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Supervisors OK hiring a deputy

By Staff | Aug 12, 2009

The Emmet County Board of Supervisors Tuesday agreed to refill a deputy position vacated since March, with an eye toward looking for part-time officers to fill in for a retirement expected late this year.

Sheriff Mike Martens told the board Tuesday that he had checked locally as requested to determine whether there was interest in part-time openings in his department as an alternative to a full-time position with benefits.

Martens said that under department policy if someone worked over 19 hours a week the person would qualify for benefits.

Martens said the last quarter of the 2009 fiscal year the department paid $10,163 in overtime. Projected over a year, he said the department would benefit more if the hours could be filled at straight-time pay. He also noted that 83 shift days of vacation need to be filled by the end of the year.

Addressing the issue of hiring part-time officers, Martens said most qualified officers already have a job. He said he would require academy-certified veteran officers. Three or four potential part-time candidates have indicated interest in serving the department, Martens said.

Supervisor Jim Jenson said the reason he had suggested that Martens check on the availability of part-time officers was to fill out scheduled vacation days.

Martens said time management remained an issue.

“The bottom line recommendation is we need to go with a full-time officer,” Martens said. He said uniforms, vehicle and fuel for the needed deputy were already in the budget.

When asked by Supervisor Ron Smith as to the level of service that Martens felt the department was providing given current staff levels, Martens said, “Our drug investigations have stopped.’

Board Chair Randy Beaver favored a full-time officer, provided there’s money in the budget to sustain the position.

Supervisor Alan Madden reminded the board of an upcoming retirement in the department.

“We just keep thinning out and we just keep moving men around to do it,” Martens said. He said he had tried his best to find part-timers to fill shifts. However, he said it’s hard to find people to fill night shifts.

“It’s tough to get them to commit,” he said. He said it was also difficult for part-time officers to learn their beats.

Supervisor Bev Juhl recommended that the board approve hiring a full-time officer and explore part-time options given an impending retirement which Martens said could come by the end of the year.

In approving the position, the board discussed the possibility of paying for it through county betterment money generated from the county’s share of the recently approved 1-cent sales tax.