Lori, a county employee for over 20 years, opened with public comment. She said there are two areas that the Board should intervene with. The first was a reorganization request from public health which was submitted in January of 2022 and questioned why there has been a 14-month delay. She asked the Board to approve the reorganization request in its entirety, stating it benefits the whole department.
“The reorganization of public health creates opportunities for promotion, and new positions in the agency, as well as re-classifications of old job descriptions to provide greater flexibility in hiring.” She said public health has received money to assist in workforce development, but until the request is approved, the funding cannot be used. She also elaborated that Public Health is a grant-funded department, and to receive grant funding, they are required to complete deliverables, which are required for every grant received. Without the reorganization taking place, staffing is affected, and they are having difficulty meeting their deliverables.
Another point she wanted to bring to the Board's attention was regarding the HR Director, Nancy Selvage.
A second public comment was given by Rebecca, a public health employee. She stated that employees are working out-of-class and that Selvage has denied multiple requests by Public Health for employees to receive out-of-class pay. She gave an example of one employee who had worked months out-of-class and had not received out-of-class pay. “When asked for the policy regarding this decision, Miss Selvage could not, or would not, provide any policy to support her decision. This is not uncommon behavior from her.”
She said there was another situation where Selvage called a public health employee, and “yelled at her for working overtime, as this employee is currently covering two positions until the vacancies can be filled.” She stated that the overtime was approved by the director, and by the work performed by the employees essential to the operation of the department. She asked the board to allow their department heads to run their department without the unauthorized interference of Selvage.
Debra Lucero, County Administrative Officer, asked the County Council if they were discussing items that should be in a closed session. “I’m trying to clarify. I’m feeling uncomfortable that this is happening.” Lucero asked if it was allowed, and the council advised her that the members of the public are allowed to voice their opinions.
Rebecca then concluded her comment by asking for more oversight of the board for the HR department.
Sam Blesse, Chairman of the Plumas County Emergency Medical Care Committee and Emergency Medical Supervisor for care flight, commented publicly. “I know there's been a long list of county employees who have come before this board over the past year regarding the ongoing public safety crisis that is unfolding. I am not a county employee, and I am hoping my voice will bring a different viewpoint.” He explained the progress that Dispatch has made over the past 15 years. “The current staffing crisis at PCSO, specifically the Dispatch Center, poses a clear threat to the citizens of Plumas County receiving assistance in an expedient manner, during an emergency. PCSO Dispatch is the only public safety answering point in Plumas County.”
He continued, saying that if they lose any more dispatchers that there is a possibility that they won't be able to dispatch their fire and EMS crews to 911 calls. Blesse stressed the importance of how time valuable 911 calls are, and if transferred, can be disconnected. He said that the public safety system is on the verge of collapse and that the “perceived inaction from this board and county leadership is very frustrating.” He concluded his comment by urging the board to address wages and the delay in the hiring process.
Next to comment was Joel Hoffman, District Ranger with the Mohawk Ranger District for the Plumas County National Forest. Hoffman mentioned the “protect” project, aimed at communities who were “not relatively unaffected by fires.” He reported that they were funded around $280 million for being a designated national priority landscape and working to get the funds obligated. He also reported that they signed an agreement with the Sierra Institute in the Indian Valley area for fire recovery planning.
He concluded his comment regarding permits for campgrounds, plans to open campgrounds, and online scheduling for sites. He also mentioned a press release happening soon. There was further discussion about how the funds can be used for national forest land, as well as recruiting campground hosts.
Beginning with departmental announcements was Dana Loomis, Director of Public Health. He presented the update to the 2020 public health assessment which included Covid and wildfire information, and surveys of the residents.
Tracy Ferguson, Planning Director, reported on new district maps that were printed. She announced the wildfire planning committee is traveling throughout different communities. She also commented regarding the Airport Land Use Commission and the addition of Jon Kennedy with Bill Powers representing Portola.
Zachary Gately, Plumas County Grant Manager, gave an update on AARPA grants, which was a total of 46 applications. Nonprofits can still submit applications.
Clint Koble reported for the Dixie Fire Collaborative (DFC). He reported that last Tuesday the Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce met at The Spot to discuss upcoming events for the summer. Last Wednesday the Lake Almanor Chamber of Commerce met and had a presentation. Christian York will be presenting to the Board on May 16th.
Last Thursday, the Indian Valley Innovation Hub held a workshop about gorilla marketing, led by John Steffanic. On Saturday, there was a second round of community meetings. After the recovery support function meeting on Saturday, there was the monthly Greenville community meeting, where the school superintendent gave an update on the future of the high school.
The Board then adjourned as the Board of Supervisors and then convened as the Quincy Lighting District governing board to approve and authorize a supplemental budget increase for the Quincy Lighting District budget unit for $43,000. Motion approved.
Supervisor Engle asked, “I remember the history of all this, it even went on the ballot right?”
Loomis responded, saying “It went to the ballot and it was rejected by the voters. I went to the former director and convinced him that safety lighting on public roads is just as important to the public as it is to our employees, whether it be operating equipment, particularly when plowing snow, so shutting off the street lighting was not the answer from a liability standpoint.” He then elaborated on road safety and the importance of lighting.
The Board then adjourned as the Quincy Lighting District Governing Board and convened as the Crescent Mills Lighting District Governing Board to approve a supplemental budget increase for the Crescent Mills Lighting District budget for $2,000 to pay unbudgeted expenses, including repayment of a loan from the general fund. Motion approved.
The Board then reconvened at the Board of Supervisors.
