SACRAMENTO—Governor Jerry Brown began his first full day in office by laying the groundwork for his plan to shifting the delivery of state services to county government. His realignment of the delivery service delivery of services and the money to pay for them was one of his key goals in trying to erase a long term budget deficit.
"It involves welfare, it involves Medi-Cal, it involves parole, probation and many other things," Brown told reporters outside the California Association of Counties building where he had scheduled a meeting.
County supervisors have complained for years about services they are required to provide under strict guidelines but without being given the funds to pay for them.
Officers in the association said after the meeting that they were encouraged by the opportunity to give input into what one member called a revolutionary plan.
"He comes here to see us...it's different than I've ever experienced. We didn't have to trot over there like little children go into the governor's office, get patted on the head and say bad things are going to happen to you. We had an opportunity to have a real dialogue," said Association Vice-president and Yolo County Supervisor Mike McGowan.
Governor Brown acknowledged that transferring decision making power to local government must come with funding mechanisms or services might be eliminated. He said he expects any plan that is developed will come with controversy and conflict.
"The counties and the probation people and mental health and sheriff 's and police chiefs ...they're all going to weigh in because they're all going to be affected," said Brown.
And supervisors say in the long run there may not be enough money to fund all that is asked of them. "We'll be providing less service and we'll have less revenues is essentially what it's going to amount to in the long run," said McGowan.
But supervisors at the meeting also said counties have been doing more with less a lot longer than state government. They say local government can run programs more efficiently provided that some of the rules on how they can provide those serves are relaxed. If those programs are funded properly, it would free up money that can be spent on local services.
Brown said he hopes that he'll enjoy some goodwill and a cooperative atmosphere following his election which will help him reach his goals.