Einfalt's reclassification is part of a plan to require accountants to report to accountants, instead of program directors. This problem, along with a lack of tighter fiscal control at Gracedale, has been identified by external auditors as a "material weakness" in internal controls for the past two years. It has also cost the County money. With the exception of Controller Steve Barron, nobody has voiced any serious objection to this reorganization, which also reduces the responsibilities of an accountant at Gracedale and creates a new fiscal administrator for human services. Barron's objection was that the County was putting the "cart in front of the horse." He pointed to outdated fiscal policies and procedures, which go back to 1988, and suggested they be revised first.
|Scott Parsons was the swing vote|
But some Council members, particularly Lamont McClure, had concerns that have also been voiced by County workers.
McClure was put off by the size of the salary hike, a point he mentioned repeatedly at a Council and Personnel Committee hearing
"When was the last time this County gave anyone a 30% pay hike?" he asked Executive John Brown, who was unable to cite an example.
"Unprecedented", "historic" and "massive" are words he used to describe the pay increase.
McClure and Ken Kraft also raised questions whether career service regulations were being followed. When a new position is created, career service regulations require the job to be posted so that others within the County can apply. But Executive Brown told them this was no new position. Einfalt was and remains the Accounting Manager. As a result of a desk audit, her position has been re-classified to add additional responsibilities and give her a larger salary.
Then McClure raised the nepotism issue. It had been raised the previous day by Council member Hayden Phillips, but after speaking to Einfalt, he became "enthused." "I have to tell you, I'm a big fan," he had said at a Committee meeting.
McClure, to put it mildly, was unenthused.
"No one else in this County is getting this kind of raise. Our employees are still shell-shocked over the Easton commuter taxes. ... I'm very concerned that, in order to get this kind of consideration, you need to be politically connected, and I'm just very concerned about that. It's unfortunate."
"That's very uncalled for," retorted Peg Ferraro. .
"What's uncalled for? What I think is uncalled for is that people who are interested in the issue - you, Madame President, making phone calls to our fellow Council colleagues regarding this issue, in advance of the issue, when you should have, in my view, not been involved in any conduct whatever advancing this issue."
After the meeting, Ferraro acknowledged that she did call Council members, as Council President, to advise them that this matter would be considered. She denied lobbying for her daughter, took no real part in the discussion at Council and in Committee and recused herself from the vote.
McClure, who accused Ferraro of nepotism, bristled during last year's budget debates when a Council member suggested that he was unable to vote for raises to professional employees like his wife, who is employed as an Assistant District Attorney. He pointed out, correctly, that she is part of a class receiving the raise and there was no conflict.
After the nepotism accusation, the vote was quickly taken. Ken Kraft and McClure opposed the promotion, Ferraro recused herself, and the five remaining Council members, including Democrat Scott Parsons, supported the reclassification. Bob Werner was absent as a result of a death in the family.
The other proposals, which reduced the responsibility of Gracedale's Fiscal Administrator and created a new position for fiscal management of human services, passed 8-0.