[Monterey County] County historian position headed for dustbin of history

Blog note: this article references a grand jury report.

Salinas >> Perhaps Meg Clovis really was irreplaceable after all.

Six months after longtime Monterey County’s de facto historian retired following a distinguished 36-year career with the former county parks department, her position is officially on the chopping block.

On Monday, the Board of Supervisors’ budget committee agreed to replace the existing Historical and Cultural Affairs Manager position with a Management Analyst II position, which would be responsible for overseeing a more formally regulated county parks volunteer program, as well as special events and community partnerships.

County Resource Management Agency Deputy Director Shawne Ellerbee told the committee on Monday the agency could simply contract with outside firms for historical review associated with specific development projects, one of the position’s key duties, and applicants would be charged for the cost.

According to a staff report, the Resource Management Agency is already coordinating with the County Librarian to address preservation of historical documents currently overseen through county parks and its museum exhibits, which was the subject of a previous county civil grand jury report.

Left unaddressed was the remainder of the position’s duties, including oversight of the acclaimed Agricultural Rural Life Museum in King City, and a number of other historical initiatives completed by Clovis over the past few decades.

The report suggested the management analyst position would “best serve the range of needs” in the Agency, which took over the county parks department last year and has been re-organizing it ever since. The report indicated Agency staff has struggled to absorb additional duties, some of them neglected for years, as a result of the elimination of three management-level county parks positions, including a parks director, management analyst and special events manager.

In the past couple of years, former parks director Mark Mariscal retired after just a few years on the job and his position was not filled as the Agency absorbed the parks department and then eliminated the position entirely, and special events manager Lavonne Chin was shifted to the County Administrative Office where she now focuses on the Laguna Seca Recreational Area.

The proposed re-allocation, which still needs to be approved by the full board, is part of a series of position shifts backed by the budget committee.

November 27, 2017

Monterey Herlad

By Jim Johnson