Sheriff will get benefits overseas



Calaveras County Sheriff Dennis Downum, on leave for a year in Iraq, will continue to receive county medical, dental and vision benefits.

Downum accepted an offer last year from the U.S. State Department to join 1,000 other American peace officers to train a new police force in Iraq.

He was training in Virginia late last week and was to leave for Baghdad sometime this week.

Supervisors voted 3-2 yesterday to allow Downum to receive his county benefits for the first six months of his leave.

County Human Resources Director Francine Osborn said it will cost the county $3,250 to pay Downum's benefits through the end of June. But the money is already in the county budget, she added.

Downum will be paid $100 per month while on leave by the county, which will also pay his life insurance.

Supervisors must vote later about extending Downum's benefits for another six months.

That's because under state law, elected officials can only take six months of leave.

Downum's situation prompted Assemblyman Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto, to work on legislation to allow elected officials to take up to two years leave if they're working with the federal government.

Supervisors Paul Stein, Merita Callaway and Victoria Erickson voted in favor of extending Downum's benefits.

Callaway and Erickson, however, were reluctant.

"We can wave our flags and say he's serving his country, but they should pay for it," Callaway said of the State Department.

Erickson said she voted to extend Downum's benefits because he has agreed to keep in touch with Acting Sheriff Randy Grasmuck throughout the year.

Supervisors Tom Tryon and Lucy Thein opposed extending Downum's benefits. Tryon said Downum should have the option of paying for the benefits himself.

"I don't think the county should pay his premium when he's getting a full-time market rate for his actions," Tryon said.

The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Thursday October 27, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
New oak disease spreads from coast to foothills


A deadly fungus killing oak trees along the coasts of central and ... more

Residents complain about cultivation enforcement


Residents of El Rancho Loma Serena Homeowners Association said they believe Calaveras ... more

This is not horse play


Tuolumne County Animal Control on Wednesday hosted the Animal Technical Rescue First ... more

Columbia Elementary gets an interim leader


The Columbia Union School Board Tuesday hired Diane Dotson as interim superintendent-principal. ... more

All Hallows Fantasy Faire


Hundreds of people of all ages, costumed and non-costumed, attended the eighth ... more