Calaveras County hires new land planner

By Sean Janssen, The Union Democrat September 26, 2012 01:32 pm

The final budget for Calaveras County through next June includes a high-level planner added at the 11th hour Tuesday in a 5-0 vote.

The cost of the position — including salary, benefits and office accommodations — is $100,000 for the year, according to County Administrative Officer Jeanne Boyce.


The “Planner IV” position is intended to help the county complete a years-long General Plan land-use document update.

“It is important to complete the general plan process with necessary expertise in-house,” said Supervisor Steve Wilensky.

Wilensky noted that the work of an outside consultant, Sacramento-based Mintier Harnish, on the plan was roundly panned for both its cost and unsatisfactory quality.

The amendment had little impact on a $38 million general fund budget that still includes about $1.4 million for unanticipated contingency costs.

The board split on a 3-2 vote against increasing the pay of Environmental Health Director Brian Moss by 12 percent to recognize his department’s acceptance of Animal Services transferred from the Sheriff’s Department.

Supervisors Merita Callaway and Brian Moss cast the minority vote. The pair had argued that the additional duties are likely to be long-term until the Calaveras Humane Society can raise funds to build a new animal shelter. Once a new building is completed, the society is expected to take on operational duties of the shelter.

Supervisor Gary Tofanelli said the bump could have set a costly precedent.

“Any time a department head takes on some more work, it opens the door for (compensation) negotiations,” Tofanelli said.

Budget add-ons already approved in negotiations about two weeks ago included the hiring of three sheriff’s deputies and an appraiser-analyst to help the Assessor’s Office ensure processing of unsecured property tax rolls. 

The tax rolls cover items such as boats and private airplanes, and funds line items including the Sheriff’s Marine Safety Unit.