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Where I Stand: Are the opinions of Plumas County employees a nuisance to the Board of Supervisors?

At the Board of Supervisors meeting on May 2nd, Board Chairman Dwight Ceresola read a prepared statement “defending” themselves from the numerous concerns presented by County employees regarding low wages, working conditions, and the unresponsiveness of the Board of Supervisors to address these issues. During this statement, the Board singled out the Sheriff’s Office, purportedly explaining the “true” reason Plumas County is unable to successfully recruit and retain employees, particularly from the Sheriff’s Office, is simply poor management.

As a member of multiple law enforcement agencies for over 27 years, with much experience directly related to recruitment, hiring, and background procedures, I have a solid understanding of the process. Initially, it would seem reasonable to forgive the Board’s ignorance regarding some of the complexities of the background process for law enforcement officers, as they do not have first hand knowledge of how such backgrounds differ from other employment positions. Yet, with a current Board member being the retired Sheriff of Plumas County, can we truly overlook their apparent “confusion” of this process?

In order to provide an accurate depiction of why 24 out of 24 “qualified” applicants were not hired, it would require some specific facts about those applicants that would violate privacy laws. I assure you, they were not disqualified simply for “smoking weed”; such a claim this was the sole reason for disqualification is absurd. I hope our community does not want disqualified applicants to be hired and then entrusted with the enormous authority and responsibility of a peace officer. Have we not seen first hand the tragic results of law enforcements increasingly low standards in hiring peace officers? Do we truly wish for unqualified individuals employed in our County?

The utilization of, and payment to, an “independent” investigator for the purpose of bolstering the Board’s feeble explanation of the Sheriff’s Office’s inability to hire qualified candidates, is infuriating and shameful. Wait, you mean disgruntled ex-employees are going to say mean things about their former employer?

It appears this “independent” investigator focused solely on former Sheriff’s Office employees and did not investigate former employees in different County departments. This is spiteful and prejudicial.  It is outrageous the County would spend our tax money on such a shady and underhanded method, all in an attempt to justify their narrative.

The lack of recruitment and retention in the Sheriff’s Office cannot have anything to do with being the lowest paid Sheriff’s Office in the entire State of California, can it? This ridiculously low pay should incentivize qualified candidates to apply for Plumas County Sheriff’s Office, shouldn’t it?

According to the Board, this embarrassingly low wage is inconsequential, therefore it must be a management issue. If only management within the Agency was better, the Sheriff’s Office would have stellar candidates lining up for the job, right? I do understand, and acknowledge, that pay is not the only factor in attaining job satisfaction and contentment. Yet, the Board continues to deflect in order to sidestep the issue of equitable pay.

Although the Board has been fully aware for several years of the impending staffing shortage, which is now in full force, where is the plan providing a solution? Where is the foresight for budgetary means for sustainability? Rather than providing insight regarding future plans, which the Board clearly lacks, we are expected to endure an offensive lecture by the board as explanation instead.

The Board’s misleading and toxic method of attempting to explain away employee woes in Plumas County was shameful. I was embarrassed for the Plumas County employees, and appalled as a Plumas County resident, to hear such twisted and self-serving drivel come from our elected leaders.

It was incredibly clear the message from the Board of Supervisors, to all the County employees, was “Stop bringing your concerns to us publicly! Now go sit down, and be silent”.

Jeremy Beatley

13 thoughts on “Where I Stand: Are the opinions of Plumas County employees a nuisance to the Board of Supervisors?

  • Give the sheriff’s Department what it needs as we need them.

  • Well said Jeremy

  • Thank you for this insight Mr. Beatley. As a citizen of Plumas County I feel that the Board of Supervisors is an embarrassment. Not to mention the CAO and County Counsel. I’d really love some insight on how the CAO was chosen, as I have heard she was literally run out of Butte County. The Board is here to serve its people and they are clearly failing at that one task. Mr Beatley speaks so much truth when he said that the board conveys the message of “go sit down and be silent”.
    Everyone in this community deserve to have their voice heard, especially this serving us.

  • Thank you Jeremy for this very insightful and articulate explanation. Without honest transparency, accountability and responsibility we will not have a governmental structure that functions as it should.

  • I had heard the sherrif spent much of the budget on extra equipment that fell under the “nice to have but not necessary” category. Where could I find the budget information to see if this is true?

