A few county employees were let go on Wednesday, May 11th. Acting County Manager Mark McCauley said this was done “to reduce expenses and boost efficiencies.” He further said in a formal statement, “The reorganization is an example of the county’s ongoing dedication to finding effective ways to serve the community and be good stewards of taxpayer dollars”
A few wrinkles in this matter suggest that McCauley’s statements may not be quite accurate. Or should we say the McCauley statement is a ‘bald-faced lie’.
First, the four employees terminated were Don Benton and three others known to be Benton’s advocates. These employees were notified of their termination between 2:30 and 5pm on Wednesday. The three that were at the county offices were physically escorted to their work space to collect a few items and then physically escorted from the county building. Seems a ‘cost savings’ exercise might have been executed differently, with appropriate notification of the affected employees, a hand-off of work in progress, a severance package and job-hunting assistance. However, a purge of those who did not bow down to the corruption of the political and bureaucratic Clark County establishment would look just like what happened here. Two councilors, Madore and Mielke, weren’t even aware of this purge until it happened. For an alleged ‘cost reduction’ effort, it seems it would not have been a secret.
Second, it’s a joke that McCauley actually cares a whit about efficiency or cost control. Since the establishment and big-government councilors (Boldt, Olson, and Stewart) came into power in January, they have been on a spending binge that has reduced county reserves significantly. Their ham-fisted approach has created many unhappy people with legal recourse that will probably cost millions more in legal fees and settlements. McCauley and the other senior bureaucrats also have a track record of discouraging efficiency. On this point, the team at ClarkCounty.info has direct knowledge of two county department managers who were discouraged from ‘too much efficiency’. The big-government machine has no interest in efficiency and doesn’t want anyone conducting such efforts as it may shine an unwelcome light on the arrogant big-government attitude that has been increasingly prevalent in the last 20 years. The more money flowing around under their control, the better.
The four terminated employees are:
Don Benton: Benton’s hire was a major source of controversy with the Clark County political establishment. They were always gunning for him, even after excellent performance. Ironically, McCauley was forced to admit Benton’s good performance when he said; “that by every objective measure, the department is performing at a high level… I tip my hat to Director Benton. He’s got a good handle on his department and the results speak for themselves.” The video link in this paragraph shows a nervous McCauley (watch the hands) who was uncomfortable making such a statement as it doesn’t align with the prevalent anti-Benton messaging projected the last few years by establishment county politicians, senior bureaucrats, and the local old media.
Susan Rice: Susan was the executive secretary for Benton in the Environmental Services Department. Susan was loyal to Benton, and she must have been discouraged and unhappy with the constant criticism and lies being made about her boss. Susan had been a Clark county employee for 19 years, and we have been told this termination is a huge blow to her family. One eye-witness watched Susan be marched to her office, given a few minutes to grab a few personal items, and was marched out of the county building while she was weeping. But pay no attention to this drama, as this in only a cost control exercise according to McCauley.
Cliff Clifford: Cliff was the program coordinator in the clean water division. He was outspoken about the corruption and incompetence with certain county employees and senior bureaucrats. He also wrote an open letter in support of Councilor Madore against the politically fabricated accusations of racism from the Clark County Planning Director, Oliver Orjiako.
Nick Cimmiyotti: Nick was the Administrative Services Manager for the environmental services department, under Don Benton. Nick’s areas of expertise was managing administrative issues and finance. Nick was an employee in the Clark County auditor’s department and then transferred over to the environmental services department. Nick was diligent in locating improper financial transactions as well as general inefficiencies, which was not welcomed by the county bureaucracy.
It’s interesting that the four employees selected for termination delivered results equal and probably better than others in their department.
So we ask how the position of Director of Environmental Services can be eliminated without a public discussion and involvement by the Council. No such discussion or vote took place. Does the new Charter actually give the county manager the unilateral right to close down full departments and at his discretion fire people, or reassign them? It is not likely the new charter gives such power and it is likely a number of legal breaches occurred in this action. It was a purge.
The local old media appears to have also been in cahoots on this matter, as they had a report ready minutes after the event went down. The Columbian’s caustic editor, Lou Brancaccio, was thrilled to see Benton go.
So what do Clark County citizens do? We see a steady, effective, and multi-pronged push back will eventually win the day. This includes:
- Pushback from councilors Mielke and Madore who have been fighting this institutional corruption from the start.
- Highlighting whistleblower options for county employees. On this matter ClarkCounty.info has recently informed about 200 Clark county employees of their options to report corruption and incompetence while protecting their jobs. County employees might take a lesson from Stalinist Russia, “Purge him before he purges you.”
- Continued reports from ClarkCounty.info that inform citizens on this corruption and incompetence and the psychological effect this has on the perpetrators when they know their mischief is exposed to thousands of local citizens.
- Citizens moving forward with actionable legal opportunities. Several of these are in process now, according to sources involved in such matters and more are being studied.
- More and more citizens getting involved to push back at county council meetings and other ways.
These sorts of government politicians and bureaucrats aren’t used to being challenged. They seem to think they shouldn’t be criticized by lowly citizens, and there’s little or no chance of good faith interaction with them. They must be defeated and removed. Toward this goal, it’s typical for the small group of establishment politicians and senior bureaucrats to become increasingly arrogant, brazen, and lawless as the citizens increase pressure on them. They will spin and lie faster and faster as this pressure increases. This purge in the Environmental Services Department is an example. As they become increasingly unstable and inclined to poor decisions and poor execution, this will eventually provide the path to more rapidly deconstruct this corrupt cabal.