Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Death By a Thousand Cuts, or One Big Stab in the Back?

From KONP's website today...

"Clallam County Commissioners used their Monday work session to look at the salaries of county employees but also gave a hard look at their own compensation as well."

So this is the first (public) step in the follow through from the two right-wing nuts on the County Commission. It started with Jim McEntire, the bearer of multiple pensions, suggesting that he'd be open to cutting his own salary to help balance the budget. Fellow zealot Mike Chapman then chimed in saying they should consider cutting the pay of everyone who works at the County.

Now, never mind that they aren't likely to cut their own pay, and that it would be nearly impossible to cut the pay of everyone working at the County. No, this is Political Theater, a big shock and awe show to distract from what's really going on.

And what's that, you say? Well, let's read a little more from KONP...

"For more than 20 months, County employees in Teamsters Local 589 has been bargaining for a new contract without coming to an agreement. To avoid an impasse, the Public Employment Relations Commission has their mediator, Page Garcia, draft a proposal.

The proposal is already backed by the union, but they did so accepting the proposal as is without any changes. After a review by the County Commissioners, two portions of the proposal seemed to be sticking points.  One of the issues indicates that all grievances presently filed by the union will be withdrawn, but that the County will pay $33,000-dollars to the union to expunge those complaints."

Oh, so that's it. They're just trying to bully the Teamsters into settling multiple grievances for a pittance. That stiffs the people who have filed those grievances, while at the same time offers up what amounts to a $33,000 bribe to the Union itself. Both of those moves would then serve to further undermine trust in the Union and the grievance process going forward. A sweet little deal - at least for the sociopathic sleazebags who are proposing it.

All these shenanigans also point to the fact that the County's budget is, in fact, in trouble. After all the years of being able to say the budget was strong, they were debt-free, etc., the bills are coming due for Clallam County. So I wouldn't be surprised if part of this was preparing for Jim Jones to retire ("Hey, it's not my problem any more!") to make way for the next incompetent good ol' boy to be put into his job ("Hey, I didn't wreck the budget!"). Again, this would provide just enough denial to go around for everyone.

Oh, and let's be clear. IF and I do mean IF, there are any salaries that the Commissioners really do try to cut, why do I suspect that they will be for people who are named things like Selinda and Sheila?


  1. Please note that none of this stridently anti-union and anti-worker activity, not even just the talk of this, would be possible without the participation of Mike Chapman. Jim McEntire can shoot his big mouth off all he wants, but it takes another Commissioner to actually make anything happen. That's where Chapman comes in.

    So I have to ask all those Democrats, all those pro-worker, pro-union Democrats, who voted for Mike Chapman...Are you satisfied with his performance as a Commissioner? Do you really feel he was the best choice? Are you still glad you voted this guy back in?

    I have to ask, because, to me it seems clear that he's still a Republican, and still wildly out of touch with the reality of life for most people in Clallam County. This union bashing BS is only designed to appeal to the lowest form of caveman Republican thinking. Do any of you really still think Chapman is "moderate" or "even handed"?


    1. Of course, Chapman wouldn't even be there if he hadn't been coached and supported for years by Steve Tharinger, Democrat.

      I'm not going to pretend to be able to explain all the weird and unsavory political bedfellows in Port Angeles and Clallam County. All I know is that it is clearly incestuous, and usually disastrous. No doubt a few pockets are full and fat, while most residents here continue to fall further and further behind.

      Sure must be nice to have one of those oh-so-well-connected pockets...

  2. This is a pretty common approach these days: suggest something really extreme like cutting elected officials salaries IN HALF and then something like a small cut and stopping COLAs looks much more reasonable.

    A few blowhards take an extreme position in order to shift everything a little further in that direction.

  3. The County doesn't seem to realize that the only reason more employees haven't jumped shipped is the lack of alternatives for employment in Clallam County. The employees have been treated poorly, made to take furlough days and then cut hours, effectively they *have* been given pay cuts, over the past couple of years. The Commissioners don't have the cojones to imnplement a tax or other revenue stream that might be unfavorable but would spread the deficit across all the citizens of the County. Instead they punish their comparatively few employees. The union rep is a joke - he says he has no relationship with the media, so these issues have not been coming to light. Isn't this what he's being paid very well for? He's willing to go along with the pay cuts and not fight for the employee rights. Nobody is fighting for these employee rights - employees who are your family, friends and neighbors. Does the County have a strategic plan, within which I'm guessing it says somewhere something about wanting to be an employer of choice, etc etc? The morale must be abysmal there. I truly feel for the employees who are being shown time and time again that they are not valued.

