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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
October 6, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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October 6, 2010

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FEATHER R VER unding Areas Since 1866 Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010 Vol. 144, No. 9 50 CENTS Linda Satchwell Staff Writer In further fallout from its tax assessment crisis, Plumas District Hospital directors met in closed session Tues- day, Sept. 28, to terminate Chief Executive Officer Dick Hathaway's employment "in order to effectuate a change in leadership style." His last day was Sept. 29. Hathaway's contract, which has been under renego- tiation since February, had been extended to Sept. 30. He'd been working to get bet- ter terms for a new contract, including a heftier severance package and increased salary. Over the past few months, a rift had developed between Hathaway and the hospital board, and talk finally turned from discussing details of a new contract to negotiating severance terms. Hathaway's severance agreement provides him with a severance payment of nine months' salary and full benefits. Six months' severance was provided in his contract. He'll be paid an additional three months severance, fairly standard in the healthcare industry, according to board president Dr. Mark Satter- field. In addition, the extra severance provided a "bar to litigation/,, which could save the district a substantial sum if there were problems. It also allowed the board to request a consulting agree- ment with Hathaway to "facilitate the transition to new. management." Hathaway also received an "earned but deferred bonus" of $25,000 for the fiscal year 2008 - 09. The bonus is re- quired under his contract for receiving a good performance evaluation for that year. PDH will also pay health insurance premiums for Hathaway and his wife for a period of 18 months. The severance agreement acknowledges that Hathaway has also requested, and the board has agreed, to pay him $19,000 in accrued and unused paid time off. In addition to the bar to litigation, in signing the agreement Hathaway and the board of directors agreed, "This is a compromise settle- ment of potential disputed claims." After all the language aimed at avoiding litigation, it stipulated that in the event of disagreement, dispute or claim, the parties would first try mediation. If that didn't work, it would go to binding arbitration and not court action. The agreement also said PDH has no obligation to make payment until the seven-day period, during which Hathaway can revoke his signature, runs its course. Immediately following the marathon four-hour closed session during which the severance agreement was completed and a possible line of succession was discussed, the board issued a press release announcing the search for a new hospital head to begin immediately. See CEO, page 12A To subscribe to the Bulletin, call 530-283-0800 mecoming royalty Alienor Delannay (left), a Rotary exchange student from France, was crowned Homecoming queen last Friday, Oct. 1, during Quincy High School's homecoming festivities. Tenth-grader Natali~ Kepple was named Homecoming princess. For pictures of related activities, see page 3A. For results of the game, see the Sports section. Photo by Ashlee Nieman Joshua Sebold Staff Writer jsebold@plumasnews.corn The Plumas County Board of Supervisors voiced its dis- agreement with many of the grand jury's findings related to economic development in its recent response to the annual Grand Jury Report. The supervisors said they were giving as much support to the tourism industry and the economy as possible. The supervisors appeared to view the majority of the Grand Jury's suggestions as being overly expensive, obliv- ious of the county's current financial troubles, and often inaccurate in terms of basic facts. The board began its re- sponse by addressing the grand jury's accusation the county wasn't "focused on economic development." The report criticized the board for its reliance on Plumas Corporation and local chambers of commerce to set priorities in economic development and tourism i Linda Satchwell They are keenly aware of boardlevel. Staff Writer the economic travails of the Kennedy, in contrast, has county, run a variety of businesses, While Lundy repeatedly big and small, Succeeding at supervisorial candidateshoped for the resurgence of some, failing at others, as he for the District 5 run-off elec- the timber industry, Kennedy readily admitted. tion, Jon Kennedy and Dick looked toward aggressive His experience gives him Lundy, faced offonelast time marketing of Plumas County an understanding of the in Graeagle Sept, 30. Both as a tourist destination,needs of business people. He candidates have had time to Both candidates have also touted his ability to hone their messages, which families rooted in this area. communicate with a wide were well presented a. Kennedy said his goes back spectrum of community informed regarding Dis .5 100 years, and he feels this is member's. and county issues for the "the right time to represent most part. my family's investment" in Currently, several large de- There were a number the county, velopments in the county of similarities both can- Lundy's investment is owe back property taxes, didates strongly supportpersonal and financial. He penalties and interest, to developer Michael Schoffattended school at the old the tune of hundreds of of Schomac Group, whose Graeagle schoolhouse and, in thousands of dollars. What master plan for the Feather the early 1970s. had his office would you do to expedite River Inn has been tied up there, full payment from delin- in litigation between High He's had significant in- quent developers? Sierra Rural Alliance and voivement in developing Plumas County over alleged portions of the Graeagle and JK: Squeeze blood from a planning violations. Blairsden area, with develop- turnip? Some developers The Schomac Group re- ments in "Plumas Eureka, don't have it. We need