MENDOCINO Co., 4/1/22 — Mendocino County Sheriff Matthew Kendall is asking the county for a new $20,000 hiring bonus to help recruit sheriff’s deputies from other law enforcement agencies, as well as a $7,000 incentive for deputies who self-finance their education at the police academy, when the Board of Supervisors hold their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, April 6. If approved, the $20,000 bonus for “lateral transfers” would be four times greater than the $5,000 signing bonus currently on offer from the San Francisco Police Department.
Kendall said in a letter to the board the increased stress associated with low staffing levels are leading deputies currently on staff to take jobs elsewhere or retire early — and without these incentives, staffing levels will continue to erode. “There has only been one other time in my 30+ year career with the sheriff’s office that we have seen personnel numbers this low,” Kendall wrote.
Kendall’s letter did not include any corroborating information to support that claim — but Acting Mendocino County C.E.O. Darcie Antle said in an email this morning that the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) has 111 full time positions in the budget and just 93 of them filled. That means roughly 16 percent of budgeted positions are currently vacant.
Things are worse over at the jail, where just 54.6 full time positions out of 73 are filled. That vacancy rate is roughly 25 percent. Kendall told the board that understaffing at the jail can lead to increased risk of injury to inmates and deputies, and that comes with significant financial liability for the county.
Elsewhere on the agenda the supervisors will hold a public hearing on a permit application to convert a vacant 30-room motel at 16580 N. Highway 101, just north of Black Bart Drive, into a 21-unit apartment complex. An appeal has been filed against the proposal, and that appeal would be denied if the board authorizes the applicant to move forward. There’s also an informational presentation on pilot programs that could reduce illegal dumping in Mendocino County.
Tuesday’s meeting starts at 9 a.m. and will be streaming live on the county’s YouTube page. You can find the agenda and supporting documents on the county’s website.