Vintage Auburn

Computer theft, jail labor and pay slashes for traffic officers

By: Tessa Marguerite, Reporter/Page Designer
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Editor’s note: The following news articles have been taken from the Auburn Journal archives with light editing. To comment on Vintage Auburn, contact staff writer Tessa Marguerite at

10 years ago
Auburn police seek leads in theft of 10 computers from library
Sept. 7, 2008
The Auburn Police Department is asking for the public’s help to locate suspects responsible for stealing 10 computers from the Auburn Library.
Nine computers and an employee’s laptop were stolen the night of Aug. 14, said Lt. Scott Burns of the Auburn Police Department.
“I can’t comment on the method of entry right now because the matter is still under investigation,” Burns said. “If anyone has any information, we encourage them to contact the department.”
Mary George, assistant director of library services, said in a September-October library newsletter that the value of the computers is about $15,000 to $17,000.
George said that the county has insurance, but there is a $5,000 deductible.
“This will definitely slow down our ability to add computers for public access,” said Mark Parker, director of library services. “And that is one of our high demands at this point.”
Parker said he wasn’t certain if all of the computers were slated for use in the Auburn Library.
“We will have to replace them and it is money we don’t have a lot of at this point,” he said. “The timing is never (good), but given the current budget situation, the timing couldn’t be worse.”

70 years ago
City will use jail labor
Sept. 9, 1948
A request for the use of county jail labor on city property was approved Tuesday by the board of supervisors.
The request was made in a letter from the city council and Mayor G. H. Morgan.
City Manager R. Merrit Baker and Sheriff E. J. Kenison appeared before the supervisors to explain the proposal.
Baker said the jail inmates would be employed on such projects as street improvements and sewer plant work.
Street Superintendent Harry White would act as overseer of the work. The city would provide the men with a substantial meal at the end of the day in return for their services.
Sheriff Kenison said he was agreeable to the proposal. He said only those men whom the officers felt were trustworthy would be allowed to work outside.
Baker stated he had had experience with convict labor during the war, when he held a position with the board of prison directors, and he had found it to be very satisfactory.
He said most jail inmates were glad to volunteer for the work as it gives them a change from jail routine.
White said he would be ready for the first crew next week. He expected to put them to work at the city sewage plant.
An overseer will be on hand at all times, he stated, but an armed guard will not be used.

90 years ago
Traffic officers face pay slash in Placer County
Sept. 20, 1928
Traffic officers of Placer County face a large salary slash as soon as the existing contract between the state motor vehicle department and the county expires, according to action taken last week by the county supervisors at a special session, after they had completed canvassing the absent voters’ ballots.
Captain Charles J. La Porte, veteran of the department, was cut from $350 a month to $225 a month. La Porte must furnish his own transportation out of this smaller amount and pay all other expenses incidental to the work.
The salary of the other traffic officer is set at $200 a month on the new schedule. This will be the amount paid Neil Marvin of Bowman if he accepts the appointment tendered him by the state motor vehicle department.
Marvin bid for the job when it was thought the pay would be $350 a month. At $200 a month, with the officer paying his own transportation expense, the position becomes much less desirable.
It is thought that new salary will force the traffic officers back on motorcycles, as it costs too much to operate an automobile to accept the positions at $200 a month.
Captain La Porte has not indicated whether he will accept the salary reduction. He is a veteran in point of service.
Supervisor Charles Geisendorfer is authority for the statement that if the officers do not accept the reductions, he has many applicants who would be glad to take the work at reduced rates.
The motion to reduce was unanimous.