A dear friend of mine read about the Measure V litigation in The Union and asked me why Nevada County needs another $12,000,000 in the general fund? As we know, Nevada County officials are sounding an alarm in an effort to scare voters into believing that the county does not have enough money for wildfire mitigation despite its over $330,000,000 budget. They are telling you that they need you to pay another $12,000,000 a year because $330,000,000 is not enough to operate our small, quaint county. As of 2020, the population of Nevada County was only 102,241. Doing some quick math, Nevada County states that it needs about $3,300 per person to operate our little county. For a family of four, they need to pay about $13,000 for county services. For nearly all of us, $13,000 is a lot of money unless of course you actually work for Nevada County in its executive offices.
Let's take a look at the top six non-elected money earners at the County and their combined salary and benefits package from 2021.
The Chief Executive Officer, Allison Lehman, made $409,437.
Chief Information Officer, Stephen Monaghan, made $338,209.
Assistant CEO, Mali Lagoe, made $336,788.
County Counsel, Kit Elliott, made $314,794.
Community Development Agency Director, Trisha Tillotson, made $308,350.
Health and Human Services Agency Director, Ryan Gruver, made $306,109.
In total, these six unelected government officials made a combined $2,013,687 and individually made more than any elected official in the County. How many people in Nevada County make over $300,000 per year? I would bet that it is only a handful of the 102,241 people that live here.
I would posit to my dear friend that Nevada County does not need another $12,000,000 per year in the general fund to maintain county services and to pay county salaries and pensions. It appears that Nevada County needs to better manage the $330,000,000 that they already have and maybe cut some bloated executive salaries and bloated executive pensions. The hardworking people of Nevada County deserve a local government that serves their interests and not the self-interest of the executives of the very same government.