Treasurer Seeks Staff Freeze Exemption

Ventura County Treasurer-Tax Collector Harold S. Pittman will ask the Board of Supervisors today to exempt his office from a hiring freeze so that he can hire extra help during tax season.

Pittman said that the county and its cities, schools and special districts risk losing up to $742,000 in interest revenues if his office is unable to process 160,000 property-tax payments between March 27 and April 27. Without the extra help, Pittman said, processing would take another two months.

"If we don't have the money in the bank, then that money is lost forever," he said.

Pittman said he will ask the board for permission to spend $25,000 out of his current budget to hire temporary help to meet state-imposed deadlines for distributing tax money to various agencies.

"I already have the money in my budget," he said. "I'm just asking them for the authority to spend it."

Stanley A. Eisner, executive director of the Local Agency Formation Commission, said he will also ask the board for permission to fill a management assistant position in his office. Eisner said that his current assistant has been promoted and will be leaving at the end of the week.

As a result, Eisner said, his office, a state planning agency that oversees annexation issues, will be left without secretarial support.

"We're a two-person office," he said. "It will be 50% more difficult."

Faced with a $46-million budget deficit this year, the Board of Supervisors last month imposed a hiring freeze on most county departments. Those exempted from the freeze include law enforcement, fire protection and health and welfare services.

The board agreed, however, to hear appeals of the hiring ban from other departments.

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