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Local News

Union leadership asks state to audit county's finances

A smiling woman in a green turtleneck.
Mary Sandberg, Vice President for the North Coast Region of SEIU 1021.

But union negotiators say they are at an impasse because last year’s financial reports are not all available yet, meaning the information they need to draw up a contract appears to be unknown. Mary Sandberg, the Vice President for the North Coast Region of SEIU 1021, asked Cohen “to conduct an audit of county finances and a review of the county’s recent grant seeking efforts,” citing “a lack of confidence” in the county’s ability to provide accurate financial information. Sandberg spoke with kzyx late last week.

As contract negotiations drag on between the county and its largest labor union, regional union leadership has sent a letter to State Controller Malia Cohen, asking her to intervene and try to make sense of the county’s finances.

Last year, the Board of Supervisors reported that they, too, had requested state assistance, but were rebuffed. CEO Darcie Antle has said that in Fiscal Year 16/17, former Auditor-Controller Lloyd Weer claimed to have received instructions from the state auditor to spend down an excess surplus in the county’s healthcare plan, which was self-funded at the time. No sooner had the county acted on those instructions than the pandemic started, and the lack of reserves combined with the acuity of healthcare claims resulted in a multi-million dollar deficit. The county has since changed its healthcare plan to a pool plan called PRISM.

Local News
Sarah Reith came to Mendocino County in 2008 and worked as a reporter and freelancer, joining KZYX as a community news reporter in 2017. She became the KZYX News Director in March, 2023.