The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors voted down an item to approve raises for the county Assessor, Auditor/Controller, Treasurer/Tax Collector and Clerk Recorder Tuesday.
The proposed 5-percent increase (not including a 2-percent cost-of-living adjustment in January) would have cost the county $7,857 over the remainder of the 2018-19 fiscal year and $35,496 in the 2019-20 fiscal year, according to Human Resources and Risk Director Judy Hawkins.
During public comment Tuesday, many questioned whether the department heads were deserving of a raise.
Mountain Ranch resident Terry McBride specifically criticized Assessor Leslie Davis for raising property taxes on her properties in District 2, all of which were severely damaged by the 2015 Butte Fire.
“I don’t know many people that don’t do their job and then get a raise,” McBride said. “I find it really odd that in Mountain Ranch where I had five properties injured in that fire, lost three houses, lost everything on it, lost the trees and the land is now worth 30 percent more (than before the fire). It was a beautiful, amazing forest filled with cedars, pines and oaks.”
District 1 resident Joan Wilson suggested that the board hold meetings when members of the public can attend to encourage more public comment.
District 2 Supervisor Jack Garamendi was heavily opposed to approving the increases.
“Just a couple weeks ago we were talking about refunding money for people who registered for a program in this county, and yet we didn’t trust our own staff, but we trust them enough to give them a raise,” Garamendi said. “I just have to admit, gentlemen, this whole thing is confusing. I think this is a bad idea, and I think it ought to be postponed, or just voted down.”
After a motion by District 4 Supervisor Dennis Mills to approve the increases, and a second by District 5 Supervisor Clyde Clapp, the board voted the item down 2 to 3.