Sheriff’s employees assn. endorses Cline; leadership explains process

By Debra Moore

[email protected]

Following a two-week balloting process, the Plumas County Sheriff’s Employees Association announced that it has voted to endorse Dwight Cline in the race for Sheriff. Following is the statement posted by the employees association on its Facebook page:

“The Plumas County Sheriff’s position is a critical seat in the County of Plumas. This race is of the utmost importance to the Plumas County Sheriffs’ Employee’s Association, as the Sheriff oversees and creates the direction, mission, and values of the entire department. On May 19th, 2022, the Plumas County Sheriff’s Employees Association voted to endorse Retired Sergeant Dwight Cline to be the next Sheriff of Plumas County. The membership required at least a 2/3 vote of the voting membership to select either candidate. The vote was counted by the Plumas County Human Resources Department. If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected]

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Chandler Peay, president of the association, said the vote took place over a two-week period by secret ballot culminating in the May 19 count by the county’s personnel department. There were 51 employees in the association at the time of the vote, with Peay saying that 45 of them turned in the three-part ballot. (Full-time sheriff’s office employees are eligible for association membership, and only three who were eligible are not members.)

The association is led by a five-member board: President Chandler Peay, Vice President April Gott, Secretary-treasurer Cassie Lavley, and directors Tom Froggatt and Christina Vickrey.

The leadership opted to hold a vote in March and decided that based on the importance of this election, a 2/3 vote would be required to endorse a candidate, rather than a simple majority as called for in the bylaws. The board members later learned after consulting legal counsel, that they didn’t have the authority to call for a 2/3 vote – that needed to be voted upon by the association members. So a new vote had to be held.

There were three parts to the latest ballot:

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Do you want to require a two-thirds vote to endorse?

Do you want to support a candidate?

Which candidate would you support?

Peay said that for each question two-thirds or more of the respondents voted yes.

When asked about the process, Peay said employees deposited their ballot in boxes at the sheriff’s office. As for whether it would be possible for an individual to vote twice, Peay said each ballot had a unique marking to prevent that from occurring. The ballots were then inspected and counted by the county’s HR department.

As for whether the employee association normally endorses a candidate, Peay said that most recently, the membership endorsed Mike Grant in his bid for District 2 Supervisor and Greg Hagwood as District 4 Supervisor.

Reached for comment about the vote, candidate Dwight Cline said, “I’ve known that they’ve been behind me, and I’ve spoken to that throughout the campaign. It supports everything I’ve been saying.” Of the employees, he added, “They’re like family to me.”

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Cline said he also appreciated the manner in which the vote was taken and that the association’s leadership took the ballots to the county’s HR department to have them counted. “It was transparent,” he said.

As for Sheriff Todd Johns, he reiterated comments he made in an opinion piece May 21 about the vote where he expressed surprise at the outcome and said he wished that Cline and Supervisor Greg Hagwood (who is supporting Cline) would have approached him about the issues. “It could have really benefited the Sheriff’s Office and the communities we serve to know about these issues as they started to develop,” he said. “However, all I can do now is use this information to start making positive changes and address the issues,” and added, “I can assure you I am ready to do the work and bring us all back together again.”

Ballots must be postmarked or delivered to the county courthouse by June 7 to be counted in the election. Results could be delayed if there are a number of outstanding ballots on election night.

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