County supervisors recognize public employees and talk retirement funding

The Plumas County Board of Supervisors had a variety of issues to tackle at its regular board meeting Nov. 7. However, the agenda was also full of recognitions and proclamations that enriched the meeting.

DA presents awards

District Attorney David Hollister announced a monthly district attorney public service award which will be awarded to one or more public employees who have performed well over the past month.

“This award recognizes those employees who have used their strength, courage and ingenuity for doing what is right for the sake of doing what is right,” said Hollister.

He presented the public service award, in the form of a Captain America pen, to two public employees. The first was to Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Vickery for demonstrated courage in an altercation with a domestic violence suspect who threatened the law enforcement officers with violence. He also presented another award to Stephanie Tanaka, the Alternative Sentencing manager, for establishing a pretrial release program.

Board Declares hope for pancreatic cancer

The Board of Supervisors has declared the month of November Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month. Pancreatic cancer survivor Tami Williams read a statement at the board meeting, sharing her own story as a pancreatic cancer survivor.

In a proclamation approved by the board at the regular meeting, the community is invited to wear the color purple as a reminder that more needs to be done to prevent and cure the disease. Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths that kills 75 percent of patients within the first year of diagnosis.

New ideas for pension programs

Mitch Barker and Mike Graves from the Public Agency Retirement Services presented a new option for retirement investment in the county.

Barker and Graves presented the Pension Rate Stabilization Program. This program offers a chance for the county to address the increase in payments to  the California Public Employees Retirement System  after CalPERS lowered their assumed rate of return on retirement investments. The lower the return rate from Cal PERS, the more the county has to contribute. That means in seven years, the amount the county pays will go up by 85 percent.

Barker and Graves suggested opening up a reserve fund that would generate enough funding to cover that increase. The county would still fund the OPEB (Other Post-Employment Benefits) as normal, and the funding for the new trust fund can come from a variety of sources, including discounts from CalPERS for paying the annual amounts in a lump sum.

“I feel that they have done a great job with the OPEB and I think this is a great way to go,” said District 4 Supervisor Lori Simpson.

The board will vote on a resolution to create the new fund at the beginning of the year.

Growth in the planning commission

The Plumas County Planning Commission is one member stronger after the board approved the application of Jeffrey Greening, the new District 3 commissioner.

The Planning Commission will navigate through the county’s draft cannabis ordinance at the beginning of next year. The commission still has one more opening for a representative from District 2. Interested parties can contact Supervisor Kevin Goss at 283-6170.