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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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May 29, 2013     Feather River Bulletin
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May 29, 2013
 

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6A Wednesday, May 29, 2o13 feather River Bulletin CONTRACT, from page 1A i board and to adhere to the • three-minute time allotment. session, but when information began appearing on Facebook Sheriff speaks In'st and Twitter, Supervisor Jon Sheriff Greg Hagwood said Kennedy called for a public that his department took a big hearing to discuss the hit last year-- $764,000. "Last contract, year you handed us a big bill COunty Counsel Craig and we paid it," he said. He said that "only through Settlemire opened the May 21 sessionwith a brief history of a measure of creativity and what has transpired since the ingenuity by the men and last agreement with the women at the sheriffs sheriffs employees expired dePartment" was the April 30, 2009. department able to function. The two sides met more "We found every than 19 times, but couldn't conceivable way to pay the bill and continue to operate," reach an agreement. They declared an impasse Nov. 8, he said. 2012, and asked for a mediator He pointed oat that his from the California State department didn't co/ne back Mediation and Conciliation to the supervisors during the Service. fiscal year to ask for more Both sides met with a state money as other departments mediator in two all-day had. "That is a success," he sessions but still failed to said. reach an agreement. "Is there a fiscal crisis that Neither side opted to ask for has emerged that necessitates fact-finding (the next step in what are significant the process) so the reductions to our pay?" he supervisors were poised to asked the board. impose a contract on the Noting that sales tax is up, employees during their May 7 the real estate market is meeting, but that action was improving and property taxes delayed in favor of holding a have leveled off, he asked public hearing, again, "Is there some "This is consistent with our emergent fiscal crisis?" last, best and final offer," After hearing no response, Settlemire said of the he said, "That is not a agreement under rhetorical question." consideration last Tuesday. Supervisor Lori Simpson After Settlemire's told Hagwood that she was explanation, Board Chairman noting his questions, but the Terry Swofford called for board could not respond until public comment, butthe conclusion of public cautioned those present to comment. direct all comments to the Hagwood said he knew that t his department wasn't the only one to be cut. "i will acknowledge very publicly that other bounty family members have taken significant cuts," he said. He said it should be the top priority of the board to restore as much as possible. (Most county employees are being furloughed one day per week.) He concluded his remarks by saying that anY further cuts to the sheriffs department would be premature. Public comment About a dozen individuals addressed the supervisors from emergency first responders who discussed how much they rely on backup from deputies, to business owners concerned about adequate protection, to the employees themselves. "I can't begin to tell you how they make our jobs safer," said Steve Tolen, who spent 40 years as a first responder. He discussed the deputies' expertise and said their "calming demeanor can make a difference." Portola resident Lynn Desjardin said, "I have total sympathy for every county employee, but public safety has to come first." Jail commander Chad Hermann said that he has worked for the department for nearly 22 years. Hermann said he understands that other ' county employees have been furloughed, and the sheriff's~ employees had offered to take furloughs aswell, but that idea was rebuffed. He said that the sheriffs employees would be willing to pay their retirement in increments, but not in one large cut as was being proposed. A couple of employees mentioned their love of the area and their work, bfft said that the low pay made it diffmult for some of their co-workers to continue working in the county when they could earn much more elsewhere. Supervisors respond "You want to talk about fiscal crisis? It's called CalPERS," Supervisor Lori Simpson said of the California Public Employees Retirement System. She said the crisis is local, statewide and national in scope. She said it was the trend in California for employees to pay a greater share of their retirement contributions, and listed a number of northern California counties where they pay a greater share of the costs. Her voice rising at times, she said, "I get wound up, but I'm trying to calm down." Simpson said she could relate to the employees' plight as she was once a "rank and file employee" and her dad had been a sheriffs deputy. "I used to hear my dad gripe about the Board of Supervisors," she said. She said that she wants to add deputies and that would be discussed during the budget hearings, but she thinks it's important that employees pay their share of their retirement. "Taxpayers aren't sympathetic," she said. Supervisor Sherrie Thrall began her remarks by saying, :'I'm probably an extreme fiscal conservative." During his presentation, Sheriff Hagwood had asked what the county would do with the money it saved by not paying for the employees' share of their retirement. Thrall said she would like to first build the county's reserves and then restore other county employees to full-time status. "I want to ensure that this county doesn't have to file bankruptcy," she said. Thrall said she would also like to hire more deputies. Supervisor Kevin Goss said his priority is to get more deputies on the street. As a Greenville pharmacy owner, it concerns