ATASCADERO — In anticipation of an ordinance change on May 21, to reallocate Clerk of the Board duties from the County of San Luis Obispo’s Clerk-Recorder office to the Administrative Office of County government, the Clerk is planning scaled back operations in the Atascadero office.
Beginning the month of June, County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong said in a press statement, the North County Clerk-Recorder’s office, above the Atascadero Library Branch, will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays only, from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Gong intends to monitor the level of “customer activity” in North County and make adjustments as necessary, he added.
Scheduling for the, “ordinance to amend Title 2, Chapter 2.08 of the County Code to designate the County Administrative Officer [CAO] as the Ex-Officio Clerk of the Board of Supervisors,” had a hearing date set for May 21, as the first item of business on the Board of Supervisors’ regular meeting on May 7.
While Gong previously told The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press that the service reduction, initially a full closure, was necessitated because of the impacts of the staff transfer out of his office by the CAO, the report presented to the Board by Assistant County Administrative Officer Guy Savage listed there being no financial impacts.
Although he did summarize that, “The Administrative Office is working closely with the Clerk-Recorder’s Office to identify the budgetary and staffing changes related to the proposed transition of duties.”
While public comment on the matter was open during discussion of the May 7 consent calendar where the item was introduced, and there had been a vocal contingent of North County contractors and business people speaking out against the move through April, no individuals came forward for comment at the meeting. Neither did either of the North County’s Board representatives ask for it to be discussed.
In his prepared remarks, issued while the Board was in a brief recess between items after the passage of their consent calendar agenda, Gong said, “The transfer of these duties to Administration completely make sense, since Administration is primarily involved with supporting the Board of Supervisors. I am in support of this decision, but as a result, I have to consider how we will cover the remaining duties of the Clerk-Recorder department.”
He went on to acknowledge the impact of public outreach on evolving plans, “After discussion with the SLO County Builders Exchange and other county officials, the best compromise of maintaining a presence in North County while being good stewards of the taxpayer’s dollars is to keep the office open for fewer days per week.”
For background, the Clerk and Recorder offices were consolidated into one in 1983. In the majority of California counties, Clerk of the Board activities are already carried out by the CAO or an independent office, making San Luis Obispo a statistical outlier.
The list of Clerk of the Board duties, which Savage prepared for review, include:
1. Clerking duties for the Board of Supervisors of its public meetings;
2. Maintenance of County ordinances and resolutions, including publication of the County Code;
3. Clerking duties for the Assessment Appeals Board;
4. Clerking for other County boards and commissions as designated in statute;
5. Secretary to the City Selection Committee; and,
6. Processing of claims, complaints, and summonses.
In shifting staff resources for those tasks to the CAO, Gong reports, his office is orienting for the lowest overall impact as the “North County office generates 2.2% of the overall revenue of the department at the expense of almost 10%.”