Orange County Government Melting Down


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Something is drastically wrong with the leadership of county government here. Basically, it looks like no one on the Board of Supervisors is interested in or capable of doing the things it takes to effectively run a large organization. Things like team building, leadership, ethical behavior and vision come to mind as essential characteristics that seem to be lacking. It also looks like the job of attracting and retaining top talent to run the various county programs is not a priority for the Supervisors either.

Symptoms of what some have called a toxic environment in county government these days include periodic headline grabbing scandals such as the current sexually charged problems reported in the Public Works Department or the overcharging of investors in the County Treasurers investment pool. At least two audits that have looked at the County Human Resources Department operations have found big problems, including apparent cronyism in handing out promotions and raises. There is the multi-year saga of disarray in the office of the County Public Guardian/Public Administrator position resulting from a Board-driven appointment of John Williams to the Public Guardian position against the advice of key county staff; the resignation of the highly regarded County Auditor-Controller to take a better paying job in a much smaller county; and most recently the abrupt departure of the top candidate to replace him. And added to all this there has been a mass exodus of talented high level managers from the county’s major medical program, Cal OPTIMA.

We should all be embarrassed that county government seems to be in such disarray. These problems don’t just affect the bureaucracy; they affect those who depend on the county for services, including thousands of very vulnerable people.

Seems to me alarm bells are ringing loud and clear. Is anyone listening?


About Over But Not Out

A retired Orange County employee, and moderate Republican. The editor seriously does not know OBNO's identity as did not the former editor, but his point of view is obviously interesting and valued.