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Riverside County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries updates the community on county news

The following updates were provided by Riverside County District 1 Supervisor Kevin Jeffries. District 1 encompasses the cities of Canyon Lake, Wildomar, Lake Elsinore, most of the City of Riverside, and several unincorporated communities.

By Kevin Jeffries

Let’s start off with some good news……

A Leader
In 1957, the rural community of Good Hope (between Lake Elsinore and Perris) welcomed a husband and wife with four daughters to the quiet community. The wife immediately got involved and became an advocate for the community.

Over the years and decades, she successfully advocated for a local elementary school, water lines, a local fire station, and a community center. She worked tirelessly to provide resources for the elderly and needy in the community. She coordinated a free food program for low-income residents for nearly 35 years. The community center was even named in part after her.

Just a few weeks ago, a celebration was held to honor her in conjunction with local African American history. So, you ask, what is so special about someone who works hard and gives back to their local community? Well, this special person, who is still engaged in her community, is Mrs. Willie Moses and she just turned 100 years young! Happy birthday and thank you, Mrs. Moses!

Just a Little More Please
With nearly 20 years of drought impacting our county and region, an old idea to “augment” Mother Nature is back on the table. The Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (a bunch of water districts working together) has been investigating the science and history of “Cloud Seeding.”  The science reportedly says such efforts can increase output (rainfall) by five to ten percent. Lots of details are pending. Stay tuned. More info on SAWPA can be found at www.sawpa.org. To view a presentation on Cloud Seeding, click here.

Local Control
While I’m sure the county (and state) would love to have them come back into the larger organization someday, recently the City of Canyon Lake opted out of the state/county/multi-city cooperative fire protection program and instead decided to establish their own city fire department.

They are very proud of the new department they have assembled with fully paid staff, a minimum of three-person staffing at all times (which includes paramedic firefighters), and a robust Volunteer Reserve program to augment the full-time professionals.

When all the start-up costs and ongoing costs are tallied up, I’m not certain it will actually save the city any money compared to the previous contract with the county and state (however the state CAL FIRE contract price is increasing by roughly $20 million this year to the county and contracting cities), but they will enjoy direct local control over staffing and their budget.

Where Are the Workers?
I have been meeting with County Department heads for several months to gauge how things are going, both under the leadership of our new county CEO and in this new social-economic reality of retirements and the competitive employment environment.

The good news is, our new CEO is building strong support from the troops, cooperating agencies, and labor leaders with his open-door, dig-deep efforts into how to improve services, customer service, and still be cost-effective. The bad news is, the county is having trouble attracting and retaining new employees because of competing wage and benefit offers from others (both public and private sector).

With roughly 23,000 employees, there are many challenges keeping everyone rowing in the same direction toward serving the public. And while the message from the CEO can get distorted as it filters down the food chain, I feel confident that despite a few of those who are retired-on-the-job, or those who are resistant to change, your county government is truly working to improve our communities (yes, despite all the challenges we have in California with 39 million residents). If you are looking for a new career and want to work near home, please take a look at the many job listings in nearly every department at https://rc-hr.com/find-a-job/job-searching/county-job-openings.

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