Grand jury relied on rumor and guesswork

By Eric Fleming / Madera County Cao / Guest CommentaryMay 22, 2013 

I've always had a level of respect for the Madera County Grand Jury. Unfortunately, a particular grand jury subcommittee has done a disservice to the residents of Madera County in a recent report titled "Complaint Regarding County Administration and Finance."

This subcommittee has neglected its legal obligation to adopt findings and make recommendations which are based on substantiated, factual and legal information. Instead, it appears as though they have subscribed to the theory of a handful of disgruntled individuals and relied on rumor and guesswork as the basis for this report.

Those of you that know me know that I'm a straight forward (and sometimes no-nonsense) manager. I take my job as the Chief Administrative Officer of Madera County very seriously. During the three years that I have served the Madera County Board of Supervisors in this capacity, I have diligently carried out their direction and helped navigate through the most difficult fiscal times since the depression.

In order to maintain organizational and fiscal integrity through these times, I have had to carry forward many recommendations that were unpopular and unpleasant. Some of the more sensitive items dealt with the county's elected district attorney and treasurer-tax collector.

I have undoubtedly stepped on a few toes, ruffled a few feathers and rubbed a person or two wrong along the way. These hazards come with the job. My formal management training comes from the private sector where the customer is king. I constantly try and apply that to the governmental business model but it's often challenging to implement concepts such as good service, productivity, accountability and efficiency.

The board of supervisors has tasked me and the rest of the management team with transforming the County's business model into a more efficient and customer-centered organization. Though we have made great progress in this direction, we still have a very small contingent of career bureaucrats, both currently employed and retired, who actively work behind the scenes to encourage resistance to new concepts and change.

Though these factions are small, they are the tail wagging the dog right now and are strategically using this subcommittee and hiding behind the guaranteed veil of secrecy that comes with the grand jury. The tail can only wag the dog for so long and we will get back on track and continue to move Madera County in a positive direction.

I have received a great deal of support since the release of the report and that is sincerely appreciated. I would also like to thank the board of supervisors for immediately coming to my defense when this misguided report was released.

As long as I have the opportunity, I will continue to do this job to the best of my ability and will carry out the direction and will of the board. We will continue to improve on our business model and face difficult issues head-on in an effort to best serve the residents of Madera County.

The Sierra Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service