After meeting with Chief Probation Officer Curtis Schlepp, newly elected sheriff, Randy Adams continued to meet with Mineral County Commissioners regarding the vacant position of undersheriff within his department.
After finalizing the pay, Adams would appoint William Ferguson, a former Mineral County Sheriff’s deputy and a member of the Nevada Highway patrol to the position of undersheriff.
Before naming Ferguson to the position, Adams spoke to commissioners about an increase in pay for the incoming undersheriff.
Polling counties in Nevada that are close to same size, he noticed that Pershing and Eureka Counties both paid their undersheriff more than what the previous one had made.
He noted that Eureka County paid ten percent more, making the wage at about $62,000 whereas Pershing County paid the undersheriff overtime.
In discussion with the commissioners, he would inform them that, “Some guys in my department were just putting some info together. 36 law enforcement officers have left the Mineral County Sheriff’s Office in the last ten years. That is 3.6 officers a year. 19 dispatchers. It is because the wages aren’t there. They can’t stick around or we can’t get people that are capable of sticking around because of the wage. This is huge. We got to have a decent amount of money to have a decent person. I have somebody with all the qualifications that I need and want and they actually want to work here. They are a category 1 officer, investigator and supervisor.”
When asked why he doesn’t promote from within, Adams stated that he would like new blood and fresh ideas. But Adams kept coming back to the need for more money for the undersheriff position.
Commissioner Cliff Cichowlaz would state, “But we have a budget. I’ve always thought, “Do the hell what you want”. You are an elected official. Do what you want as long as you stay in the budget.”
Adams would counter Cichowlaz with, “But that’s not the approach I want to take.”
In unison, Cichowlaz and Commissioner Jerrie Tipton would state, “But that’s the approach we have to take.”
Cichowlaz would ask Adams where the funds would come from. Adams would state from the wages (of being shorthanded by deputies) but was cautioned by Tipton that even though he is an elected official, it is the job of the commissioners to be fiscally responsible.
Commissioner Paul MacBeth asked, “You were talking $62,000 [for an undersheriff salary], correct?”
MacBeth asked why his deputies were not given a raise if the reason was the lack of wages. Adams told him it wasn’t that easy to just give his deputies a raise as they are union.
MacBeth countered by asking, “How many deputies can you hire with the $62,000? One and a half?”
Adams stated, “One and a third.”
“Could you bonus them? A sign on bonus?” MacBeth asked.
Cichowlaz would remind them that it keeps coming back to, if you can afford it this budget year – can you afford it in the budget years coming up? “You go to Transparency Nevada and the actual wage will be $80,000.”
The decision was to hire the new undersheriff on at a rate of $58,500 a year plus benefits. A vote was taken with Commissioners Tipton and Cichowlaz in agreeance and MacBeth voting against it. Stating he wanted the money to go to the deputies.
“I want to be a part of the Mineral County government. I think this is a good step.” Adams would conclude.