By Debra Moore
The Plumas County Board of Supervisors is next scheduled to meet Tuesday, Dec. 8. The board took action on a number of items before its three-week hiatus. The board’s last meeting was Nov. 17. Following are some of their decisions.
COVID sick leave
Human Resources Director Nancy Selvage reminded the board and county employees that they are entitled to two weeks of paid sick leave if they are exposed to the virus and need to quarantine. “This is not personal sick leave,” she stressed, but rather is in addition to what each employee has accumulated. Details and associated forms are available on the county’s website.
Pay hike for paralegals
The supervisors voted unanimously to amend job classifications and base wages for the paralegals in the county counsel’s office. “They haven’t been revised since 1995,” Human Resources Director Nancy Selvage said, adding that the process to amend the descriptions began back in April of 2017.
The pay adjustments are as follows: Paralegal I: from $17.06 to $21.24; Paralegal II: from $18.82 to $23.42; and Paralegal III: from $20.76 to $26.85.
Before voting in favor of the changes, Supervisor Lori Simpson asked, “Are people still going into the field?”
“Yes, it’s a distinct line of work,” County Counsel Craig Settlemire said. Paralegals work in the county counsel’s office, while the district attorney’s office employs legal secretaries and those jobs were evaluated a year ago. Settlemire said the pay hikes were necessary because their pay is on par with legal secretaries and paralegals have higher qualifications.
Though he voted in favor the changes, Supervisor Jeff Engel said, “I don’t know how we’re going to pay for it.”
Probation request approved
Probation Director Erin Metcalf’s request to fill two vacant positions in her office received unanimous approval from the supervisors, but not before they heard some push back from District Attorney David Hollister.
Metcalf said that the positions — a probation assistant and a deputy probation officer — were vacant but included in the budget for this fiscal year. She outlined several of their duties.
However, Hollister challenged the need to fill those positions and thought the dollars could be spent better in the criminal justice system. He said that in 2010 the county’s probation department supervised 433 individuals and that number dropped to 157 in 2019, largely due to changing laws. Hollister said that the ratio of probationers to staff is 19: 1, while nationwide it is 50:1.
Hollister said dollars are needed for mental health services, and his own office his down three positions. “I just want the board to be aware of these numbers,” he said. “If we can afford it, that’s terrific.”
The supervisors didn’t comment on the input and approved probation’s request.
Time for a new Maytag?
Plumas County Sheriff Todd Johns asked the supervisors for approval to use a portion of $25,000 in CARES Act funding to buy a new commercial washer and dryer for the jail. “With COVID we are wearing out our machines at the jail,” he said. “We are doing laundry every day.” He said it’s all part of the effort to keep the jail more sterile than ever. The board unanimously approved his request.
Title III Funding disbursement
The supervisors conducted a public hearing Nov. 17 to finalize the distribution of Title III funding through the Secure Rural Schools. There was no public comment, but Supervisor Lori Simpson asked questions regarding the expenditures: $71,875 earmarked for a radio tower and vault to support the Office of Emergency Services; $50,000 for Plumas County Search & Rescue; and $65,000 for Plumas County Wildfire Prevention.
Simpson worried that not all of the requests conformed precisely to requirements, but Sheriff Todd Johns explained how they met the parameters of Title III. Supervisor Sherrie Thrall said that the proposal is for “things that are really necessary for public safety,” and made a motion to approve the funding allocation. It was a unanimous vote.
The supervisors approved Assessor Chuck Leonhardt’s request to use up to $67,450 in Coronavirus Relief Funding to scan approximately 30,000 paper records. “I’ve wanted to scan these records for a long time; it’s a backup system for our records,” Leonhardt said. Two recent events helped cement his request. He said the July fire that destroyed the crisis center and other buildings adjacent to the county’s permit center building could have spread to the assessor’s office and those records could have been destroyed. Also, during the pandemic with individuals working from home, access to the records is necessary. Without computer access, sometimes the documents are taken home, which Leonhardt said presents an additional risk. “Transporting papers can lead to a loss,” he said. “This will allow access to everyone.”
The Plumas County Board of Supervisors won’t meet the first Tuesday of the month, Dec. 1, but has scheduled meetings for Dec. 8 and Dec. 15. If necessary, the board will also meet Dec. 22. The board meetings begin at 10 a.m. and are live streamed on the county’s website.