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Supervisors approve more positions and Sheriff’s vehicle

Debra Moore
Staff Writer
5/16/2014

The agenda no longer includes an invocation, but that didn’t stop Pastor George Tarleton from regularly saying a prayer during the public comment portion of the Plumas County Board of Supervisors meetings.

Tarleton wasn’t present at the board’s May 6 meeting, but regular board observer Larry Douglas was and spoke up about the Supreme Court’s May 5 decision that cleared the way for Christian prayer to open public meetings.

“I’d like to get back to prayer,” Douglas told the supervisors, who couldn’t discuss the request because it wasn’t an agenda item.

A job well done

Public Works Director Bob Perreault recognized an obviously reluctant Mark Bennett as he retires from his work in the road department. Bennett began working for the county in 1978 and became a fulltime employee in 1982.

“Mark has been in charge of a district with a fair amount of challenging complainants,” Perreault said, and complimented him on his tactfulness.

Joe Blackwell also lauded Bennett as a coworker and a friend. “I hate to see him go, but glad to see him have a retirement,” Blackwell said before Board Chairman Jon Kennedy presented a certificate of appreciation to Bennett.

Appointments

The supervisors appointed Suzette Reed and Delbert Lehr to serve on the Taylorsville Cemetery District and John Sciborski to the Local Solid Waste Enforcement Appeals Board.

Employment opportunities

Social Services Director Elliott Smart received authorization to recruit and hire an employment training worker, replacing an employee who transferred to the District Attorney’s office.

“Vacant, funded and allocated; three of my favorite words,” Board Chairman Jon Kennedy said in approving Smart’s request.

The board authorized Louise Steenkamp, the county’s director of Alcohol and Other Drugs, to recruit and hire a fiscal officer and drug prevention coordinator.

Health Director Mimi Hall received approval to hire a nurse for her department. Hall described the position as someone who would be available to give immunizations, assist people who contacted the department and work on grant-funded programs.

A show of support

The supervisors voted unanimously to send a letter of support for Assembly Bill 2703, which allocates $5.6 million annually for Veterans Services Officers.

They also voted to send a message to the state legislature requesting any state water bond to use language that addresses water storage.

Supervisor Sherrie Thrall said that she was familiar with the effort being made by county supervisors representing Tulare and San Joaquin counties, and while she wouldn’t want to endorse a specific bond, she agrees with their philosophy that “one size doesn’t fit all” and that “every area has water issues.”

“The allocation of future bond funds needs to include investments in the counties where our water originates to enhance upper watersheds and prevent catastrophic fires, in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys where our farm products feed the world and sustain our rural and urbanizing communities, and in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta which supports a vibrant and unique ecosystem,” read the letter addressed to the leaders of state legislature.

Four wheeling

High clearance, four-wheel drive, a roll cage and a completely armored undercarriage are some of the must-haves for the Sheriff’s Department’s newest vehicle.

The vehicle will be used to patrol areas not accessible by the department’s current vehicles.

“Utilizing patrol cars is not appropriate,” Sheriff Greg Hagwood said of the terrain to be covered. “We are not equipped to safely and reliably access the area.”

Two of the areas of particular concern are Lakes Basin near Graeagle and High Lakes, a remote area of about two dozen small lakes in the southwest portion of the county favored by four-wheelers.

Hagwood explained that the vehicle is for patrol, and is separate from Search and Rescue vehicles, though it could be used for that purpose if necessary.

Sgt. Todd Johns is looking for a used vehicle, which he estimates will cost about $35,000, compared to a new vehicle that would cost $60,000. The money will come from a grant, not from the county’s general fund.


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