Discretionary funds, a $40,000 annual allocation of taxpayer dollars that each supervisor can spend on projects of their choice, have been a hot topic in Merced County for years. But it wasn’t until District 3 Supervisor Daron McDaniel was elected in January that the issue was put back on the front burner.
One supervisor uses the funds for a personal assistant who was caught driving a county vehicle, Unlicensed, and while under the influence of alcohol.
Other use it for any reason they see fit which comes down to special interests to garner votes. Which is not supposed to be done with tax payer money.
In the meantime much needed and valuable programs are being cut like the seniors lunch program. Read more here:
McDaniel, who has voted against most of his fellow board members’ funding requests, believes the discretionary dollars should be spent on bricks-and-mortar projects, repairing public buildings and public safety, because those expenditures benefit everyone. Other board members have requested using their district funds for nonprofit organizations, local sports teams and other specialized groups.
The Atwater supervisor had his first discretionary funding request on the agenda – using $4,000 to replace an aging wall at the county’s fire station at Castle Commerce Center. Isnt that what taxpayer money is used for?
Other supervisors of course started mouthing off about his use of the funds like they are a bunch whiney brats.
“I do recollect during the campaign that there was a desire not to use funds on special projects – and I respect that,” said District 5 Supervisor Jerry O’Banion. “I also think he (McDaniel) needs to respect the other board members with regard to what they desire to do with their special district funds.”
Basically O’Banion is saying “leave my toys alone you BITCH!”
District 4 Supervisor Deidre Kelsey made the suggestion to schedule a formal discussion on the use of discretionary funding. The other supervisors agreed.
Now remember Supervisor Kelsey stated in the past that they were not entitled to an automatic pay raise that is for some reason linked up to the state superior court judges pay. When they increase, the supervisors pay increases. In December of 2013 supervisor Kelsey feigned surprise and said she had no control over her pay, And said they did not deserve it because it was a time where major cutbacks were being done due to the economy.
A couple of supervisors declined the raise in the interest of the best for all but Kelsey did not and obviously was grandstanding for the media.
The five districts had a combined balance of $406,429.53 in discretionary funds as of this month, according to Assistant County Executive Officer Scott De Moss.
District 2 Supervisor Hub Walsh had the most discretionary funds with $201,682.61; O’Banion had the second most with $127,371.50. District 1 Supervisor John Pedrozo had the least with $11,146.48. McDaniel had $45,929.68 and Kelsey had $20,299.26.
Pedrozo, who uses the majority of his district funding on a personal assistant, told the public Tuesday that the money goes back into benefiting the county. He “reluctantly” supported McDaniel’s request.
“Reluctantly, I am going to support this because I support anything that has to do with public safety,” Pedrozo said. “But this is taxpayer dollars going back into the county.”
Look at the difference in amounts and it just makes you wonder is that money being used back in the community?
Personal assistants who drive county vehicles unlicensed and drunk, A supervisors daughter suing the county to get a payday, A supervisor who wants to play out all their business in the media to make someone look bad, instead of manning up and talking to him.
I personally have a great distaste for career politicians and the deep pockets it creates, Special interest with money can play into it to easily. We are way to much a money grabbing government these days and the are constantly wanting to pick out pockets while they have a slush fund that is easily dispersed for personal agendas.
Maybe Daron McDaniel is the type people we need in these positions to start doing for the community and not just talk about it.