LETTERS: BOC, not Connell, at fault for large retirement payout

Camie Young's article ("County retiree pockets $300k," Jan. 6, Page 1A) makes Jock Connell look like the proverbial bad guy. He is not. Jock simply took advantage of a legal, binding employment contract. The problem is and always has been with the Board of Commissioners for allowing such a contract to be written and approved. I have spoken out against this matter via e-mail several times.

As a matter of fact, I e-mailed the BOC when the commissioners were up on the mountain in December 2008 at their annual retreat. Recipients of my e-mail were Jock Connell along with Chairman Charles Bannister and Commissioners Mike Beaudreau, Kevin Kenerly and Bert Nasuti. The BOC was, as I understood it, looking at ways to reduce expenses in the 2009 budget which, as you know, has become another county fiasco.

One of the ways to reduce expense that I recommended was reducing the annual leave and sick time that can be carried over from one calendar year to the next. My position is and always has been that you do not compound annual leave and sick time to the point that it allows for the packing of a golden parachute. I advised the BOC that in the private sector, you either use it or you lose it. I further advised them that no more than five days of unused leave/sick time should be carried over into any calendar year. Translated, this would mean that if a county employee retired effective July 1, 2010, he or she would receive payment for any unused leave/sick time in 2010 plus the five days carried over from 2009.

Personnel with their associated salaries and benefits is perhaps the largest expense in any organization, whether it be in the public or private sector. Therefore, when determining personnel requirements, a simple formula to adhere to is personnel equals barely enough minus one. If you use the formula and manage your organization in a frugal manner during the tough economic times, you will never have the unpleasant task of telling an employee he or she no longer has a job. I guarantee it.

I close with this. On the matter of Jock's $300,000 payout, blame the BOC, not Jock.

— Jimmy Orr Jr.