A decent idea to save a significant amount of money has graced San Bernardino County.

The proposal by the San Bernardino County Administrative Office to consolidate the Treasurer-Tax Collector-Public Administrator into the Auditor-Controller-Recorder is a well thought out idea. The second part of the proposal to be taken up by county supervisors this Tuesday is the County Clerk, Recorder, and archive functions will be folded into the elected office of Assessor.

The proposed consolidations make sense and maintains those functions as elected offices.

The formation of the Office of the Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector-Public Administrator is essentially the creation of what is commonly known as a Public Finance Officer in many jurisdictions.

All of the amped-up rhetoric from retired Treasurer-Tax Collector-Public Administrator Dick Larsen and Orange County-based political consultant David Ellis landed on the fifth floor of the County Government Center with a loud thud last week.

Nobody was interested in anything the two had to say; especially when the word “fair” was employed.

Ellis must have worn a mask when he uttered the word and having him of all people say it was not received well.

Ellis was the consultant to Larsen while he served as Treasurer-Tax Collector, and currently is the consultant to Assistant Treasurer-Tax Collector-Public Administrator Annette Kerber and District Attorney Mike Ramos.

There are two argument points being brought up as to why this is a bad idea.

The first argument being the idea of taking away the voter’s right to choose who is the Treasurer-Tax Collector-Public Administrator, the second argument being the alleged complexity of managing the county’s $4 -5 billion investment pool.

The first argument point falls flat because both the Auditor-Controller and Assessor are elected offices and as a matter of fact are up for election this June. So taking away the voters choice is nothing more than a red herring.

The second argument point of qualifications to manage the investment pool is also weak. In the past Larsen has said a monkey could manage the pool.

That’s right, a “monkey”.

Why would Larsen say that you ask?

The county has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to a company called  The PFM Group.

PFM is paid to oversee the county treasury pool and monitor compliance with investment policy. In other words they monitor investment transactions to ensure investment decisions are sound.

If approved by supervisors, the proposed consolidation, when fully implemented could save upwards of a million dollars per year.

About half of California’s 58 counties have embarked upon similar consolidations. All have went well.

There’s no reason to believe this won’t succeed either.