Friday, September 4, 2009

Soil District lay offs and re-hires

Awhile back, I had blogged about the so-called "hostile takeover" of the Soil Conservation District by Ken Ulman. The takeover would have moved the work of the Soil Conservation District into DPZs shop, and would have meant the lay off of two Soil District employees.

Eventually, a compromised was reached in that the Soil District was to charge fees for their services, which makes perfect sense. However, things must have fallen apart because the Soil District ended up laying off two employees anyway, although they were hired back part-time after a mysterious source of funds were located.

The Howard Soil Conservation District, an independent agency mostly supported by county funds, reviews sediment and erosion control plans for proposed developments. The district ran out of money to pay two employees who review the plans last Friday, the agency’s manager, Bob Ensor, said.

The two employees were laid off on Friday and the agency still had no employees to do the work as of Monday, Ensor said. Ensor later found funding to rehire the employees to work two days a week until the County Council acts on a bill that would fund the positions through a fee schedule imposed on developers. The council is expected to vote on that bill Sept. 8.

In a letter Tuesday to County Auditor Haskell Arnold, Ulman said the actions of the Howard Soil Conservation District “raise serious concerns about their ability to manage their public responsibilities and act in the public interest.”

The money to re-hire the employees came from private donations from Conservation District supervisors. This all sounds pretty weird, don't you think?