    1. Low morale is part of the program at Clallam County. It goes right along with low scoring schools and low skill workers. We're the top of the bottom, y'know?

  4. What is to stop them?

    It isn't like there is a ground swell of dissent in Clallam, with throngs showing up anywhere, except at Walmart. And the throngs at Walmart are not there to protest. " Shopping therapy", to try to forget the unpleasant realities of modern life.

    Nothing but the interests of business matter, any more. The Repubs see everything in economic terms. Quality of life was abandoned for the profit of the few.

    Yes, people are falling for the BS that gets put out at election time. Big money is spent to craft messages that will have the broadest appeal.

    Who is raising their heads up beyond their bunkers to look around, and see what is really going on in Clallam? Very few.

    Yes, Clallam is screwed because of so many reasons. Looking around, we see communities moving forward. But, not Clallam. It hasn't been moving forward for years, but the chumps keep voting the for the same people and policies.

    The devil you know?

  5. Let's be realistic here. Where else could Mike Chapman earn SO MUCH money? Look at his work history before becoming a county commissioner. He'd be lucky to be earning a third of what he's pulling down now, and he has no boss, and doesn't really have to do much of anything. (Doherty has always carried most of the actual subcommittee and other work for the commissioners...) Given all that, I'd say there's no way on earth that Mike Chapman would support cutting his own pay. He might agree to a deal to cut a future commissioner's pay, but not his. No way.

    1. Once Doherty is gone, I fear that pretty much all the committee work he did will be dropped, and the contact our commissioners have with the outside world will dwindle away to nearly nothing.

      Mike will be missed, but boy, I sure don't blame him for wanting to get out.

  6. Does Tom Harper EVER get out of bed before 10AM?

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. Not that long ago, when I saw Tom downtown, I simply asked him how things were with him and his wife. He immediately got red in the face and practically shouted that their private lives were "none of (my) fucking business." I tried to say whoa there, but he'd already started storming off. It was very, very weird. And all because I had the nerve to ask how they were doing. Yikes.

    3. Tom always struck me as a little odd, but even I have been surprised at the things he's done - domestically and otherwise - over the last couple of years. Getting pissed over privacy when you run a blog dishing dirt on other people? Kinda hypocritical. As for the DV issues, I just hope he's getting help.

    4. If not for the occasional kook posting a comment, Tom wouldn't even have a blog to get up for in the morning. Like much of the rest of his life, his blog smacks of laziness and a decided lack of focus.

      Just keep sleeping, Tom.

    5. Tom's another one of those Clallam County so-called liberal creeps. He and Matthew Randazzo cooked up the deal to get the Democratic Party wasting their money renting a totally unnecessary storefront downtown - the storefront that Tom owns, naturally. Rather obviously, money exchanged hands, and continues to do so.

      So he's in bed with crooks like Randazzo, and supports highly questionable candidates like Sandy (Longshot) Long, and apparently has some anger management/domestic abuse issues as well.

      All that being so, people read his sad little blog to..? What, exactly? Check in with the lunatic troll fringe? No thanks. I mean, Peter Ripley's blog is laughable, too, but at least he occasionally does provide some agenda or piece of information that's interesting, and hasn't made it into the PDN. Tom just cuts and pastes from the PDN and thinks he's somehow contributing something to..? Again, at least Ripley gets out and goes to meetings. I don't think Tom really ever even leaves his apartment.

  7. Poor Selinda. Well, not that she isn't a fighter, and isn't able to speak her mind. Just that I don't think anyone should be made to put up with what Dumbo Jim has been spewing. Ya know? It is a JOB. Not a religion.

    Was watching one of those global financial show, and one bright light said that if it were not for the artifical manipulations of the interest rates, the global economy would be in tatters. That inspires confidence!

  8. The Prince of Clallam County
    Opinion by Dale Wilson

    Remember "The Prince" by Machiavelli? His premise was to get all the power you can, use that power to get more power and use that power to get more etc etc. When someone gets elected to any office they use that office to propel themselves to yet higher office. They join an inner circle of people who get together regularly and tell each other what a great job they are doing. The daily paper agree they are all doing a fine job and while the back slapping goes round the circle nothing gets done except congratulations.

