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Sheriff’s Employees Association President addresses staffing crisis

Chandler Peay

President

Plumas County Sheriff’s Employee’s Association 

In October of 2021, over one entire year ago, the Plumas County Board of Supervisors were made aware of an impending staffing crisis at the Sheriff’s Office. This was made a scary reality two weeks ago and has no current end in sight. 

Since the implementation of the Sheriff’s Office emergency staffing schedule, my co-workers and I have been forced to make concessions and take swift action in regard to child care, appointments, and time off. Some of these matters are costing us money. This change has created a reduction in patrol staff and often leaves a two-man car covering the county. This is not a sustainable practice, especially with summer right around the corner. 

As of January, the deputies at PCSO are officially the lowest paid in California. 

We are told to recruit people to come work with us, but how can any of us, in our right mind, encourage anyone to work for an employer who undervalues employees, prioritizes department heads, and offers no plan for a solution? 

Previously the HR Director has said when the county increased its healthcare contribution it put money in the pockets of employees, but that is simply not true. While immensely appreciated, the county making a more significant contribution to increasing rates only helped the employee by stopping more money from coming out of their pocket, not putting more in; and for the employees who opt out, they received nothing more. 

Some of us are still hanging on at PCSO, not because of our love for law enforcement, but because of our love for this county and our community! Many of us would have no problem applying and likely quickly transferring to an agency that pays two to three times as much as Plumas County. 

Four hours away, there is an agency that will start a lateral deputy at $70/hr, allow a 3-day/12-hour work schedule, and provide free housing during the work week. 

A neighboring county will start a lateral deputy at $33/hr and allow access to a take-home vehicle within 60 miles of the county line. (Plumas is within that radius.)

Recently, several employees across the county were given raises due to the increase in the minimum wage. The resolution voted on by the board of supervisors on Jan. 1, 2023 was portrayed solely as a minimum wage rate increase by the HR Director. In this resolution, there were positions that already made more than the 2023 minimum wage rates and did not appear to require a raise. For example, three jobs increased exponentially – one by 31%, one by 24%, and another by 44%. On 2/1 I sent an email to the HR Department requesting clarification in regard to these increases. I have still yet to receive a response. 

After seeing what the resolution actually entailed, it appears there is a blatant misrepresentation of what was portrayed and approved. Without the HR department’s willingness to be transparent and provide clarification, we are left to believe that is precisely what occurred. 

To eliminate misinformation or public confusion, the Plumas County Sheriff’s Employee’s Association welcomes and proposes agreeing to start negotiations with the county for both the units we represent immediately.  

Plumas County has good employees who are panicked and looking to leave, good employees who want nothing more than to serve the community they love. We merely want to be treated fairly! These employees are being pushed closer and closer to the edge and once they’re gone, they will not come back. I urge the board to do what is right, stand for their employees and do everything they can to impart some effective change. 



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