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El Dorado County sheriff seeks to reinstate second-in-command post

By: Raheem Hosseini Telegraph Correspondent
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El Dorado County Sheriff Fred Kollar has been pulling double duty at the department for more than 10 months now, but he doesn’t want his predecessor to follow suit. Kollar is finishing up the term of his former boss, Jeff Neves, who resigned the office’s elected command late last year. With Kollar’s approval, the board of supervisors eliminated his vacated undersheriff position to help plug a funding deficit the department was facing at the time. The financial outlook hasn’t gotten any rosier for a county eyeing an $11 million funding gap next fiscal year, but Kollar says he wants the next sheriff to have a second-in-command. “I intend before I leave office to reinstate that position,” he told The Telegraph. In a typical administration, the undersheriff is responsible for 80 percent of the department’s internal operations, Kollar explained, including personnel and policy decisions. The sheriff takes on the remaining 20 percent, but a great deal of his time is focused on community relations. “When I agreed to do both jobs, I said I don’t have the time or ability to do both” internal operations and community relations, Kollar said. “I think I’m keeping my head above water, but don’t think I’m doing either one as well as I should.” Kollar said he has the County Administrative Office’s support to come up with a plan to reinstate the position, although county administrative analyst Mike Applegarth said such a plan would have to be revenue neutral. Kollar acknowledged this, saying his plan would not require the county to provide additional funding. He also doesn’t want to eliminate any deputy sheriff positions to cobble together the necessary compensation for a new undersheriff. “There are a couple of different opportunities depending on what we do,” Kollar said, adding that those decisions would be made with the next man elected sheriff, whoever that turns out to be. Meanwhile, the two remaining candidates for sheriff have spoken carefully about the undersheriff role. One of the louder rumors is that Bob Luca, the former California Bureau of Investigation chief who came in a distant third in the sheriff race in June, will be Craig Therkildsen’s chosen undersheriff should the El Dorado County jail commander be elected sheriff next month. Therkildsen said there’s a mutual respect between him and Luca, currently a district attorney investigator with El Dorado County. Contacted by e-mail, Luca wouldn’t comment on the rumor. * * * What do the candidates think? Adding to the speculation is that Luca’s campaign manager started sending out press releases for the Therkildsen campaign this September. Luca wouldn’t comment about the rumor, but he did say he was willing to help. “If (Therkildsen) is elected I have offered to help his administration in any way I can,” he said. Both Therkildsen and his opponent, Amador County district attorney investigator John D’Agostini, agree voters shouldn’t take possible undersheriff appointments into consideration. “We are not elected as a ticket,” Therkildsen said. “It’s incorrect to be elected based on who your undersheriff would be.” D’Agostini agreed. “I think people are electing the sheriff of El Dorado County, their sheriff,” D’Agostini echoed. “This is not a ticket race.” D’Agostini said he has someone in mind for undersheriff should he be elected, “someone of the highest quality,” but hasn’t offered that person the appointment “because I’m not sheriff yet and I don’t think that’s fair.”