    Recently County Commissioner Jim McEntire has been much in the news, from telling County Treasurer, Selinda Barkhuis to sit down and shut up to nominating himself for the state Board of Natural Resources to revamping the Economic Development Council--banishing other elected officials -- excepting himself.

    Port O Call recently published articles written by Barkhuis, an elected official entrusted with managing the county’s tax dollars. A lawyer as well as an accountant, she has great responsibility and with years of experience working in the Courthouse, is well positioned to speak to the realities of county government. She has called out McEntire’s assistant, Jim Jones, the county’s highest paid employee, saying he lied to the commissioners and acted in bad faith, vindictively short-staffing those who questioned him and hampering the ability of some county departments to conduct the county’s business.

    Jumping to Jones’ defense, McEntire asked the County Sheriff to investigate the accusation of lying. The sheriff’s report suggested there is no law against lying to the county commissioners. Acting in bad faith is more difficult to pin down.

    The complaint centered on whether the county is allowed to loan money to the city. Jim Jones told the commissioners that it was quite fine to do so, even, allegedly misquoting a decade-old attorney general’s opinion, assuring the commissioners they would be within the law to loan nearly seven million dollars to the city of Port Angeles.

    Treasurer Barkhuis said “No, no,” showed where the AG report was misquoted and refused to sign such a check. Her reasoning? According to Barkhuis the ruling statute makes her personally responsible for paying back the money--if the city defaulted.

    Barkhuis further believes Jones is playing fast and loose with taxpayer money -- moving about one million dollars into the Carlsborg sewer project, without approval in open meetings.

    Port O Call asked McEntire, via email, if he was in the habit of having his assistant--who is not an attorney--interpret an attorney general’s opinion--while McEntire has full access to the county prosecutor--who acts as the commissioner’s attorney. There has been no response from Mr. McEntire.

    Port O Call asked Mr. McEntire if he had requested an opinion from Deb Kelly, then county prosecutor, as to the legality of the loan in question. Again, no response. (Update: There is no record of requesting a legal opinion from then county prosecutor; Deb Kelly)

    Instead McEntire accused Barkhuis of “character assassination” and generally acting like an uppity woman who dares to ask embarrassing questions. Then McEntire threatened to cut the salaries of county department heads, elected officials—most of whom are – surprise! -- women.

    Let’s not forget that McEntire was among the commissioners who sanctioned their own hundred thousand dollar character assassination of another female department head last summer – just the resume' needed to roil the Economic Development Council and rape the remaining forest.
    Commissioner; you have enough on your plate already--stick to your knitting--create some jobs instead of controversy.

    1. More c**p from Dale Wilson, who clearly has no use for the truth. So many mistruth's it is a waste of time to even start. Ms. Barkhuis was NEVER an Accountant, FAILED as an Attorney, FAILED as a Planner, and now works half - time as a Treasurer, blaming Commissioners for not giving her additional staff to make up for the difference in work done between Judy Scott (who worked MORE than full time) and herself. Jim McEntire was not in office when the DCD investigation started. Jim Jones is not even in the top 4 of the "highest paid employees of the county" . Way to go Dale, yellow journalism at its best.

    2. Jim Jones is very much in the "top 4 highest paid employees of the county" - and at the very top, with his only real competition being judges. Now, judges have their salaries set elsewhere, so it's also very fair to say that Jim Jones is the highest paid employee at the county THAT THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS HAVE CONTROL OVER, including setting the salary for that position.

      Between salary, benefits, retirement, etc., Jim Jones will have made more than a million dollars from his work at Clallam County. Does anyone really think he's been worth all that?

    3. Please, waste some time and point out the untruths. Also, I sign my name to stuff, why don't you? I stand by the reporting/opinions published.

    4. So, why would anyone care if he is? Isn't the City Manager the highest paid at the city? Isn't the Executive Director the highest paid at the Port? Isn't the Store Manager the highest paid at Swains? Isn't the Mill Manager the highest paid at Nippon? Selinda, you are a Moroni!

  9. If he's the highest paid then he should be ethical and capable like those other people at least seem to be is the reasoning I think. Not that by being the highest paid he is somehow bad.