County deputies get 27% raise
Sun News Service
NEVADA CITY – Nevada County’s deputy sheriffs and county officials talked about moving on after the deputies approved a four-year, 27-percent pay hike, ending several months of tense contract talks.
The deputies approved the contract Thursday night at the Sheriff’s Office, although the vote tally wasn’t released. Deputy Mike Mariani, the Deputy Sheriffs Association vice president, had mixed feelings about the settlement.
“We’re just glad that we can all resume our normal lives now,” he said Friday.
But he said talks should have ended long ago and that deputies tried to get a new contract before the old one expired last October.
“They didn’t do us any favors by waiting a year-and-a-half to get us a fair offer to strongly consider,” he said. “It’s not like they’re our heroes for doing this now.”
Mariani thanked Sheriff Keith Royal, Supervisor Sue Horne and residents who wrote letters of support.
County Board Chairwoman Elizabeth Martin took a conciliatory tone in a prepared statement released on Friday.
“Labor law ties our hands during negotiations so we are very pleased to finally tell the public how hard we’ve all worked to settle this dispute,” she said. “For the deputies who put their lives on the line, this has been a special priority. We’re eager to shake hands and move on with our work.”
The tentative contract would give the deputies a 10 percent hike in the first year, with retroactive pay from last October. The county’s 54 deputies now earn $13.85 to $18.20 per hour.
At 27 percent, the range would increase deputy pay to $17.59 to $23.11 per hour by October 2003. Placer County deputies now make $16.14 to $22.87.
With the full raise, Nevada County deputies’ annual wages should range from $36,587 to $48,068.
The deputies’ retirement plan also improved. The contract calls for them to receive 3 percent of their pay at retirement for every year of service. The old contract paid 2 percent per year.
A county press release called the retirement benefits the best in the state for public employees. Mariani called the package “an awesome recruitment and retention attribute.”
Before the settlement, Royal said pay issues affected staffing and public safety and required deputies to work overtime. He now has 10 vacancies to fill – seven in Nevada City, three in Truckee.
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A fair amount of snow is expected for Truckee this week, and highs are forecast to linger around freezing until at least Friday.