Gong threatens to close North County office, without more funding

April 28, 2019

SLO County Clerk Recorder Tommy Gong


San Luis Obispo County Clerk Recorder Tommy Gong plans to close the North County office, which is located above the Atascadero Library, unless the Board of Supervisors increases his funding, Gong said. [Cal Coast Times]

County administrators recently moved two employees who work for the board of supervisors from the clerk recorder’s budget to the Office of Administration Services’ budget. Shortly afterwards, Gong announced plans to shutter the North County clerk’s office on May 3, and move those employees to his San Luis Obispo office to cover the loss of the two employees who continue to provide service to the Board of Supervisors.

While under Gong’s budget, the clerks for the Board of Supervisors filled in when the Office of Clerk-Recorder’s employees were out sick and also assisted in various election duties, but primarily worked for the county supervisors. Only 10 percent of their time was spent working for the Office of the Clerk-Recorder, Gong said.

In response to the proposed closure, the SLO County Builders Exchange circulated a flier asking members to petition SLO County supervisors Debbie Arnold and John Peschong for assistance in keeping the office open at least several days a week, which led Gong to request additional funding to replace the employees who were transferred to the Administrative Service’s Office budget.

In response to public criticism, Gong is now considering a partial closure of North County services, but only if the Board of Supervisors votes to increase his budget.

“Additional needs coming from election-related requirements have necessitated having more staff dedicated to voter registration and election activities throughout the year to meet statutory requirements instead of only during the election cycle,” Gong said.

Passed in 2016, the California Voter’s Choice Act requires election officials to accept ballots from other jurisdictions and forward them to the correct agency within eight days. In addition, clerks are now required to allow eligible voters to register and to vote 14 days prior to an election through election day.

During the 2018 election, the SLO County Clerk-Recorder’s Office made multiple errors which required additional staff time to correct, including sending two ballots to some voters in Templeton, sending incorrect ballots to two precincts in Arroyo Grande, and incorrectly including a two-year-seat on the Los Osos ballot.

Gong did not respond to a request regarding the amount of time his staff spent correcting those errors.

Even if Gong closes the North County Clerk-Recorder’s Office, the building will continue to serve as an office for the county assessor and emergency services.

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It was my experience that the north county offices are heavily used. In addition to servicing the population north of the grade, providing services away from downtown elevated traffic and parking in the San Luis Obispo core.

In a county of 211000 population why was millions spent on opening a 2nd office to begin with .SLO county the smallest county within the state except for 600 miles away near Klamath Oregon ….Its the same reasoning as the county pays for inside keeping of paperwork to mini storage companies ….and that private storage of documents is not cheap at all …..

Maybe Gong has to go…..he’s made a few important errors since appointed to the job.

We are blessed with super efficient organizations. Our Assessors office is first rate. Our Tax collectors office is efficient. Our county clerk recorder is equally efficient. The fact that the BOS moved two employees to their budget says a ton. The BOS is a non revenue generating function. Purely as cost center. What everyone should be worried about is the increase of the budget of the BOS and the decrease in the budget of a service. Come one people. Bureaucracy only gets bigger. But if that bureaucracy can generate enough revenue to more than support that increase. OK. But the BOS is a total (100%) drain on our economy. Allocating more resources to them is a waste. Recall anyone who voted to increase their own budget.

The government way, always demand more money instead of finding the funds needed by cutting costs and eliminating waste.