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Santa Barbara County supervisors to hear consultant’s evaluation of CEO’s office Tuesday
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Santa Barbara County supervisors to hear consultant’s evaluation of CEO’s office Tuesday

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The first report in a consultant’s evaluation of Santa Barbara County government departments will be delivered to the Board of Supervisors when they meet Tuesday in Santa Barbara.

Supervisors are also scheduled to receive the annual update on Child Welfare Services’ performance, improvements, challenges and systemic issues from the Department of Social Services.

Revisions to the retail cannabis storefront permit and license procedures are expected to receive final approval as part of the administrative agenda of items usually OK’d in a single vote without comment unless pulled for discussion.

The board is also expected to assign supervisors as representatives to various boards, committees and commissions and to set the Jan. 28 meeting for a public hearing on three appeals filed over the Planning Commission’s Nov. 20 approval of the Strauss Wind Energy Project conditional use permit and variance.

Back in May 2019, the county contracted with KPMG consultants to evaluate the county’s 21 departments over a four-year period in an effort to improve efficiency, effectiveness and the delivery of services to the public.

As part of the county’s Renew 22 initiative, KPMG was hired to conduct a high-level assessment of departments, identify strengths and opportunities, and develop benchmark financial and operational areas with similar jurisdictions, according to a staff report from County Executive Officer Mona Miyasato.

The County Executive Office volunteered to be the first department evaluated, and the results of that assessment to be delivered Tuesday include not only commendations in a number of areas but also recommendations for systems and processes to better drive the entire county operation.

It also includes recommended internal system changes to provide high-performance management and improvements in the clerk of the board, budget and research, Office of Emergency Management and risk management department programs and divisions.

Under KPMG’s initial $1.24 million one-year contract, reviews have been completed or are in progress for the General Services, Human Resources, Planning and Development and Public Health departments, Miyasato’s report said.

Evaluations of the Sheriff’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, District Attorney’s Office and Probation Department are scheduled to begin this year.

If the amendments to ordinances governing cannabis retail storefront operations are approved Tuesday as expected, the changes will become effective Feb. 14.

The amendments approved by the board Dec. 17 on a first reading will establish a licensing procedure that will involve the community from the very beginning and will select operators based on merit rather than the previously approved random selection process.

But it will likely take a year before potential retail storefront operators get through the selection process and obtain business licenses and land use permits, county officials said in December.

The fourth annual review of Child Welfare Services in conjunction with the California Children and Family Services Review will look at two issues that continue to have an impact on services — the Commercially Sexually Exploited Children Program and the Continuum of Care Reform bill.

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