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Supervisors Greg Cox, Bill Horn and Dianne Jacob passed along statements regarding the county’s refusal of federal dollars to create local jobs, which I wrote about in this story last night.

In the story, Supervisor Ron Roberts was critical of the county’s Health and Human Services Agency’s decision to reject the funding without bringing it to the elected supervisors for discussion. Pam Slater-Price, the board’s chairwoman, added her criticism in this statement this afternoon.

Cox took a more conciliatory tone:

County staff always does a deep dive and looks at the intended and unintended consequences of any decision. Our county staff has done a great job of seeking and acquiring grants over the years, including $100 million in stimulus funding. It’s easy to be a Monday-morning quarterback and pick apart decisions that have already been made. Having said that, I want to put San Diegans back to work and I want to take advantage of opportunities that do so. I will push to make sure that we keep our eyes open for any future grants or programs.

Horn backed the agency’s decision:

I spoke with our HHSA director, Nick Macchione, and he assured me that he will make us aware of any grant possibilities in the future and give us justification for his recommendations. As for the TANF (subsidized jobs) grant, there were unanswered questions to the State on the terms of the agreement, including if taxpayers would be left ‘holding the bag’.

Jobs and the economy remain a top priority with me and I will vigorously pursue any credible ways to put people to work.

Jacob concurred, supporting the agency’s decision:

The County has a proven track record of securing significant grant funding at the state and federal level. In fact, over $1 billion in HHSA programs and services are funded through state and federal dollars. County staff made a calculated judgment call on whether or not this particular grant was worth pursuing. In the end, the uncertainty, timing and lack of clarity by the state posed a financial risk to the County and taxpayers. I’m certain that staff will consider applying for this grant in the future if adequate information is provided.

— KELLY BENNETT

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