Sonoma County manager to fill Marin's...

Sonoma County manager to fill Marin's newly created finance post

There are 39 comments on the Marin Independent Journal story from Jul 6, 2009, titled Sonoma County manager to fill Marin's newly created finance post. In it, Marin Independent Journal reports that:

The director of information systems for Sonoma County has been hired to serve as Marin County's newly created position of director of finance.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Marin Independent Journal.

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Death N Taxes

El Segundo, CA

#1 Jul 6, 2009
"He'll earn $165,922 a year, down from his Sonoma County yearly salary of $185,000" .....my company's finance person in charge of the entire West coast makes about $150K/year........interesting how the public sector works: almost the same salary at the private sector + pension + basically-free health care.....all funded by the suckers (AKA: taxpayers)
Get a Job

Santa Rosa, CA

#2 Jul 6, 2009
Actually, they pay into the pension and there is no such thing as free health care. I know for county employees, they pay a significant amount of their paycheck towards healthcare. I am not sure about department heads though.
Orcus Ponzae

Livermore, CA

#3 Jul 6, 2009
So let me see if I have this right...in a recession, when there is no CA budget, services are being cut, employees are being laid off, the unemployment rate is 12%, Marin County CREATES a new bureaucrat position. I see. Yes, it's perfectly clear now. They are stimulating the economy. When this fockhead goes to Restoration Hardware for a pewter towel rack for his pool bathhouse, he will be stimulating the economy. Nice going, aspholes.
Mary Poppins

Livermore, CA

#4 Jul 6, 2009
I say, these chaps have a lot of chutzpah, don't they?
HowTheyDoIt

Moses Lake, WA

#5 Jul 6, 2009
A couple quick points:

1. The guy is making $340k a year (remember he gets his salay at retirement for LIFE) plus his current and lifetime medical benefits (about $1mm at retirement of value). Total compensation..not current salary is the way to value this (imagine me socking away $165k a year plus a current salary of $165k a year..its simple math but the union thugs and guys like Hal Brown that who enable it don't want to present it that way.

2. This is the MOST critical position in the County. We have a fiscal crisis in this county and our cities that is bar none - the worst ever. And who do they hire (after passing a bill to NOT allow this post to be elected but appointed by the UNIONS oh, sorry the Supervisors (all owned by the Unions) for Collector - Controller ??? A UNION adminstrator, former Police UNION member and member of the Sonoma Retirement Board (also BURIED in unfunded pension liabilities) and a Sonoma County that is in a bigger fiscal nightmare than even Marin???? This is the most unobjective individual one can have - proven public employee union first insiders- and our "bought and paid for Supervisors" just gave him the checkbook. Can Marin taxpayers REALLY expect this guy to take on his own and begin to address this fiscal trainwreck? Can we even hope that in salary/pension negotiations this guy will stand up for the taxpayers?? The simple answer is no and is telling: The public employee union bosses in Marin County now OWN the taxpayers. God help us and God help our poor children who have to pay for this mess.
Insider

San Rafael, CA

#6 Jul 6, 2009
Get a Job wrote:
Actually, they pay into the pension and there is no such thing as free health care. I know for county employees, they pay a significant amount of their paycheck towards healthcare. I am not sure about department heads though.
No special deals for dept heads, they pay the same as any employee. The county pays 100% of employee only coverage at Kaiser low, any other plan costs more. Add on a spouse and they pick up a lower percent of the overall cost, less with full family coverage. And employees pay into the retirment system a percent of each paycheck based on their age at time of service. Average is about 7% of pay pre-tax - misc. Safety is more like 9%
Gwen Volkman

San Rafael, CA

#7 Jul 6, 2009
They should have hired someone from Marin for that post. First it got taken away from the voters and now it is not even a local person deciding for us?!

There are already way too many Sonoma County residents working in Marin County government. There are qualified people in Marin for all of those overpaid positions. Hire them!

