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11:51 PM Fri, Dec. 14th

Supervisors tell tech dept. no to 2 new employees

PRESCOTT - The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors on Monday told Management Information Systems Director Ross Clemens to go back to his drawing board and return with a better explanation about why the board should approve hiring two new employees for MIS.

Clemens asked the board to approve three requests: reorganize the MIS department; change the name from MIS to Information Systems & Technology Department; and hire a database administrator and network engineer, which he called "critical to carry on the mission."

In his request to the board, Clemens wrote that the reorganization would save his department $147,904 for the remainder of the 2008-09 budget. The savings would come by decreasing the salary range of some employees, eliminating two vacant positions and reclassifying other employees.

District 3 Supervisor Chip Davis said he could not understand how Clemens could save money by hiring two new employees. Clemens said the positions are currently vacant and previously budgeted in the 2008-09 fiscal year. The savings, he said, comes from the reorganization.

The board previously told county department directors that they would have to reduce their budgets 7.5 percent for the 2009-10 fiscal year. Clemens said that his reorganization would immediately reduce his budget by 2.8 percent.

Davis wanted Clemens to show how his reorganization would meet the 7.5 percent reduction, and Clemens said that it would not do that immediately, but that it could if given some time to try it.

District 1 Supervisor Carol Springer said that it was unfair for the board to require Clemens to show a 7.5 percent budget reduction before the budget hearings start. "I don't think we should be micromanaging his department," she said.

Davis responded that if any other department heads asked them to hire new employees, the answer would be "no." He added that he thought Clemens, whom the county hired Jan. 5, should spend more time getting to know his department before he asks for new employees and reorganizations.

In other business:

• Public Works Director Phil Bourdon told the board that since he enacted a department-wide energy conservation plan, his fuel consumption and electric bills are down, and employee morale is up because of Public Works' four-day workweek schedule.

• The board deferred until March 2 Granite Gate Assisted Living Facility's request to expand its existing building and build two additional buildings. Neighbors in the Granite Dells subdivision complained about the size and location of the expansion. Development Services planning manager Elise Link told the board that the two parties are discussing a compromise plan and both agreed to defer the hearing.