By Marion Vendituoli
On June 22, 2021, Patagonia Town Manager Ron Robinson informed Marshall Joe Patterson of agenda items placed on the Patagonia Town Council meeting, to be held June 23, that would close the Marshall’s Department in the Town on June 30, 2021. Law enforcement will be supplied by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office and animal care and control will be provided by the County, according to two separate intergovernmental agreements, which have been prepared with input from Santa Cruz County Sheriff David Hathaway and Santa Cruz County Manager Jennifer St. John.
Patterson, who had previously announced that he was leaving the Department in August, believes that this move is a response to his filing of a complaint against Flood and Flow Chairman Carolyn Schafer.
Robinson, however, denies this allegation, saying that he has been looking into closing the Marshall’s office since January 2021. “I look at two things, I run the numbers and I look at job performance,” Robinson said. “The Marshall’s Office has always seemed to struggle operating within their budget. This [move] gives me a fixed expense.” Robinson added that there would be no increase in expense to the town. Addressing the issue of job performance, Robinson said, “In my tenure as town manager, on two different occasions, Marshall Patterson has mentioned that he was looking at other job opportunities. He has created in me a concern about the operation of the Marshall’s Department.”
Sheriff Hathaway has committed to assigning three deputies to Patagonia who will become familiar with the community. They will replace Patterson and two deputies. Patagonia Deputy John York will be retiring, according to Robinson. He has recommended that Deputy Dan Atkinson, whom he praised as an excellent officer, be hired by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s office.