Jaxon Van Derbeken, Chronicle Staff Writer
Copyright 2005 The Chronicle Publishing Co.
All Rights Reserved
THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE (California)
Alameda County Sheriff Charles Plummer has appointed his son to a federally funded post in the Sheriff's Department to prepare for and handle terrorist attacks.
Larry Plummer, 56, a retired Mountain View police captain who had been working at Cisco Systems Inc., is scheduled to start Monday at his $111,674-a-year job, which is paid for by the Department of Homeland Security.
He will sit as Alameda County's representative on the terrorism early warning group, a panel responsible for coordinating homeland security issues for Alameda County, Contra Costa County and the city of Oakland.
Sheriff Plummer said Thursday that he and his son talked about possible job openings in October, about the time the man who had the terrorism post in his office, retired FBI agent Hugh Galyean, announced he was leaving to take care of his family.
The sheriff said he told his son about the position, encouraged him to apply and then left it up to Assistant Sheriff Robert Maginnis to evaluate him and make a decision. "That's the way we do business here,'' he said.
"I left it in Bob's hands," Plummer said. "Bob came to me Tuesday and said he was ready to make a recommendation. We want to hire your son."
Plummer said he was not worried about perceived nepotism.
Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele said she had mixed feelings about the appointment to the critical post. She said the position was not advertised and realizes that some people will look askance at the appointment.
"I understand how people could view this and say it could have been handled a different way,'' she said.
"This guy is going to be on the line -- and very out front, so there is a lot of pressure on him, a lot of pressure on Charlie,'' she said.
Sheriff Plummer said his son is qualified for the job. "He's smart as hell, and he's tough as hell.'' The sheriff called the post "super critical.''
The younger Plummer attended Laney College and earned a degree in sociology from the University of the Pacific and a master's degree in management from California Polytechnic State University Pomona.
Larry Plummer served on the Berkeley police force, reaching the rank of lieutenant before shifting to Mountain View, where he retired as a captain three years ago.
Steele said the county must improve its radio communications so that all agencies can talk to each other in emergencies.
"I think we have a long way to go -- if this guy can improve the situation, God love him,'' she said. "It sure needs improvement.''
December 2, 2005
Calif. sheriff appoints his son to key anti-terrorism post