Supervisor walks out of budget discussions

Plumas County Supervisor Jeff Engel walked out of the Sept. 5 afternoon budget session, objecting to any talk of pay increases and new positions while the county faced a 2017-18 budget shortfall.

Engel’s departure followed Board Chairman Lori Simpson’s request that he weigh in on whether the board should proceed with advertising for a county administrative officer. The board axed the position several years ago during the economic downtown, but has been under pressure to restore the position, particularly from the grand jury.

“I don’t think I can help you,” Engel said as he began collecting the papers in front of him. “I talked about a hiring freeze; I talked about a pay freeze …” He then exited the room saying, “I’ll see you next Tuesday.”

“Next Tuesday” was yesterday, Sept. 12, and as this newspaper went to press, the board had yet to begin their afternoon budget discussions. So as you read this, some decisions may have been made, but during the Sept. 5 budget session, Super Kevin Goss was absent, Engel walked out and the remaining three couldn’t agree.

Two of the budget items the board had been scheduled to discuss — hiring a CAO and pay raises for elected officials — were put aside until Sept. 12.

Supervisor Mike Sanchez attempted to move the elected officials’ salary increases forward by suggesting a 10-percent across-the-board pay hike, but couldn’t get the three votes necessary for it to pass. He and Board Chairman Lori Simpson voted yes, but Thrall voted no and the motion required three votes to pass.

“Every single elected official knows what the salary is when they run for office,” Thrall said.

She added, “I have a deep concern that some elected officials are looking to spike their retirements.”

Sanchez told the elected officials present that “I feel like we need to give you something … “I’m really in favor of something — 10 percent won’t catch you up, but it’s a pay increase.”

The elected officials had been seeking pay increases of up to 42 percent to bring their positions in line with comparable counties. Their base salaries have not seen an increase for 10 years.

“I don’t support it,” Thrall said. “I’d get up and walk out, but it’s against my principles.”

Some of the elected officials present said that they had individuals in their offices who earned more than they did.

“I don’t think there should be a group that never gets a raise,” said Auditor Roberta Allen, one of the elected officials.

6 thoughts on “Supervisor walks out of budget discussions

  • September 15, 2017 at 10:14 am
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    Lifetime polictians even at the local level…. sad is all I can say about even the state of affairs in Plumas county

  • September 15, 2017 at 10:51 am
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    Its a bit juvenile to take your ball and leave. Democracy invites us to talk but also to listen with an open mind. Some government dysfunction may be laid at the feet of low pay. Attracting qualified candidates cannot happen if pay is substandard.
    “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance – that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” Herbert Spencer

  • September 15, 2017 at 10:55 am
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    Way to go Sherrie Thrall. Thank you for standing your ground and having unbending principles!!!

  • September 15, 2017 at 3:28 pm
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    I recently went back to Quincy after 20 years. I came to bury my mother and look for property to purchase. I was aghast at not only the empty buinesses but the dilapidated buildings that are barely standing. I noticed the population sign that says 5,500. In 1997 my last visit the sign said 5,000. Growing up there the population was 3,500. I googled the most current census which was 2010, it stated the population at the time of the census was 1,700. I would suggest instead of a raises these supervisors use that money to try and bring businesses and fix or remove the dlapitated falling down buildings. Better yet maybe someone should do a complete audit of the annual budget for the last 10 years and see where the county money’s are going. I was mortified at the condition of the town. What the hell happened in Quincy.

  • September 16, 2017 at 11:08 pm
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    If these people want raises they should go get real jobs! You know, jobs that actually produce something for society. These clowns want to make a living as county supervisors??? It’s called public service, not a career opportunity! I have zero respect for the idioots who voted yes. You’re losers.

    • September 18, 2017 at 8:05 pm
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      Um, they weren’t voting raises for the Supervisors. They were voting for raises for their/our employees. Those really are supposed to be careers. Or did I misunderstand you?

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