe this is done on an ongoing basis. Also, this recommendation seems somewhat at variance with the previous ones aimed and strengthening the role of the County Administrator. If such audits are to be completed, it would seem appropriate they would be reported to the County Administrator and not the Board of Supervisors. However, perhaps the Grand Jury has something else in mind with respect to these annual "self audits" which warrant reporting to the Board.

RECOMMENDATION #7c: The Grand Jury recommends that each department headed by an elected official should initiate a self administered management audit program, and request an outside review audit every five years by either the Auditor-Controller, the County Administrator, or an outside consultant and publish the results and recommendations.

County Administrator's Comment:

What is meant by a "self administered management audit program" is unstated. Presumably it means the same thing as "an effective self audit" as referenced in Recommendation #7b which also was not defined. Assuming the meaning included in my response to Recommendation #7b, I believe that elected department heads do this as a normal course of their management responsibilities on an ongoing basis. However, this Grand Jury seems to lean towards more formal processes and procedures. If this recommendation is followed, some elected department heads may request additional resources to conduct such formal management reviews internally. However, due to our financial condition, providing these resources would be extremely difficult.

With respect to the recommendation for an outside review every five years for elected department heads, the Grand Jury did not state why they think five years is an appropriate time frame. I concur that outside third party reviews of departmental management is healthy and useful to departmental management as well as overall County administration. However, such reviews are not currently budgeted and additional resources are not available, given our current financial condition.

FINDING #8: The County needs a positive incentive system to create an environment that promotes creativity and inspires excellence. A system is needed to reward by bonus, or otherwise, appointed department heads and other key employees for exceptional performance in the accomplishment of the County's objectives, when such may be determined on a measurable basis.

County Administrator's Comment:

There is little in the Grand Jury report to support this finding. In fact, one currently popular management expert, the late Dr. W. Edwards Deming, would disagree with the recommendation. In discussing incentive pay in The New Economics, Deming urges organizations to "Abolish incentive pay and pay based on performance." According to Deming, "Reward for good performance may be the same as reward to the weatherman for a pleasant day. The effect of incentive pay is numbers and loss of focus on the aim." Additionally, many public agencies have attempted to implement pay for performance bonus systems. One system I am personally familiar with in the City of Fairfield has been controversial. In the late 1980's, when the City Manager awarded bonuses to key department heads for outstanding performance, it almost always resulted in public controversy and disharmony among rank and file employees. Bonus pay to department heads in Los Angeles County under former County Administrator Richard Dixon was also controversial. Before the County embraces a bonus system, I strongly suggest that it be studied very carefully.

Lastly, if such a system is of such value, it seems odd that it would be singled out for appointed department heads and "other key employees" who are not identified by the Grand Jury. A bonus system just for appointed department heads could cause disharmony with elected department heads.

RECOMMENDATION #8: After the development and full implementation of meaningful missions, goals and objectives, and when effective measurement tools are in place and savings obtained, the Grand Jury recommends that the Board annually set aside a reserve to reward appointed department heads and key personnel for exceptional performance where warranted.

County Administrator's Comment:

Please see response to Finding #8

FINDING #9 The Suggestion and Awards program was a very good idea which has had limited success and participation is declining.

County Administrator's Comment:

The Grand Jury has presented no evidence that the suggestion awards program has limited success. I do not believe that the evidence supports the finding.

RECOMMENDATION #9: The Suggestion and Awards program should be re-evaluated to determine how it can be redesigned and promoted to make it more effective in encouraging creative and innovative operating efficiency and service improvement ideas from the County staff.

County Administrator's Comment:

I agree that the program should be reevaluated but not for the reasons that the Grand Jury cites. The 1995-96 budget situation is so severe that the County Administrator's Office, like every other department, has been asked to make budget reductions. Our highest priority is maintaining our analyst staff which has been reduced from 7 members to 5 members since 1991. Accordingly, we have no choice but to recommend the elimination of staff related to the current Suggestion Awards Program. Therefore, we support a redesign of the program aimed at keeping a Suggestion Awards Program intact but decentralizing it to departments such that it no longer requires dedicated staff in the County Administrator's Office.

FINDING #10: Due to the history of resistance to change by the Santa Barbara County government, which necessitated Recommendations #1 through #9 of this report, the 1994-95 Grand Jury believes that on-going monitoring of this subject is necessary and important.

County Administrator's Comment:

I challenge the Grand Jury's assertion that there is a "history of resistance to change by the Santa Barbara County Government." Since 1992, the following structural changes have occurred:

· the Environmental Health Division has been reunited with the Health Care Services Department

· the three elected Marshal positions have been consolidated into a single Marshal appointed by the Municipal Court Judges

· the offices of County Clerk-Recorder and Assessor have been merged

· the County Water Agency and Flood Control District have been combined organizationally into the Public Works Department

· the Building Inspection Department division of Public Works has been consolidated with the Planning and Development Department

· Real Property, Capital Projects, and Building Maintenance have been transferred from Public Works to General Services

· the Emergency Services Division of the County Administrator's Office has been transferred to the Fire Department

· the County Sheriff has been appointed Fire Chief

· the Human Services Program previously in the County Administrator's Office has been transferred to the Health Care Services Department

· the operation of Government Access Cable TV has been transferred from the County Administrator to the Clerk of the Board

· the Superior Court has assumed the Clerk of the Court function

· the two Municipal Courts and the Justice Court in the North County have consolidated into a single jurisdiction, with a single administrator

· the Agricultural Commissioner and Cooperative Extension departments are being combined

· Economic Development has been established as a new program and placed in the County Administrator's Office

· The Affordable Housing Program has been transferred from Planning and Development Department to the Treasurer-Tax Collector's office.

Lastly, the composition of the governing Board of the County has changed substantially in recent years. Since February 1992 when I came to the County, there have been ten different individuals sitting on the five-member Board of Supervisors. Each individual Board member brings their own set of priorities and values which in turn has impacted the County organization and its direction.

I think all of the above evidence shows that the County has not had "a history of resistance to change." If anything, the County is an example of an organization that has barely been able to catch its breath with so much change over such a short period.

RECOMMENDATION #10: The 1994-95 Grand Jury strongly recommends that the 1995-96 Grand Jury immediately review and evaluate the responses of each of the Affected Agencies to these recommendations and follow the progress of the anticipated changes throughout their term.

County Administrator's Comment:

This recommendation is acknowledged.

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