Monday, April 09, 2007

Working with the County

I (with my Chief Deputy) had a meeting with 2 folks today.

First was an individual from the County HR Department. We had noticed that our deputies/investigators were making less than investigators in the County Public Defender’s Office. In response to our questioning, the HR folks did a preliminary “study” of Coroner’s Offices in surrounding counties to gauge how our wages compared. According to their preliminary “study” our wages compared favorably. However, they neglected to compare volume of cases (they report that volume really doesn’t “figure in” when they are making those decisions, despite comparing a county with 1100 annual cases to our 3600 caseload) nor differences in job responsibilities, what the deputies/investigators really do on the job. Suffice it to say my deputies do more. Back to the “study” for them and beefing up our job description to better capture what my deputies do for us. Also, seemingly under duress they will look how the wage was calculated for the Public Defender’s Investigator. Looks like an upcoming struggle, the stage likely set by the previous administration not keeping the wages up-to-date. It is a struggle worth engaging in.

The other individual we met with was the new County Communication Director. She seems energetic, engaged and qualified (nice change). She was impressed with what we are doing with public education and related activities. We look forward to working with her to further our goals of public education, forestalling death, and making more information and resources available to the public. The potential is great, but she will be pretty much starting from scratch in a pretty provincial atmosphere. I hope she is up to the challenge, hangs in there and accomplishes what she seems set to accomplish (it will be helpful for us and what we want to accomplish). [It will be interesting to see if and when she reads my blog. She seemed interested in it when I mentioned it, but did not ask for its address.]

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