More than 40 employees have left the operations & administration divisions of the sheriffs office in the last 4 years. Many of these were long time employees who understood the salary issues. I have personally spoken with or know others who have had direct conversations with a lot of those who have left, as well as several who are still employed at the SO.
As I understand it, salary is not the only, nor even the primary, reason for the exodus. Morale at the SO has been very low for quite a few years and has gotten increasingly worse in recent years. This issue isn’t discussed – IT NEEDS TO BE!
There are a lot of questions we should be asking of the prospective sheriffs and as citizens who have a critical interest in the future management of our county law enforcement, we should not be criticized for asking the hard questions:
- Why has the SO been giving $1M per year in annual salary savings back to the county? And for how long?
- How do the SO salaries compare to other county employee salaries?
- What other options are available to manage the staffing issues?
- What actions have been taken and why?
- What would the new sheriff do differently?
- What is and will be done to address morale issues and identify other reasons for employee retainment challenges?
It would also help to really talk with former employees, each of the BOS members, and other county employees who might be familiar with these issues.
I also encourage those who are concerned about the salaries to do some research. Transparent California is a website that makes government employee salaries available publicly. You can filter by Tehama County and 2021 – then search by “sheriff” to see the salaries. Is it less than other agencies? Yes. Is it not a livable wage in Tehama County?
Below are the Tehama County SO salaries so people can quickly see the 2020 salaries. Please note that if a certain individuals salary seems to be significantly lower, it means they were not paid for the entire year, but you can get a good idea of the salaries being paid. Now – while I do agree that our entire county needs to increase wages, I also understand that we do not live in a rich county.
That MUST be taken into consideration when we address salary issues. We are not going to compete with Shasta County.
The median household income for the US is $65,712.
The median household income for Tehama County is $44,514. Shasta County is $54,667.
I personally believe our BOS and County Administrator can and should do a better job of managing the county budget and finding new ways to increase income for the county. Salary issues will not change until our county budget management changes.
In the meantime, our sheriff and his key management team are going to have to find creative ways to retain staff, hire new staff, and provide necessary services to our community.
The question we as citizens need to answer ourselves is who will be able to best utilize the current staffing and find creative ways to bring in new employees?
Talk to the men running – call them and ask to meet. Talk to ex-employees (seek them out – they’re not hard to find, Chad is one, my husband is one, there are 4 more on Chads campaign, there are several that have gone to work at the RBPD and other county agencies).