With all the training that Kauai County has been ordered to do on sexual harassment, racial discrimination, whistle-blower retaliation and now age discrimination, county employees should be pretty akamai.
But there must be a cheaper way of getting staff and management up to speed than settling a steady stream of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints.
Because the county is in deep financial trouble — so deep that it's actually surveying Kauai residents on both customer satisfaction and ways of reducing costs.
Folks are being asked what measures they support in order to balance the County budget, with choices like reducing the county workforce, imposing higher property taxes and user fees, increasing the general excise tax and cutting expenditures and services.
And if you choose the cutting one, you're asked what you're willing to live with, and without.
No cops in schools? Fewer meals served to the elderly? Longer wait for building and planning permits? Longer response time from the police and fire department? Reduced lifeguard services? Cuts in the bus service?
Giving less money to youth activities, nonprofits that provide social services and “economic stimulus” programs like Kauai Visitors Bureau and agriculture? Shutting down the landfill and transfer stations one day each week?
While there is a blank for “other,” a number of possible cost-savings were noticeably absent from the survey. Like eliminating out-of-state travel. Management pay cuts. Aggressively weeding out dead wood workers. Reducing the vehicle fleet.
And carefully scrutinizing Bernard Carvalho Jr.'s legacy, vision, sacred cow — Holo Holo 2020, which is reportedly off-the-table in all budget discussions. Surely there's a bit of fat in there.
What do you think? How can the county balance its budget and improve its financial health?