Since: Oct 08

Location hidden

#8 Jul 6, 2009
Maybe he'll ride the choo choo
Orcus Ponzae

Livermore, CA

#9 Jul 6, 2009
I'm sorry. Did I hear someone blaming the unions for the financial mess? What part did unions have in inflating the price of your over-mortgaged home? What part did unions play in the CDO games they played on wall street? Unions own the Marin board of supervisors? Well, if the unions elected them, i guess the unions own them.
If you have a problem with unions, give up your holidays, vacations, pension, and 8 hour day. Give up your weekends. All courtesy of those damned unions.
Shocked

United States

#10 Jul 6, 2009
<<member of the Sonoma Retirement Board (also BURIED in unfunded pension liabilities) and a Sonoma County that is in a bigger fiscal nightmare than even Marin????<<<<

If I remember correctly, and this would have been under this guy's watch, Sonoma county drastically cut retiree medical costs down to something like $500 a month. You'd need to look in the Press Democrat and their old minutes to see exactly what happened, but I do know their medical was cut.

That said, coming into Marin County, under their latest medical plan, I think when he retires he gets only $150 a month times his years of service or something like that. Maybe Insider knows the way they allocate the medical now, but he'll be getting less medical in Marin than sonoma county.

And given he is a retirement board member, maybe he will look into some oversight of Marin's retirement board and administrator. Maybe he'll ask the accounting firm to look into those other aspects it wasn't asked to look into previously like the computer system and building expenses.
enough whining

San Diego, CA

#11 Jul 6, 2009
Orcus Ponzae wrote:
So let me see if I have this right...in a recession, when there is no CA budget, services are being cut, employees are being laid off, the unemployment rate is 12%, Marin County CREATES a new bureaucrat position. I see. Yes, it's perfectly clear now. They are stimulating the economy. When this fockhead goes to Restoration Hardware for a pewter towel rack for his pool bathhouse, he will be stimulating the economy. Nice going, aspholes.
No, you didn't get it right! The newly created position is to combine the Auditor-Controller ($167,000/year) and Treasurer ($175,000/year)positions in one Finance Director.
Besides, Marin County citizens voted for the Measure B to create that position. Get your facts straight before opening your mouth!
is it so

San Diego, CA

#12 Jul 6, 2009
Gwen Volkman wrote:
They should have hired someone from Marin for that post. First it got taken away from the voters and now it is not even a local person deciding for us?!
There are already way too many Sonoma County residents working in Marin County government. There are qualified people in Marin for all of those overpaid positions. Hire them!
non sense! Marin County has no good finance managers, that why we got into this SAP mess in the first place. If we continued to hire only Marin County residents, we'll never get out of this.
Think About it

Sunnyvale, CA

#13 Jul 6, 2009
If I remember correctly, and this would have been under this guy's watch, Sonoma county drastically cut retiree medical costs down to something like $500 a month. You'd need to look in the Press Democrat and their old minutes to see exactly what happened, but I do know their medical was cut.
I don't know the complete details of the change in Sonoma but it is radical and changes future benefits allowances. I think they even impacted retirees of recent years. The fact that this happened definitely speaks to his focus on fiscal prudence and making tough decisions. Then again while the board passed it we don't know how he voted.
That said, coming into Marin County, under their latest medical plan, I think when he retires he gets only $150 a month times his years of service or something like that. Maybe Insider knows the way they allocate the medical now, but he'll be getting less medical in Marin than sonoma county.
The practice of the Retirement board has been to use that methodology, a flat rate times your years of service. The flat rate has traditionally been set so that it provides 100% coverage for the retiree with 20 years of service on a Kaiser plan. Additional years of service help to fund more expensive plans or spouse coverage.
And given he is a retirement board member, maybe he will look into some oversight of Marin's retirement board and administrator. Maybe he'll ask the accounting firm to look into those other aspects it wasn't asked to look into previously like the computer system and building expenses.
I don't know if measure B specifies what happens with the Treasurer-Tax Collectors seat on the board following Mike Smiths retirement and the attrition of that position. The TTC serves on the board as the ex-officio. A fresh set of eyes is always a good thing.
Insider

Sunnyvale, CA

#14 Jul 6, 2009
is it so wrote:
<quoted text>
non sense! Marin County has no good finance managers, that why we got into this SAP mess in the first place. If we continued to hire only Marin County residents, we'll never get out of this.
As a former AC and IT director this guy will have a better grasp of the situation that the auditors office is in and can begin to make the changes that need to occur to make the office run like it should. They are still creating barriers to a collaborative work environment in the new SAP world.

Also it's a good bet he already has insight from and a good relationship with Marin's IT director which is a huge benefit in smoothing out the issues.