  • When I first read Chairman Ceresola’s response, my reaction was that it was simply a hit piece on the Sherrif’s Department. More precisely he called Sherrif Johns and Mr. Herman out as liars by using the low pay excuse to cover up for their administrative failures. Secondly, insinuating that departments within the county such as HR, the auditor’s office and others lacked the expertise to perform an analysis of the recruitment issues involved which caused the BOS to have to hire outside consultants to generate the report. How much did that cost and who were the consultants? And to include the insinuation that the results of the last election almost caused a mass resignation of deputies was uncalled for. Did the other members of the BOS sign on to the chairman’s letter? It was presented as representing the resposnse of the entire Board. If so, not very professional in my view.

  • Way to go Jeremy! Plumas County- stop hiding under a rock- this has been a BOS problem LONG before the current sheriff!

  • This BOS sounds a whole like the BOS in Shasta County.

  • From the piece:

    “The lack of recruitment and retention in the Sheriff’s Office cannot have anything to do with being the lowest paid Sheriff’s Office in the entire State of California, can it?”

    This reminds me of something we often hear about there always being a pilot shortage. It is often said there is no such thing as a pilot shortage, only a shortage of pilot pay.

    Money talks and if you pay them they will come. Conversely if you don’t they won’t. Big surprise eh?

    There is a solution.

    As mentioned in previous comments, many county jobs are ripe for substitution with AI. ChatGPT has already shown it can pass the bar and the medical exam. Why not start with our highest paid CAO and Counsel and work down from there changing them out for AI and using the savings to pay for the things we really need such as LE and roads? IBM plans to eliminate 8000 this way. Plumas does not have 8000 county employees in total.

    Just think of the savings!!!

    Another alternative would be to eliminate the higher paid positions and instead use consultants. If county is going to hire consultants in anyhow why not just go that way entirely. Consultants can be bargained with, they can be dismissed when not needed, and they do not get benefits or other items that cost more than employees.

    Make a list of the highest paid and work down from there. At the end of the day you have to ask yourself if we really need more bureaucrats or do we need more workers?

  • Thank you for this very well expressed commentary. I was very disappointed in the BOS response to the current situation facing our communities with regard to public safety, as well as other County Services. The Supervisor’s response appeared to be an attempt to deflect responsibility onto County Employees, and especially , the Sheriff’s Office, rather than the BOS taking responsibility for being the governing body accountable for making appropriate decisions to insure crucial services have the funding and support they require to serve the public. Politics aside, they need to remember the Sheriff was duly elected by Plumas County Citizens, ( As well as the BOS, may I remind them. )
    Management issues arise in both the public and private sector. The BOS should be exploring how management can be improved, and providing support rather than pointing fingers.
    However, “management ” seems like another bit of smoke and mirrors, And there is this rather patronizing sense that there are issues that “we common citizens can’t understand” , which I find insulting.
    The bottom line is: If County Employees in any County Department cannot earn a living wage, don’t have somewhat decent health care coverage, and , especially in the case of the Sheriff’s Department (and I would imagine CPS and Public Health who are dealing with very high stress human issues) are not supported, why would they stay? Repeated attempts to educate, inform, and urge the BOS have clearly fallen on deaf ears. I fear something truly unfortunate will have to transpire to get their attention. I urge the BOS to establish an open diaglogue that will result in a committment to resolve these very important concerns that effect their constituents /community.

  • The BOS is corrupt givin there actions they should all be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Is sounds like they violated the Brown act.

  • There are some great points made. However:

    -its a fallacy to think all people talk bad about past employers. I have had jobs I liked, yet still moved on from. It is equally true that those talking bad about an ex-job is because they didn’t like it.

    -The over all apologetic tone towards law enforcement brings forward the same reaction from me:

    Law enforcement is NOT the only county office that needs help, however, law enforcement appears to complain the most. For an organization that promotes itself as being “tough”… they are a little soft, and whine a lot. Annnnd, they get paid to do a job that is naturally a difficult public service… but willingly so.

    * With that said, I agree that qualifed humans, with proper emotional intelligence and critical thinking skills, is a must. Ahh, but these categories would disqualify most of us, now days.

    -I spoke to to an jailer. I ask why he left. He said, “because they don’t treat people like humans over there.” I realize this may not be true for all employees, but it was for him.

  • What the Board of Supervisors is doing should be an issue for the Plumas County Grand Jury to examine.

    From the Plumas County Grand Jury page on the Plumas County website: “The primary function of the Grand Jury is to act as a citizen “watchdog” over county, city, and special district departments and officials, helping ensure that local government agencies and officers are accountable and working in the best interests of the public and communities that they serve. and make recommendations ”

    A “CITIZEN COMPLAINT FORM” can be filed with the Grand Jury. The form is available on the Plumascounty.us website at:

    https://plumascounty.us/DocumentCenter/View/1696/Grand-Jury—Citizen-Complaint-Form?bidId=

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