One week from now the income of the Trinity County Food Bank’s manager will be cut by two-thirds and the only benefit, a health plan, will be eliminated. The manager’s income will drop to $1,167 a month for a full-time job. Abject poverty income.
We have met with the current county CAO Richard Kuhns three times. He feels it is not the county’s responsibility to help. Let’s get something straight. This thing we are talking about is located on property owned by Trinity County and supervised by our county Board of Supervisors. On this property is a county building likewise overseen by our Board of Supervisors. On the front wall is a sign that has hung there for more than four decades “Trinity County Food Bank” and this Food Bank is run under a contract between the USDA and the Trinity County Board of Supervisors. And the CAO says it is not his problem?
He not only refuses to help but he voiced his main concern with how to get his management personnel another pay increase at the expense of the lower-paid county workers. This self-serving approach is what has led to two strikes in the past few years and a demoralized county work force. The county has 295 full-time employees and yet he states the county cannot afford to help with funds for a living wage and reasonable benefits for a Food Bank manager. Bull!
The county Board of Supervisors have been aware of the county’s Food Bank manager’s income problem for the last year but failed to act. Like the CAO, they have focused on giving themselves a 40 percent wage increase this year and turned their backs on those in hunger in Trinity. Who are “those people” served by the Food Bank? They are our seniors, children, disabled, single heads of households, those between jobs, the elderly caring for grandchildren and the homeless. All of these with little or no ability to defend themselves.
This board has no policy concerning dealing with hunger in the poorest county in California for households. They stay aloof from poverty and hunger issues. This board is both rudderless and leaderless in dealing with hunger impacting a large portion of the people they claim to represent.
In the past four years the food pantries and the USDA have increased the amount of food coming to Trinity three-fold. Likewise, volunteers have increased the size of the Food Bank 2½ times, funded a large truck to bring in more food and built and stocked a storefront to supply the food pantries with low or free food for distribution to those in need.
It is long past time for this Board of Supervisors to turn away from the CAO’s psychology and act, not in the board members’ interest, but in the interests of all the people including those unable to defend themselves. The Food Bank must be stabilized so that more food can be brought in to Trinity, not less.
With the cut in the manager’s income soon will follow the decline in the processing of food in and out of the Food Bank to those in need. The manager will have to find outside work to obtain a living wage. The Food Bank will then become the constipation point in getting food to those in need. Who will be responsible? Clearly the Board of Supervisors of Trinity County for taking no action. What do you do when encountering such a blockage? You clear the tubes! Likewise, what do you do with this Board’s lack of caring? You clear them out of office if they do not change for failing to represent all the people, not just the ones on top. If they do not act the stain on the reputation of this board will rapidly become permanent.
Over the past few months some supervisors have said they favor solving the problem and stabilizing the Food Bank but they have failed to take a stand. Where are their leadership abilities? They need to stand up and lead or stay seated in the mess they have created.