Tuesday, July 20, 2010 – 02:57 pm
Updated: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 – 06:07 pm
Last Update: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 – 08:02 pm

Well, well, well………Can you say ouch?

Matt Brown, now former chief of staff to Second District Supervisor Paul Biane is now being called Assistant Recorder. Even though county human resources classification database lists no such position title.

Brown would appear to be assuming the assistant department head position previously held by Elizabeth “Betsy” Starbuck, who was fired last Friday.

Starbuck was Assistant Auditor-Controller-Recorder. She had 24 years with the county.

But the title does imply that Brown is assuming an assistant department head position, which maintains him at the same salary and benefits level of approximately $240,000 per year.

It will be interesting to see if Brown goes to Assessor Dennis Draeger’s operation when the recorder function moves under his office in january.

Brown has been on paid administrative leave since filing a complaint alleging he was being harassed and intimidated for cooperating with investigators and the county Grand Jury regarding District Attorney Mike Ramos’ corruption witch hunt.

Brown always wanted to secure a high-paying county position and remain in county government after Biane departed. Now he has his wish.

I’m sure the alleged harassment really wasn’t that bad after all.

The move by Brown leaves former County Administrative Officer Mark Uffer on his own again. It’s widely believed Uffer snookered Brown into joing his “whistle blower” cause against the county.

The bigger question is did the county pay Brown’s legal bill to attorney Sanford Kassel to the tune of more than $20,000.

No wonder Starbuck is reportedly out retaining legal counsel.

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As of 06:07 pm

Unlike prior years were staffing requests by departments were covered under a special attachment to the Board of Supervisors minute order, it would appear this year things have changed. Any positions deleted or created is continued within the department summary.

So much for transparency.

Page 112 of the recommended budget on the county website main page covers the Auditor-Controller-Recorder-Treasurer-Tax Collector. The section specifically denotes the creation of an Assistant Recorder position. The Auditor-Controller-Recorder-Treasurer-Tax Collector now has 1 – Assistant Recorder, 1 – Assistant Treasurer-Tax Collector, 1 – Assistant Auditor-Controller, and 1 – Assistant Auditor-Controller-Recorder-County Clerk.

The merger of the Treasurer-Tax Collector into the Auditor-Controller-Recorder doubled the number of assistant department head level positions (Range 84) from 2 to 4.

I can see Starbuck expressing concerns over turning a fiscal executive level position over to a political appointee. It will be interesting to see if the papers start crying “no experience”, “unqualified”, “political hack”, or “waste of taxpayer dollars” on this appointment like they have done in recent years.

It will also be interesting to see exactly how much money this merger actually saved.

Also it wlll be interesting to see who fills the Starbuck vacancy. My bet is Chief Deputy Recorder DeAna Thompson will fill this spot, problems and all.

Maybe someone should call the Grand Jury……

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Update as of 08:02 pm

The Board of Supervisors agenda for May 11, 2010 also contained the following language under item #100. This begs the question; was a position specifically created for Brown?

Auditor-Controller-Recorder-Treasurer-Tax Collector
100) 1. Authorize the addition of one new position classified to Assistant Auditor/Controller-Recorder, Exempt Group B, Unclassified, R84 ($107,744 – $137,987).

2. Read title only of proposed Ordinance amending Ordinance 1904 by placing position #85027, Assistant Auditor/Controller-Recorder, in the Unclassified Service; waive reading of entire text and CONTINUE TO TUESDAY, MAY 25, 2010 AT 10:00 A.M. FOR ADOPTION.