him that a deputy must split time between Greenville and Chester. He said that after a lifetime of working in the private sector, he was happy to receive medical insurance and a retirement plan. "I've been funding my own retirement 100 percent," he said. Three amphibians and their habitat proposed for protection The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog and the northern distinct population segment of the mountain yellow-legged frog as endangered and the Yosemite toad as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The service is also proposing to designate critical habitat for these three amphibian species in California: 1,105,400 acres across 16 counties for the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog, 221,498 acres across two counties for the mountain yellow-legged frog, and 750,926 acres across seven counties for the Yosemite toad. With ooo • Kitchens • Bathrooms • Room Additions / • Decks • Fencings • Finish Basements • Siding • Old Home Remodels & Restoration II Complete Interior & Exterior Remodeling. FREE Estimates! CONSTRUCTION SINCE 1984 We also do all Insurance-Related Repairs. Serving the area's construclJon needs for 29 years! Licensed & Insured General Building Contractor • Calif. Lic. #453927 (S30) ZS3-ZO3S overlapping areas, the total proposed critical habitat for the three amphibians is 1,831,820 acres. Most of the proposed critical habitat is on federal lands. "With two amphibian species possibly facing extinction, one more at serious risk; and almost 2 million acres of critical habitat being proposed, we will need the best available scientific information in order to make our final decision on protecting these species," said Jan Knight, acting field supervisor for the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Service. "America's wildlife resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species is a shared responsibility. We encourage the public to submit information to help us better understand the condition of these species and their habitat." The Fish and Wildlife Service seeks information regarding any threats to the species and regulations that may address those threats. The service will accept comments through June 24 on the two proposed rules. Comments may be submitted online at the Federal eRulemaking Portal at regulations.gov. The docket number for the proposed listing rule is FWS-R8-ES-2012-0100 and for the proposed critical habitat rule is FWS-R8-ES-2012-0074. Comments can also be sent by U.S. mail to Public• Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-RS-ES-2012-0100 or FWS-R8-ES-2012-0074, Division of Policy and Directives Management, U.S. Fish and ' Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM, Arlington, VA 22203. !y, June 16 ,..a fun family event! Pancake breakfast • 8 -11 am ° C uincy Vol. Fire Department Fly.In Gansner uincy • Car Show • Planes on Display • Scenic Flights • Air Ambulance Displays . • Sheriff's SWAT Displays :. Smokey the Bear • QVFD Ladder Truck Lift Rides • Fire Equipment on Display Special Fuel Price All ,Day Long on June 16, 2013 $5.52 gal. Live Music ROCK & ROLL & BLUES Ggss said that "PERS is definitely an issue coming forth" and that he wanted the county "to remain whole" and not have to face bankruptcy. When it was Kennedy's turn to speak, he became a little emotional. "It's been a rough couple of weeks; there's not much fight left in me," he said. (Kennedy recently lost a close friend.) Kennedy said that he read a lot of the correspondence that had been going around and thought that it involved issues that had been discussed for several years. "It's kind of ambiguous; there's no specific requests," he said. "I firmly believe that every single public employee should pay 100 percent of the employee portion of their retirement eventually," he said. But that said, he doesn't think the sheriffs employees should be aske~l to pay it all at once. "I think it should be phased in," he said. He said he understood that it would be difficult for employees to absorb an immediate cut. "In a lot of cases, it's not manageable," he said. He asked County Counsel Craig Settlemire if there were a way to put aside the resolution that had been prepared and resume negotiations. Settlemire said that such action would restart the clock and the board would have to work its way through all of the steps from negotiation to mediation to impasse if a timely resolution couldn't be reached. Ultimately the board decided to adopt the resolution, but delayed the effective date until Aug. 5, providing a window for a different agreement to be achieved. "I'm hoping something will happen to make it all better," • Kennedy said. Q, from page 1A Plumas County Picnic, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds. Features Sierra Cascade Street Rodders show and shine, monster truck rides, NASCAR exhibit, vendors, 4-H showmanship events, swap meet. Epilog Books sponsors book signing by Sheila Sharp, Keddie Murders survivor, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Sign up for swap meet at front gate between 7 and 8:30 a.m. $10 per table. American Valley Speedway race follows at 7 p.m. North Fork Family Medicine Yard .Sale, Papa's Donuts in East Quincy. Donations accepted at 7 a.m., opens to public at 8. Supports Plumas County Relay for Life. Sunday: 11th annual Spring Concert, 6:30 p.m., Pioneer-Quincy Elementary School cafeteria. Presented by Face the Music Studio, Plumas Arts. Featuring High Sierra Community Youth Orchestra conducted by Johny McDonald. Refreshments available. Donations accepted at the door. Need help REPLACING or • DOORS • TRIM • WINDOWS • PLUMBING • ROOFING • ELECTRICAL We do insurance-related repairs If it's something we can't fix, we'll find somebody who can. ~AI'T~ am" ,= 81NCE IDO4 General Building Contractor Calif. Lic. #453927 (530) 283-2035