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Grand Jury Concerned with Funding, Staffing in Oroville

Morale low among city staff and council as funding can't keep up with rising cost of doing business in Oroville.

Posted: Apr. 16, 2018 6:50 AM
Updated: Apr. 16, 2018 7:00 AM

Oroville, Calif. -- A report out Friday by a grand jury that looked at all five cities in Butte County shows some concerning problems with the city of Oroville.

The report specifically looks at the city's skeleton staff, where about 30% of the jobs have been frozen, and those responsibilities have been passed on to remaining employees who instead of receiving pay raises have actually seen pay cuts of about 10% in the past five years. For example, the police chief also serves as the fire chief.

Basically, the city is not generating near enough revenue to keep up with the rising cost of doing business, and this is all taking a toll on city services and morale among city employees.

There is a good deal of division among council members, with some accusing others of conspiracy and collusion, though the report finds that all members of council seem to want what's best for the city.

Another big problem is that there is no city manager - there's been a city administrator who makes decisions as instructed by council rather than acting per recommendation but independently from council.

A possible sources of new revenue is also a major point of contention among council - the plan in the works to allow marijuana sales in the city.

"The council has voted to put cannabis on the city level to make a seed to sale which of course is controversial issue, especially with me because it's still against federal law. It should be changed at the federal level first. My thing is we really need to focus on other revenues," said Mayor Linda Dahlmeier.

The report also suggests boosting moral with team-building activities and strengthening public faith and trust but updating the city website to contain current names and contact information for staff.

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