Deputies association seeks comparable pay
The Deputy Sheriff’s Association has been working without a contract since Oct. 1, 1997.
Negotiations on a new contract started in June 1997. For many months, representatives of the County of Nevada and the Nevada County Deputy Sheriff’s Association met in an effort to reach a new agreement.
For months the County asserted it was in a desperate financial situation and could offer no form of increased compensation to the deputies. The problem that the Deputy Sheriff’s Association was trying to cure is its wages have not kept pace with other surrounding law enforcement agencies.
In addition, the Deputy Sheriff’s Association routinely loses employees to other law enforcement agencies in our region. For example, a deputy can continue to live in Nevada County, take a job in Placer or Sacramento County, and make between $500 and $1500 more per month.
Additionally, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Department has a difficult time recruiting quality employees because of the low wage it pays its employees. Not only does the situation reduce the quality of service to the public, but also it drastically reduces morale within the Sheriff’s Department.
During contract negotiations with the County of Nevada, the Deputy Sheriff’s Association, at its own expense, retained a financial analyst to evaluate County of Nevada’s financial condition. The Deputy Sheriff’s Association’s financial analyst issued a detailed report that found the County of Nevada was in sound financial condition, and, in fact, had surplus monies. In addition, the financial analyst found that the County of Nevada would have even more monies available in the years to come that could be used for wage and benefit increases for County employees. Unfortunately, this financial report proved to be unpersuasive with the County’s representatives and the Nevada County Board of Supervisors. Even when the Deputy Sheriff’s Association showed the County that it had the money available for a new contract, the County refused to acknowledge this fact.
After more than ten months of negotiations, an impasse was declared and the County served the Deputy’s Sheriff’s Association a “last, best, and final offer.” The Nevada County Board of Supervisors then imposed that contract on the deputies against their will.
Nevada County Personnel Director, Lori Walsh, stated that the Deputy Sheriff’s Association refused to participate in mediation to reach a mutual agreement regarding the contract negotiations. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Deputy Sheriff’s Association was more than willing to participate in any mediation or any other procedure that would have helped resolve these contract negotiations.
The Nevada County Board of Supervisors rejected two mediated settlements with other associations within the County.
Even when the parties settled contract negotiations through a mediator, the Board of Supervisors refused to accept, let alone listen to the mediator’s recommendation.
Ms. Walsh and the Nevada County’s chief negotiator both recognize that no mediator would be able to influence the Board of Supervisors. The Nevada County Board of Supervisors obviously does not care about the plight of County employees, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Department or law enforcement in Nevada County.
However, when it comes to their own salaries, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors has been more than willing to find available monies.
Recently, the Board of Supervisors gave itself a substantial wage increase that included a wage and benefit increase, a cafeteria plan, mileage reimbursement program, and other benefits.
Ironically, the Board of Supervisors compared itself with other surrounding counties to justify its wage and benefit increase. The Board of Supervisors was unwilling, however, to do a similar comparison for the Deputy Sheriff’s Association.
It is clear that the Nevada County Board of Supervisors are willing to apply a standard for themselves, however, they are unwilling to apply this same standard to law enforcement personnel in this County.
The Deputy Sheriff’s Association seeks nothing more than to increase its wages and benefits to competitive levels with other surrounding law enforcement agencies.
The Deputy Sheriff’s Association needs to stop the loss of good employees to other departments. The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office would like to be able to recruit and keep quality employees.
The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office should not be a training ground for the benefit of other law enforcement agencies.
Pat McNulty is the vice president of the Nevada County Deputy Sheriff’s Association.
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