County public works director complains our streets “are falling apart in front of our eyes” – but he still gets his $168,000/year plus benefits

8 May

What now for the Esplanade? Council has laid that decision over for after the election – cute, eh?

The real issue on Esplanade is the collapsing infrastructure – buckling, incomplete sidewalks, lack of crosswalks, high curbs that force wheel chairs out into the street.  It’s an outrage that a city the size of Chico, with a payroll of over $28 million dollars, another $12 million on pensions and health benefits, would look like this.




Cycling through my neighborhood I encountered a sink hole. Notice it’s already been patched at least once, quite recently.


A few years ago, former Mayor Ann Schwab make a big deal over the new “Hwy 99 Bike Trail” through town. You can see part of it from the freeway. The purple light poles and other “art treatments” – stuff like, thousands of dollars for boulders shipped in from the Eastern US – ran almost a million dollars.

What you can’t see is the section that runs through my neighborhood. Cal Trans wouldn’t grant access on the freeway overpass, so the trail leads back into the neighborhood, winding down one street and up the other, using a series of stenciled white bicycles to lead the eager traveler to and from Bidwell Park.  The actual trail was resurfaced, but, as you can see in the picture above, the surrounding streets were left to rot. 

I wonder what the purple signs cost.

As you can see, the resurfacing job follows the purple signs. I wonder what each sign cost.

Every now and then a citizen complains and a city works truck comes out to patch holes with “slobbers” left over from other road jobs.  Those patches only seem to exacerbate the pothole – within a week it’s back, even bigger.

I remember sitting in a meeting at which then-Finance Director Jennifer Hennessey explained that the gas tax fund – money that is supposed to be dedicated to fixing streets – was routinely bottomed out paying salaries Downtown. That seemed sketchy to Mark Sorensen before he was mayor – now he has sat by as city staff has manufactured ordinances allowing “cost allocation” – meaning, if a staffer attends a meeting in which the gas tax is mentioned, their salary for that meeting comes out of the gas tax fund. As well as the PG&E bill for that meeting, etc. 

You see the streets sit and rot, but City of Chico employees continue to collect their paychecks, as well as pension and benefits payments.

It’s no better in the county, according to county Public Works Director Mike Crump (Enterprise Record, Letters, 5/4/16)

It was great news reading about all the road work Caltrans is doing locally, including the resurfacing of Highway 99 in Chico and constructing passing lanes on Highway 70 south of Oroville that are all important, but what about our local roads? We can all see (and feel) our local streets falling apart in front of our eyes.

Cities and counties have been measuring the condition of our roads and bridges and the news is not good. With the existing California gas tax funding formulas, there is a clear downward trend in our local road conditions projected over the next 10 years unless our state legislators begin to address this issue.

Here in Butte County, where I am public works director, on a scale of 1-100 with 100 being excellent, our local road pavement condition index (PCI) is an “at risk” 66. We (cities and county) need more than $65 million per year over the next 10 years if we are to bring our roads up to a good condition with a PCI over 70 and this does not include the needs of our bridges, traffic signals or sidewalks. Last year, unincorporated Butte County could only afford to spend $2.5 million to resurface 25 miles of our 1,000 miles of paved roads we need to maintain. If future funding to maintain our local roads is not addressed soon, we can expect many more of our roads to fail. Please log onto for more information and cool maps.

— Mike Crump, Oroville

Mike, or “John” Crump as he is listed on the county payroll, made $168,000 in 2014, and took a $28,000 benefits package. The county spent over $118 million on wages in 2014, with another $35 million going out to retirement and health benefits. All that money spent on wages and benefits – what do we have to show for that? A bunch of fat employees driving to work in their new vehicles – a lot of them provided by the tax payers (who also pay the gas tax to fill them up) – over shredded roads. 

Is Crump looking for us to tax ourselves further to pay more in wages – his wages have creeped up over $20,000/year in the last 10 years, while, as he admits, our roads “are falling apart in front of our eyes.” 

This is what keeps employers out of the North State – our backwards, corrupt, over-fed public workers and our sagging, neglected infrastructure. 


9 Responses to “County public works director complains our streets “are falling apart in front of our eyes” – but he still gets his $168,000/year plus benefits”

  1. bob May 8, 2016 at 3:26 pm #

    Is Crump looking for us to tax ourselves further to pay more in wages…

    Absolutely. Brown and the Demonrats want to tack on a big new gas tax. (Of course for now they are laying low but just wait until after the election.) This on top of the AB32 tax. When you factor in that tax and sales tax this state already has the highest gas tax in the country yet we have the worst roads. The more money they take from us the worse the roads get because the money never goes for the roads.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if our rulers come up with a county wide sales tax increase for roads but that may be a tough sell considering that Horroville may raise their sales tax a full percent and who knows what Lando and the cops in Chico have in store for us as far as a city wide sales tax increase goes. The only thing I know for sure is that however much money they take from us it will never be enough.

    • Juanita Sumner May 8, 2016 at 4:28 pm #

      The more money they take from us the worse the roads get because the money never goes for the roads.

      Thanks Bob, that would be a great title for this post!

      when I get the chance I’ll go out around town with my camera and take some really good pictures.

      • bob May 8, 2016 at 4:47 pm #

        The Demonrats want to raise the gas tax another 12 cents. And they want to increase the vehicle registration tax. They want to increase it on average $35 per car every year. They want to squeeze at least ANOTHER $6 billion from us every year.

        Look for Moonbeam and the rest of the Demonrats to push real hard for this after the election is over.

        How any working person could vote for these thieves is just incomprehensible. They are out to take as much from us as they possibly can.

        Voting for these vermin is like chickens voting for Colonel Sanders.

      • bob May 8, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

        And as if all that was not enough the state politicians and bureaucRats have come up with a new pilot program to tax us by the mile.

        They want to force you to have a gps in your car that will track every mile you drive then you will be taxed by the mile on top of what you will already pay for gas taxes and vehicle license and other taxes.

        And of course they will know everywhere you went.

        Pure tyranny. The colonists revolted over far less.

        You really have to ask yourself how much more of this cr@p people will put up with or are they all just brain dead sheep?

      • Juanita Sumner May 9, 2016 at 5:00 am #

        I don’t think “working people” are electing these creeps, I think it’s public employees who elect these creeps.

        I was just talking to a person about this – the thin blue line that keeps us from revolting is, we’d actually have to kill somebody. I really don’t like some of these people, but I haven’t reached the point where I can visualize myself killing them.

  2. Jim May 9, 2016 at 3:07 pm #

    This really seems like intentional fraud. That money is suppose to go to fixing roads. Perhaps the Grand Jury should look into this.

    • Juanita Sumner May 10, 2016 at 4:38 am #

      I think they made it legal when Chris Constantin introduced an ordinance legitimizing “cost allocation” – taking of funds to cover indirect staff costs. You just had to be there, it was a stroke of evil genius.

  3. Jim May 10, 2016 at 7:13 am #

    Just because the City passed a misappropriation of funds rule, doesn’t mean it’s kosher with the State of CA or the Federal Gov.

    • Juanita Sumner May 10, 2016 at 2:11 pm #

      Good point – you remind me, they collected that illegal cell phone tax right up until it was declared they had to pay it back, ran a dishonest campaign to get the voters to make it legal, and when they failed, refused to pay back more than a year’s takings.

      I guess I forgot what kind of people we’re dealing with here.

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