The treasurer-tax collector is in relatively good shape and it will hopefully be a good partnering for the remainder of Mike Smith's term. They will also have shared retirement interest.

Too many people think anyone with a finance background in the private sector can walk in and do these jobs - they can't. There are very few people who have the qualifications to do this job and they needed to go outside of current ranks. This is potentially a really good choice - lets hope it works out that way.
Death N Taxes

El Segundo, CA

#15 Jul 6, 2009
Get a Job wrote:
Actually, they pay into the pension and there is no such thing as free health care. I know for county employees, they pay a significant amount of their paycheck towards healthcare. I am not sure about department heads though.
....You have no clue: Pensions ARE NOT SUSTAINABLE!!!....the amount of money that county/state workers put in is paltry compared to how much they take out in retirement! FYI: most county employees pay $87 for health care/month for a family. Some industries that had/have pensions: airlines and auto...enough said.
Death N Taxes

El Segundo, CA

#16 Jul 6, 2009
Orcus Ponzae wrote:
I'm sorry. Did I hear someone blaming the unions for the financial mess? What part did unions have in inflating the price of your over-mortgaged home? What part did unions play in the CDO games they played on wall street? Unions own the Marin board of supervisors? Well, if the unions elected them, i guess the unions own them.
If you have a problem with unions, give up your holidays, vacations, pension, and 8 hour day. Give up your weekends. All courtesy of those damned unions.
....67% of union membership is in the public sector....there's a reason for that. There WAS a reason for Unions 40 years ago, now they are useless....except for collecting dues and keeping lazy people employed. Unions and their pensions ARE to blame for some of our financial problems in this county and state....billions of underfunded pension funds that are backed by the tax payer.....Your unions rely on the tax payer, and the only reason they exist is to keep certain politicians in office....it's simple as that. Open your eyes
sadanselmo

United States

#17 Jul 6, 2009
<<<<
I don't know the complete details of the change in Sonoma but it is radical and changes future benefits allowances.... Then again while the board passed it we don't know how he voted.>>>>

I think that comes from the board of supervisors, but he may be on record of supporting one side or the other.

<<<The TTC serves on the board as the ex-officio. A fresh set of eyes is always a good thing.<<<<

Good point.
Get a Job

Santa Rosa, CA

#18 Jul 7, 2009
Death N Taxes - Seriously,$87 for family health care? Where do you get your false information? My husband is a county worker and I have to keep working for my benefits because it is WAY too expensive to put me on his benefits. I wish it were only $87. Get a clue before you post false information.
is it so

San Diego, CA

#19 Jul 7, 2009
Insider wrote:
<quoted text>
As a former AC and IT director this guy will have a better grasp of the situation that the auditors office is in and can begin to make the changes that need to occur to make the office run like it should. They are still creating barriers to a collaborative work environment in the new SAP world.
Also it's a good bet he already has insight from and a good relationship with Marin's IT director which is a huge benefit in smoothing out the issues.
The treasurer-tax collector is in relatively good shape and it will hopefully be a good partnering for the remainder of Mike Smith's term. They will also have shared retirement interest.
Too many people think anyone with a finance background in the private sector can walk in and do these jobs - they can't. There are very few people who have the qualifications to do this job and they needed to go outside of current ranks. This is potentially a really good choice - lets hope it works out that way.
That's exactly what I meant: a Government career Finance Director with IT skills is what we need. My hat's off to the BOS and CAO to be able to hire someone like that.
Everyone else should stop predicting the worst and try their best to contribute. The citizens have the right to hire the best candidate for the job. They don't owe any loyalty to the finance management just because they live IN Marin County! Are you sure they live in Marin because they adhere to Marin's culture?
Resident

San Rafael, CA

#20 Jul 7, 2009
HowTheyDoIt wrote:
A couple quick points:
1. The guy is making $340k a year (remember he gets his salay at retirement for LIFE) plus his current and lifetime medical benefits (about $1mm at retirement of value). Total compensation..not current salary is the way to value this (imagine me socking away $165k a year plus a current salary of $165k a year..its simple math but the union thugs and guys like Hal Brown that who enable it don't want to present it that way.
Who in the county gets their final salary for life? You get a percentage of your final average compensation... and its usually 50-60% if you've worked there for 20+ years. So NO, he will NOT get his final salary for life.

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