BY ALICIA ROBINSON
Published: 01 June 2012 11:21 PM
Though Riverside County is in the midst of laying off nearly 230 employees to balance its budget, its supervisors are poised to consider giving county elected officials salary hikes of more than 25 percent over the next three years.
The county’s Human Resources department recommended the proposal, which does not give raises to the supervisors themselves. The idea looks likely to go down in flames on Tuesday, June 5, when it is scheduled for a vote.
Three of the five supervisors said late Friday that they oppose the plan, which in July would give 10 percent raises to the county assessor, auditor and treasurer, and 12.5 percent raises to the district attorney and sheriff. From 2013 to 2015, all those positions would get annual boosts that add up to more than 15 percent.
Enacting the raises would boost the annual salaries of the auditor and assessor from $165,727 to $182,300 in July, and by July 2015 they would reach $211,671. The raises would cost the county $52,755 per year.
“I don’t see any justification at all. I’m not going to support it,” Supervisor Jeff Stone said, calling the proposal “a slap in the face to the taxpayer.”
The county is in the process of laying off 229 employees because of a projected shortfall in the 2012-13 budget, and County Executive Officer Jay Orr told the board in May more staff cuts will be necessary.
Supervisors Bob Buster and John Benoit also said they won’t back the proposal, which Benoit said is “poorly timed.”
Supervisor Marion Ashley said he is willing to consider raises for elected officials if they’re more in line with what was negotiated for rank-and file employees. For example, supervisors in March agreed to contracts with two bargaining units that ask employees to pay a larger share of their pension costs in exchange for cost of living raises – usually about 2 or 3 percent – and merit pay increases.
Elected officials “should be treated similar to all the other employees in the county,” Ashley said.
Supervisor John Tavaglione could not be reached for comment Friday.
It’s less clear what will happen to a proposal to increase salaries of county management employees not represented by unions, such as the undersheriff and assistant district attorney; that is also on Tuesday’s agenda. Those raises would range from 5 to 16 percent this year and would include the same roughly 15 percent increase over the next three years as proposed for elected officials.
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