The next agenda item was regarding departmental matters. And to adopt a resolution regarding deferred holidays and the 4/10 work week.
Sara James spoke regarding county employees having deferred holidays, and the MOUs regarding the issue. She said if an employee is working a 4/10 shift and a holiday lands on an employee's day off, they would need to find a way to take the holiday within that week. The sheriff's office does have deferred holidays, and it clarifies how to use those holidays in the MOU.
She said the clarification was regarding flex times and four-day work weeks. She stated the personnel rules have always required approval from the board of supervisors to work a four-day workweek. James elaborated on allowing alternate flexible schedules, allowing for additional hours, and how you work the holiday into your week.
District Attorney, David Hollister, commented on doing what we can about vacant positions, deferred holidays, and the importance of the 4/10 option. He also commented about deferred holidays and added a personnel rule that there should be a time frame for occurring pay for deferred holidays. He spoke about deferred holidays affecting his department because of the schedule that's needed. He expressed concern about the public knowing employees' work schedules.
James responded that the personnel rules do not allow deferred holidays, the only department that allows it is the Sheriff's department. Discussion was made about current personnel rules. She elaborated on comp time, scheduling, and the process of the union input. There was further discussion regarding existing personnel rules, job descriptions, and meet and confer bargaining issues with the union.
Lucero brought up the importance of employee classifications. “If there are two nurses in the unit that want to have a 4/10, but there are three others that don't, this is what happens. See, then you’re imposing on a classification of something, so that’s why it has to go to the meet and confer, it has to go through the bargaining process, because not every employee may want to do that.”
James commented that they are working on a mass revision to the personnel rules, but will have to go through the meet and confer process. There was discussion on how to amend personnel rules, and the deferred holidays that have been compiled.
Lucero elaborated on the process, how she and James have gone before all twelve bargaining units, and how in the Sheriff’s MOU deferred holidays are supposed to be paid out within 60 days, but that has not happened for years. She said that as of right now the county has over $140,000 in deferred holiday and the need for payout of the unfunded liability.
Discussion was made about the complications and details of the importance of the Board needing approval for shifts for employees to get paid properly. There was also discussion regarding the personnel descriptions that have not been updated since the year 2000. There was further discussion on remote positions and a draft for remote work policies, and James working with departments. The date for the draft was established for July 11th as a deadline for review.
Reporting with the Public Health Agency, Dana Loomis sought to adopt a resolution to approve to ratify, and sign an agreement between Plumas County Public Health and Lassen-Sierra-Plumas Community Action Agency accepting the Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) funds for $15,000 to fund specific services and activities through Plumas County Senior Services. The motion was approved.
Reporting for the Sheriff's Department, Todd Johns sought to adopt a resolution authorizing the Plumas County Sheriff's Office to apply for and participate
in the federal surplus program. The second item was to approve and authorize a fixed asset purchase for replacement snowcat tracks from Kassbohrer all-terrain vehicles using the Sheriff’s AB443 funds for an amount not to exceed $10,000. Both motions were approved.
Lindsay Fuchs, with the Plumas County Library, sought to adopt authorizing the County Librarian to sign a grant Agreement and distribute $5,364 funded by the California State Library Grant Program. With this grant, the library can visit each community site at least three times during the 2023 summer to provide activities, books, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) related programming to Plumas County youth while they pick up necessary
summer meals. The motion was approved.
The Planning Department sought to approve and authorize the Chair to sign an Agreement between Plumas County and Workbench to provide professional services for the design and development of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU.) ADU construction plans that have been pre-plan checked by the Plumas County Building Department for the term of April 18, 2023, to September 30, 2023, not to exceed $103,000 from SB2 grant monies. Discussion was made about requests from contractors.
Supervisor Hagwood brought up the point of Workbench being located in Santa Cruz, and the county not having any historical experience with Workbench. He suggested that the local contractor's proposal should be considered, and how he would favor supporting a local business and the importance of supporting a local business that they have over 30 years of experience.
Discussion was made of factors on the timeframe and considerations on proposals. The local contractor was present at the meeting and spoke regarding his qualifications and ability to do a better job than Workbench. Ferguson brought up the point that this will help residents as a free service for planning ADUs, and
Supervisor Engel expressed his opinion about the importance of housing in the County, the importance of timing, and of the need to have engineering offered to the public for free. The motion was approved.
The second item was regarding zoning for camping, aimed towards prohibiting camping in town. Discussion was made about “prime opportunity areas” for zoning for camping.
The Public Works Department sought to adopt an ordinance for the County of Plumas, State of California, regarding organic waste disposal reduction. It was regarding a California bill to reduce methane production in landfills. It encourages to have relationships in place to collect food that would otherwise go into landfills. The ordinance would require the types of food being donated to be classified, and will essentially be able to divert more food that would normally go to the landfill to distribute it to residents. The motion was approved.
With the County Administrative Office, Debra Lucero reported that she and Supervisor McGowan attended a CSAT convention. She also brought up the idea to the board that Nevada County is training the ICS emergency training, and creating cohorts that train for two years and have a pay incentive.
The second item was regarding the United Way of Northern California and Plumas Rural Services partnership, providing information and referral services for the Dixie Fire Recovery, and the continued evolution and development of the 211 information and referral services. Employees with Plumas Rural Services commented on the benefits of the 211 program. Kalie Brisbon, Senior Director of Programs with United Way spoke about the benefits of emergency response, utilizing grant capability, amplifying funding for the county, and forming partnerships. The motion was approved.