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NCSO deputies pay in dispute

DOUG MATTSON, Sun News Service

NEVADA CITY – Nevada County sheriff’s deputies want more pay, and county officials say they’ve already made a good offer.

On Monday, the rhetoric let loose with a six-page press release from the administration, while the deputies promised to gather on the steps of Rood Administrative Center Tuesday morning.

“We’re not protesting, we’re not demonstrating – we’re soliciting for public support,” said Deputy Mike Mariani, vice president of the Deputy Sheriffs Association.

In a press release, Board Chairwoman Elizabeth Martin said, “I’ve never worked so hard to give someone a 16-percent raise!”

With that, talks could be headed toward binding arbitration, a winner-take-all process that could last as long as two years.

The DSA last week notified county management it might seek binding arbitration, but both sides still hope to avoid that measure.

At issue is salary.

The county’s 54 deputies earn $13.58 to $18.20 per hour, according to the county personnel department, and the county has proposed to increase that 16 percent over three years.

The DSA, which has been without a contract since October, has sought a 16-percent hike over two years, Mariani said. DSA members figure such an offer isn’t ideal, but it would allow them to renegotiate sooner.

The DSA, who first sought 36 percent over three years then later 30 percent, said the increase was needed to stay competitive with other counties.

Mariani said today’s gathering is intended to show the county “places little importance on county law enforcement by letting the contract lapse this long.”

Martin countered that the deputies decided long ago not to take part in a work-pay survey that compared pay to other counties, and Nevada County’s other workers have long since gained raises.

Under binding arbitration, each side picks one panelist, and those two pick a third panelist. They consider the offers from both sides, decide which one is best, and their ruling becomes final.

Sheriff Keith Royal has said salary issues are making it hard for him to recruit and retain deputies. He could not be reached for comment Monday.


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