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John Tuttle
08/08/2014 11:07 AM

Amador County Employees Get Favorable Ruling From State

SEIU Still Says They'll Fight

A California Public Employment Relations Board ruling has cleared the way for Amador County employees to vote on who will represent them in labor negotiations. For nearly two years, county employees have been seeking the right to leave the Service Employees International Union and form their own bargaining unit, a move opposed by the SEIU. The opportunity is now within reach for county employees following the PERB partial dismissal of an unfair practice charge filed against Amador County by SEIU. The union alleges that the county violated the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act when it processed two decertification petitions filed by the County Employees Association. Some Amador County employees had grown unhappy with the leadership of the local SEIU and over thirty percent signed a petition to vote to dissolve the SEIU’s representation of county workers. The Amador County supervisors sided with the employees and voted to allow the workers to vote to form their own representation. The Employment Relations Board found that the October 1, 2013 petition seeking to decertify SEIU as the exclusive representative for more than 200 Amador County employees had been filed timely, paving the way for a representation election. Attorneys for SEIU have indicated that they intend to appeal PERB’s decision.

Sutter Creek City Council Approves Building Codes

The Sutter Creek City Council held off on placing liens on properties delinquent on their sewer bills, and gave final approval to new building codes during actions taken at its meeting on Monday, August 4. The council voted to continue until its next meeting the measure that would place a lien on properties within city limits where sewer bills had not been paid. Over 70 properties with a total outstanding balance of $78,000 are on the current delinquent list. But the council had a number of questions about the process and voted to continue the item until their concerns can be addressed. Public comments on the subject were divided between those urging leniency for customers facing hardship and those who urged the council to collect all they are due. The council also approved a new set of building codes for the city, to match current state standards.The council also conducted the first reading of an ordinance that reinstates the city’s transient occupancy tax. In 2007 the council approved a package of changes to city codes, with the intent of updating the code and eliminate obsolete laws. One of those changes inadvertently eliminated the city’s transient occupancy tax, which is charged to those who stay in hotels and bed and breakfast inns within the city. According to the city attorney, the change was made in error and because the council has discovered and acted to fix the error, TOT taxes that have continued to be collected for the last seven years will not need to be refunded.

Governor Brown Declares State of Emergency

The Sand Fire is now 100-percent contained, but more than a dozen wildfires still threaten homes and infrastructure in California. Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency on Saturday, August 2. Brown proclaimed the emergency as fires in the central and far northern part of the state continue to burn thousands of acres, destroy homes and damage critical infrastructure. Dry lightning and severe drought conditions are escalating the fire danger throughout the state. Brown’s emergency proclamation said that the magnitude of the fires would require cooperation from many agencies and state governments. Meanwhile, the final figures on the Sand fire include 4,240 acres burned and 20 residences and 47 outbuildings lost. Patrol and mop-up of the fire continued in the area this week.

Two Calaveras Sheriff's Deputies Receive California State Attorney General's Award for Acts of Bravery

Corporal Alan Serpa and Deputy James Shackelford have been awarded Certificates of Commendation by State Attorney General Kamala Harris for their efforts to rescue victims from a burning home. In August, 2013, the two deputies responded to a structure fire on Mountain Meadows Drive, in Mountain Ranch. Upon their arrival, the deputies were told that two people were trapped inside the fully engulfed structure. Corporal Serpa and Deputy Shackelford immediately entered the structure, without any fire gear, encountering heavy smoke and extreme temperatures, without concern for their own safety. Despite a determined search, threats of the structure’s collapse forced them out of the house before they were able to locate the victims. The deputies risked their lives for two people they had never met, not allowing them to perish without a rescue attempt. Because of their actions, they were submitted to the Attorney General’s staff for recognition.

Copyright © 2014 Amador Ledger Dispatch
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