Three Mammoth Police Officers trying for Mono Sheriff jobs

mlpdarrestMammoth Police Chief Dan Watson has confirmed that three of his men have tested for positions with the Mono County Sheriff’s Office. Chief Watson said Mono County is “conducting background checks on three officers.” If these three men leave, Mammoth Police Department could lose a total of eight officers by July of 2013, leaving only nine on board.

Faced with the payoff of $30 million in debt in September, the Town Council called for a cut of seven police positions. Although, at their last meeting, at least three councilmen denied their previous statements and claimed what they really meant was they wanted a $1.1 million cut in the Police Department, and it’s up to Chief Watson to figure it out. This was viewed as an attempt to switch public pressure from the Council to the Chief.

The early proclamation that the Police Department would lose seven positions sent morale tumbling and officers looking for jobs somewhere else. That early message has driven away four officers so far with the possibility of three more.

The Town of Mammoth cuts to the police department will not take effect until July 1st of 2013, and so, as strange as it seems, Chief Watson will actually start to recruit for officers. The Chief said, “Technically, I can hire up to the current strength.” Watson said he will tell recruits that their job may not be here after July 1st, but he pointed out that officer numbers will drop to nine and under Town cuts, the Department can maintain ten officers.

Chief Watson said all of this could change if the Police Officers Association makes concessions to save positions. Watson said he has to plan for the worst case scenario of ten officers by July 1st. Since personnel costs in the Department amount to more than 75% of the budget, the cuts will come out of personnel in some way.

The situation has created angry feelings. So did comments by Mayor Pro Tem Rick Wood. At the last Council meeting, Wood said that there was “not even a whimper” from other employees who took cuts in the last three years – a comment perceived as a back-handed slap to police for publicly criticizing the Council for their policies.

Councilmembers continue to repeat that they just don’t have enough money to pay for police under the huge debt burden and hard times. Privately, officers say their Department was cut from 23 officers down to 17 and police took larger pay cuts than other associations in the same time frame.


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10 Responses to Three Mammoth Police Officers trying for Mono Sheriff jobs

  1. What criteria? December 21, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    This is an example of the sort of power-trips from people whose only criteria for suggesting or making life-changing and town-changing decisions for all of us is that they received the most votes. (There’s something very weird about this fact of life)

    Most recently, County Supervisor, Larry Johnston, won by a whopping 3 votes.

  2. Tourbillon December 20, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

    “This was viewed as an attempt to switch public pressure from the Council to the Chief.” By whom? The reporter? No other support exists in the story for this comment.

    How about this: “the above statement is viewed as an attempt by a reporter to cloak speculative editorializing within a putative news report.”

    • Benett Kessler December 20, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

      Why, Tourbillon, I didn’t know you were a news reporter. Several citizens said the above to the
      reporter. We tell what we know and what the public reflects. But, go ahead, why do you think the Council switched statements?

    • Reality Check December 20, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

      Tourbillion, you should try using a little deductive reasoning.

      FACT: Months ago the Town Council stated they had decided to eliminate 7 Police positions to save $1.1 Million Dollars. It’s on the record.

      FACT: 90% of the Police Department budget is personnel costs. The other 10% is operational costs such a utilities, vehicle maintenance, rent, office supplies, etc.
      Now the Town council is still saying that the number is $1.1 Million for cuts and it is up to the chief to decide where to cut! Where else can he cut? Benett nailed it.

      For you I will make it simple. 2+2=4

      • Big AL December 21, 2012 at 1:22 am #

        It’s quite clear the council and especially certain council members and town administrators are shifting blame .. making the chief the scape goat in this.

        But they really must be less than smart to try to fool everyone with this, when the proof is in previous statements.

        • Duh December 21, 2012 at 10:08 am #

          It appears that they fooled at least one person on this blog with their double speak!

  3. Big Rick OBrien December 19, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    Inyo County Sheriff supplements his department with 25.00 an hour (no benefits) retired police officers. They’re already trained & experienced . SOMETHING has got to be done until this mess is sorted out.

    • Mark December 21, 2012 at 7:55 am #

      If that’s true it’s proof NIH is paying officers to much for security

      • Reality Check December 21, 2012 at 11:56 am #

        You gat what you pay for.

  4. Mammothite December 19, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

    I have heard that several other officers are applying elsewhere and at least two others are consdering early retirement since their final benefit is based on their highest three years. if they stay and work they will actually lose money in the long run.

    Mammoth Lakes may be left with a 5 or 6 man department by July 2013. With comments like those of Rick Wood, it is doubtful any good cop would want to come to Mammoth for a law enforcement career. It is important to remember that with these guys it is not just another job, it’s a long term career choice.

    The problem for Mr. Wood is that fully trained and certified cops can pretty much get a job anywhere they want to in California with a much better pay and benefit package than is currently offered by Mammoth Lakes. Mr. Wood who continues to insult and demean these employees, has no clue as to the long term damage that he is doing running his mouth like this.


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