On May 2nd at the Plumas County Board of Supervisor meeting, Chair Dwight Ceresola read a letter which was a response to many issues which have been brought to the board in regard to compensation of county employees. First, I would like to provide clarification regarding the statistics presented by Chair Ceresola during the BOS meeting on May 2nd. Chair Ceresola stated that 51 employees had departed from the Sheriff’s Office since July 2022. However, upon review of public records pertaining to the individuals who have left the Sheriff’s Department provided by the Plumas County HR Department (see attached). This represents a significant difference from what I was able to locate in the documents provided by the HR Department. Furthermore, upon examining data dating clear back to 2015, the number of departures stood at a figure of 60 over that entire 8-year span. It is disheartening that incorrect statistics were utilized by the board in an attempt to defend themselves. We should hold our governing boards to the highest standard of truthfulness and transparency, which regrettably seems to be lacking in this instance.
Regarding the letter that was read on behalf of the board, I find it highly inappropriate that one member had not even been aware of the letter, two members had not viewed it prior to its reading, and the Chair and Vice Chair only reviewed it immediately before the meeting commenced. Furthermore, it was alarming to discover that the letter was authored by the CAO, especially considering its lack of accurate facts, absence of viable solutions, and its utilization as a prejudicial political maneuver to suppress those who are voicing concerns and seeking answers.
With regards to the investigation mentioned in the letter, Supervisor Hagwood recently characterized it as a “survey” rather than an investigation, despite the county incurring expenses of $325 per hour, which is higher than the contract states (County Counsel has since confirmed this number was corrected in the billing and the hourly rate being paid is actually $295/hr). The letter of engagement with the investigative party clearly employs the term “investigation” numerous times (see attached), outlining their mandate to perform investigative services related to allegations of misconduct by a Plumas County Employee and deliver a written report containing the findings and recommendations to the County Counsel’s Office. In light of the transparency we seek, I requested a copy of this investigation and received a response from the County Counsel stating it is protected by attorney-client privilege. This is deeply concerning as the letter prepared by the CAO strongly suggests that the county has indeed received a report and used facts from that report to address the public.
I urge the board and the public to vet the information that you receive. For the board I urge them to be as transparent as they can with us, the public because right now we are losing faith and trust in them rapidly.
I also want to warn the public to pay close attention to what the county is spending your money on. For example, on the last two board agendas, there has been an item to request $40,000 to compensate MRG LLC for “additional investigations.” This is explicitly stated in the agenda. In addition to the $8,000 approved last November, the county counsel office now aims to allocate an additional $40,000 of taxpayer funds for investigating employees. Shouldn’t we already have personnel tasked with this responsibility? Can the board truly claim to be acting in the best interests of the county and its constituents by allocating $48,000 in taxpayer money for this? I don’t believe so. I implore the board to make the right decision and cease the squandering of our financial resources, and instead collaborate with one another, county departments, and the community to develop responsible and effective solutions. We entrusted them with the duty to do what is right, now it’s time for them to start proving they can.
Plumas County Sheriff’s Employee’s Association