The Board of Supervisors on June 23 unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding between the county and the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Employees Association. The MOU is effective retroactive to Nov. 1, 2019, and provides for salary increases totaling seven percent over three years.
The raises come at a time that local governments across the country have been challenged to defund law enforcement as part of protests following the death of George Floyd.
In addition to approving the contract that is a result of months of negotiation, Supervisors Roger Gitlin and Bob Berkowitz wanted the board to make a formal declaration of support for law enforcement.
“Law enforcement is under siege in California and America,”
Gitlin said, pointing to Arcata’s recent decision to reduce police department funding by about $750,000. “These draconian budget cuts are dangerous and most certainly are not in the best interest of our public.”
However, District 3 Supervisor Chris Howard argued the MOU was a more tangible example of the community’s support for law enforcement than a proclamation.
“I don’t see the need for a proclamation at this time. I don’t think this board can take more of a step that shows the unanimous support for law enforcement and public safety overall within our community including fire,” Howard said.
County Administrative Officer Jay Sarina Sarina told supervisors that the MOU includes the following:
• Three cost of living adjustments beginning with a 3% pay raise starting July 2020, an increase in salaries by 2 percent in July 2021 and another 2 percent in July 2022.
• An update in language making the contract consistent with other agreements between county and bargaining units representing its staff. This includes mileage reimbursement and transportation for use of a personal vehicle for work-related travel when a county vehicle isn’t available.
• New per-diem rates for reimbursed meal periods while traveling on county business.
• Catastrophic leave provision for circumstances that may include an employee’s immediate family member.
Sheriff’s deputies and other non-management and personnel are covered by the contract.
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