Commission Versus Sheriff’s Office

sheriff podiumMason County Sheriff Salisbury has been trying to get Commission approval for an M.O.U. (memo of understanding) between the Squaxin Island Tribal Nation and the County on a funding agreement worth 24k per month, since May of 2013.

This agreement, similar to the independent agreements the Sheriff’s Office has with several of the homeowner associations, Green Diamond and the National Forest Service, would be to fund public safety. The approval process seems to be an insurmountable and costly obstacle to overcome.

At the Commissioner briefings Monday, the revised MOU with the Squaxin Tribal Nation was rejected and turned back to the Sheriff’s Office again. The reason the Commission gave, was the length of time (10 years) indicated on the current revision of the contract was too long. The original agreement, rejected by this same Commission, was because the 2-year term of the agreement was too short. The too short was due to the Sheriff’s planned use of the revenue: to fund labor (salary increases for non-represented support staff). The Commission did not want to authorize cost increases that did not have a sustainable revenue stream.

At the briefings Monday, Commissioner Sheldon stated, (and the other two Commissioners agreed) the 10-year term of the MOU was too long, even though the MOU contained a cancellation statement indicating “either party may cancel with a 30 day notice”. There was no indication any of the Commissioners remembered the reasons for the original rejection. Jeffreys cited “the need to re-think” the no increase of the contract along with the 10-year term (the new reason for rejecting the MOU). Jeffreys did not explain what “rethink” meant.

For each month this contract is delayed, it costs the County $24k in revenue, along with the cost of bringing 3-5 County employees to brief the Commission several times on the same subject, and the multiple reviews by both the prosecutor and Tribal lawyers.

The original request of this MOU was May 2013, then briefed again in October 14, 2013, again in November 2013, and again Monday, April 7, 2014. 10 months of lost revenue ($240k) and how many man hours? The Sheriff’s Office included this revenue stream in their budgeted 2014 revenues. Failure of the Commission to approve the MOU will impact the Sherriff’s 2014 operating budget, at a run rate of $24k per month.

April 8, 2014/JE KMAS News