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County to weigh budget matters

February 14, 2012

Inyo County Probation and Health and Human Services will be holding a workshop at 10:30 a.m. at the Board of Supervisors meeting to discuss the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act and how it will impact services and budgets at facilities like the jail and juvenile hall (above) and Probation Department. File photo

County leaders will meet today to discuss mid-year budget updates and consider potential raises for staff at the Coroner’s Office.
The Board of Supervisors will meet at 9 a.m. today in the County Administrative Center in Independence.
The board is scheduled to discuss the mid-year financial report and approve specific budget action items and recommendations discussed in the report.
The discussion is scheduled to take place at 9:15 a.m.
County Administrative Officer Kevin Carunchio said in his staff report that he is encouraging the county to “continue to stress revenue attainment and expense savings in order to maximize year-end fund balances.”
The county is currently exercising what it calls “extraordinary budget control policies,” which include an authorized position review policy. That policy means that every new hire in the county goes before the Board of Supervisors for approval to allow the elected officials to review the budget and ensure funds are available to fill the authorized positions.
The board is also scheduled to resume a discussion with Coroner Leon Brune about updating contracts for toxicology services and autopsy services and raises for his three deputy coroners.
Brune asked in January that the Board of Supervisors consider updating the contracts and provide salary increases for his three deputy coroners, Jeff Mullenhour, William Stinnett and Jason Molinar.
Brune said his three deputies are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He said he wanted to extend the three contracts, which are set to expire in July, through December, and provide pay increases of between $50 and $100.
At that time, Auditor-Controller Leslie Chapman and County Counsel Randy Keller both said they had not had an opportunity to review the contract extensions or pay increases Brune was requesting. The board tabled the discussion until the contracts could be reviewed.
The board is also scheduled to hold a public hearing at 11:30 a.m. to discuss an ordinance amending the county code to provide a salary increase for Brune, as he will not be hiring another deputy coroner to serve the southern end of the county, and will be handling those duties from now on himself.
In addition to its discussions about the county budget and salaries, the board will participate in a workshop with Health and Human Services and the Probation Department regarding the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act budget and services. That workshop is scheduled to take place at 10:30 a.m.
Second District Supervisor Susan Cash has also scheduled a presentation regarding the county’s participation in the Desert Tortoise Recovery Independence resident and musician; Christopher Dangwillo, Independence resident and teacher at Lone Pine Unified School District; and Mark Tillemans, Big Pine resident, and head coach of Big Pine Varsity Football.
Board seats in Districts 2 and 5 are also up for election, and incumbents Susan Cash and Richard Cervantes are facing some preliminary competition as well.
Business owner Russ Aldridge and Bishop City Councilman Jeff Griffiths are both still in the process of collecting signatures for the District 2 seat in bids against Cash, while Cervantes similarly faces competition from early hopefuls Matt Kingsley, a Lone Pine school board member, and Jim Gentry, an employee of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
Inyo County primaries have historically been unique in that they are non-partisan, meaning winners are declared by their receipt of the majority vote: 50 percent plus one.
However, runoffs are not unheard of in cases when several candidates run for a single office and none of them are able to garner a majority vote. In these instances, the top two vote-getters advance to the General Election in November.
Proposition 14, also known as the Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act, takes effect this June and has essentially made it so that California voters can vote on June 5 as Inyo County voters have been locally voting for decades.
The exception will be the office of president, where party affiliation will still determine the candidates voters see on their ballots.
Residents wishing to vote in the June primary, or change party affiliation in order to vote for a certain candidate in the presidential race, must register or re-register by Monday, May 21.
For more information, contact the Inyo County Elections Department by e-mail at or by telephone at (760) 878-0224.

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