to dili- cently purchased the bank- Graeagle Meadows, Sierra gentlytry to collect, because rupt Nakoma Golf Resort/Estates and subdivision that's thelaw... Youcollect Gold Mountain, which owes number nine in Graeagle."what you can from people nearly $700,000 in back taxes. Lundy pointed to his that canpay.., some develop- Both see Schoff as some-experience with "planning, ers, there's about $700,000 in what of a savior and the taxes subdivision improvement, past taxes that have not been as a hindrance to his ability infrastructure," which in- paid yet for The Dragon to move forward with neces- cluded working "through (Nakoma/GoldMountain). sary development, planning, zoning and at the Fortunately, Michael Joshua Sebold to receive funding needed to Staff Writer submit their plan now. Smart told the board he would carry out the county's The Plumas County Board side of the effort regardless, of Supervisors recently ap- as his department always proved Social Services Direc- did. tor Elliott Smart's refusal to He said his department cooperate with the state on has always been vigilant In-Home Supportive Services and on the lookout for fraud fraud investigations unless cases, reacting to anything further measures were taken suspicious in its program. to protect seniors' safety. The part he objects to is the The board approved state investigator's side of Smart's fraud investigation the deal. plan at a Tuesday, Sept. 14, He reminded the board that meeting, in the prior year "members The state approved spend- of the senior community ing for a fraud prevention came in and raised concerns program in the previous about unannounced home budget year. visits made by state investi- The program involved twogators." efforts: State investigators go Smart added the seniors out into the counties and urged the board to write additional funding to county a letter to the state, asking departments bolsters their ef- it to set up a method "for forts in addressing suspected folks to confirm that a state fraud, investigator is in fact a Funding for the program state investigator because wasn't included in the most they would be concerned recent state budget draft, but about letting some person Smart said counties hoping into their home that was not Schoff, who has invested a ton of money in our commu- nity with Feather River Inn and has been hamstringed, bought The Dragon. He is diligently working to get some of the penalties re- duced, because he bought that subject to the taxes. That's the big portion of the taxes. He is going to make it right. He's a man that will make it right. But there's quite a few others that we need to work with. DL: Good answer, Jon. You just cannot get money from people that they don't have. Plumas- Eureka had six or seven developers. But we were in better times and they'd take over, and they'd buy it out. Right now, you don't have people that will buy these things out except for Michael Schoff and the Schomac Group, and we're very, very lucky to get them there. Otherwise, you take the land, but then you cannot do anything with it. You add your interest, penalties, etc, but you still don't collect it. See Debate, page 2A Medi-Cal cases April 2008:845 June 2010:978 Medi-Cal cases have grown with the numbers going up to two years ago. steadily since the end of 2007, by. about 15 percent compared Food Stamp cases July 2008:255 June 2010:485 Food Stamps Distributed in Plumas County (high/low monthly totals in dollars) Oct. 2007- Sept. 2008 Low: $71,000 High: $81,000 Oct. 2009 to June 2010 Low: $143,000 High: $169,000 The food stamp caseload in Plumas County has grown steadily since the beginning of 2007. Social Services Director Elliott Smart said his staff expected th,e program to keep growing as people on extended unem- ployment ran out of time on that program, making them eligible for food stamps. known to them." The board agreed and approved the letter,-sending it on to the state. Smart told the board the plan he would submit this year informed the state he would not support its home investigations part of the program "unless there is a See Trends, page 13A marketing. The supervisors said they supported those groups with annual funding "for the very reason that those organiza- tions have the greatest exper- tise, and motivation to work to attract visitors and support local businesses." The report also said the board "should take a leader- ship role by defining and im- plementing an economic development policy and pro- gram to include planning, funding, implementing, and monitoring economic devel- opment in the county." The grand jury added tl e county should "employ an economic development coordinator to focus on busi- ness recruitment and follow through on in economic development plan." The board said it was over- seeing the update of the Plumas County General Plan, which the supervisors specif- ically decided would include an economic development element. The supervisors also voiced their belief that county economic development fund- ing "should continue to be used to support existing orga- nizations and not be redirect- ed to create a new county staff position." The Grand Jury Report also accused the county of "not providing stable or enough funding" to the cause. "There is a tendency to de- crease funding for economic development and tourism promotion when the economy is in a downturn," it added "This is evidenced by recent across-the-board cuts." The supervisors said, "It is always easy for the Grand Jury to recommend spending more money without pro- viding any recommendations for offsetting reductions in spending or increases in revenue." The supervisors argued they made "selective and sub- stantial reductions in the county budget over the past three years," as opposed to "across-the-board budget cuts." The board said the Grand Jury's claims that the county had no contract or account- ability mechanism with Plumas Corporation were blatantly false. "The county has a contract with Plumas Corporation" and it ',con- ducts an annual workshop" with the supervisors "to See GJ, page 12A rL 1 II i it F~ H K H i !q ! i- !!