Employee morale is up in county; internal email system for complaints

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Things seem to be ticking along smoothly for Valencia County these days.

At a county commission meeting last month, County Manager Bruce Swingle reported that employee morale is good and projects are moving forward.

Swingle began his report by congratulating Valencia County Clerk Sally Perea on a successful election.

"Based on the audience here, the numbers came in as fast as they could and keep them satisfied," Swingle said.

The manager was at the county administration building until the final unofficial count was announced shortly before 1 a.m., as election night crept into the next day.

"Employee morale is good. We have set some really high expectations and they seem to enjoy that," he said. "People will perform to the level set for them. Everyone wants to be productive members of society and take pride in where they work, and they do."

To further communications between himself and the staff, Swingle said they are setting up an internal email system for complaints.

"If there are issues employees feel they need to bring to our attention, but they may not want to talk to someone or have us know who they are, this system will be totally anonymous," he said. "The information is not tracked and who sent it is not visible."

Swingle said the system has just been unveiled, so he's waiting to see what the use and reaction will be.

There is currently about $3.8 million in the general fund, Swingle reported. Due to cash flow issues and unexpected expenses, he said the county had recently implement strategies to curb spending.

With tax bills sent out on Nov. 6, Swingle said the county is expecting cash flows to increase and they are preparing to go back to letting departments spend as they were budgeted.

"What we did was necessary before we had a real financial crisis, and we were successful," he said.

Swingle reported that the de-scoping of the detention center addition was continuing under the guidance of architect and project manager Scott Anderson and jail Warden Joe Chavez.

The bids for the expansion project came in over budget, so the commissioners directed staff to trim the project back to fit the funds available.

And the auditors were in the middle of the county's annual fiscal review last month, Swingle said.

Commission Chairman Donald Holliday said when the commissioners hired Swingle seven months ago, he was confident they had hired a professional.

"Since then, each day I am more confident," Holliday said.

In other business, the commissioners voted unanimously to begin the canvass of the 2012 General Election results and to accept a grant for a wildland fire coordinator.

They also approved the Rio Communities incorporation election proclamation on a 5-0 vote.

Rio Communities Association President Mark Gwinn said the proclamation established a Jan. 8 election to allow residents within the proposed boundaries of a new city vote on whether they wanted to form a municipality.

Commissioner Ron Gentry made the motion to approve the resolution for the election proclamation.

"This is with the understanding that they have met all the requirements, and that they have money and will pay for (the election)," Gentry said.

Commissioner Lawrence Romero seconded the motion.


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.