Letters to the editor for Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Verify low pay is actually root of issue
Pay negotiations between Douglas County and the deputies’ unions have been in the news lately. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) has lost 10 to 12 sworn officers to other city’s or county’s departments recently, we’re told because the DCSO’s pay scales are uncompetitive. But I strongly suggest our Board of County Commissioners request and examine the relevant exit interviews. If the issues turn out to be morale problems or poor leadership, for example, more money isn’t going to solve the problem.
The BOCC also should determine if rank and file are being underpaid because the department’s top-heavy pay structure is consuming too much of the personnel budget. Why does DCSO have four highly paid captains and no lieutenants? Could we get by with fewer captains? What, exactly, are the duties of the Sheriff and Undersheriff? Does the BOCC know that three of our four captains began their careers in higher paying departments and came here as patrol deputies , two in Los Angeles, one in Albuquerque? If pay is the determining factor in attracting and retaining talent, why did they move to Douglas County?
DCSO has procured a lot of expensive equipment in the last few years, a bunch of pickup trucks and a shiny new patrol boat. Before the next DCSO budget cycle is rubber-stamped, shouldn’t the BOCC demand the department go through an audit to make sure that money for street level patrol and investigative personnel wasn’t squandered on unnecessary paraphernalia before they dip into the taxpayers’ pockets?
As three of our captains apparently decided when they moved to this area, it was worth a pay cut to raise their families in an uncongested low crime area located in a beautiful valley that offers outdoor recreational opportunities. Douglas has highway access to Carson City and Reno and for travel to family and friends in Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, and LA metro.
Pay for public safety personnel should be fair and competitive, but if the union is claiming that low pay is pushing people out of DCSO, that needs to be verified.
Fiction is wonderful. Before television, there were storytellers who shared their thoughts and entertained as they expressed a meaningful message. They were creative and made everyone want to be a part of a wonderful story. I will attempt to share how my Grandfather might have told this story below:
What a wonderful headline. “Nevada OKs Year-Round Daylight Saving Time.” Less traffic accidents, less heart attacks, and our children and dogs will know when to eat! Government regulations to modify the hours in a day and “time of the year,” is no more.
Nevada leads the way for others to follow. The Battle Born State shows its independence and freedom by demonstrating this is a state giving its citizens what they want. Our Congress and Legislators have taken the first steps for health and safety. They set a precedent for our children that government can be helpful and trusted.
Twelve other states had Senate bills to change this silly time law. Our politicians showed government can serve the people. Nevada is the first to join with Arizona and retain Daylight Saving Time.
In conclusion, the people all thanked the lawmakers that supported this effort. Some of the most influential citizens said they might be worth re-electing these lawmakers, just for this one accomplishment.
A fun story, now if it were only true.
Timothy M. DeTurk