Court finds Measure F unconstitutional, Placer County offers 9% wage increase to Deputy Sheriffs’ Association
Published May 15, 2023
The Placer County Superior Court has ruled in favor of Placer County in a lawsuit filed by the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, affirming the county Board of Supervisors’ constitutional authority to negotiate compensation for all county employees.
In an order dated May 2, Superior Court Judge Trisha Hirashima ruled that Measure F, a 1976 salary-setting initiative for positions represented by the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, violates the state constitution. The court also ruled that Measure F violates the state statute requiring public employers to negotiate compensation and conflicts with the Placer County Charter, approved by county voters in 1980.
“We are pleased that the court has affirmed our legal responsibility and authority to negotiate employee wages,” said Board of Supervisors Chair and District 3 Supervisor Jim Holmes. “We hope this opens a fresh chapter in negotiations with the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, starting with a strong salary offer in recognition of the excellent work of our law enforcement professionals. Our goals remain for Placer County to be highly competitive for top law enforcement talent – with public safety as a critical priority.”
The association’s lawsuit challenged the board’s 2021 decision to remove the Measure F language from the county code without voter approval. In response to the county’s motion for summary judgment, the court concluded that submitting the issue to the electorate was not legally required, as the original initiative was “an unconstitutional exercise of power, and Measure F was invalid at inception.”
Following the ruling, the county on May 12 extended its last, best and final offer to the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association to increase wages by 9%. The offer is approximately 3% more than the amount deputies would have received from the Measure F formula.
Deputy sheriffs last received a wage increase in October 2021, when the board imposed a raise of approximately 1% in addition to the Measure F formula raise received in February 2021. For more than one year, the association has not joined the county at the bargaining table for good faith negotiations.