Board tables item to approve raises for elected county department heads

The Calaveras County Board of Supervisors decided to table an item to increase salaries for the County Auditor/Controller, Assessor, Clerk-Recorder and Treasurer/Tax Collector at Tuesday’s meeting.

The issue has sparked concerns amongst members of the public as well as the Board since it was first discussed Sept. 11, just weeks before the final budget was adopted.

During public comment, Al Segalla with the Taxpayers Association suggested that the Board set compensation for elected officials when offering the position for people to run for office.

District 2 resident Terry McBride argued that raising salaries for the elected department heads would be unjustified after cutting many departments by 5 percent.

Human Resources and Risk Management Director Judy Hawkins presented the requested salary compensation package for the four elected department heads for three quarters of the year, and without benefits or longevity included in the discussion (a $40,000 cost to the county’s General Fund).

The department heads are already receiving a 4 percent raise over the course of the next year for cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) (2 percent in Jan. 2019 and 2 percent in July 2019).

Before voting on the proposed increases, Supervisors requested the full annual cost to the county with benefits and longevity included, which District 2 Supervisor Jack Garamendi unofficially calculated in the meeting to be around $90,000.

Chief Administrative Officer Timothy Lutz provided the caveat that compensation varies based on employee health care options.

After discussing a 5 percent increase (with 3 percent in Jan. 2019 and 2 percent in July 2019) to the department heads, the Board voted 4 to 1 to direct staff to bring the item back with the total numbers of increase to salaries including benefits and longevity in addition to the total cost to the General Fund before the end of the year.

The Board also withdrew an item to repeal and replace a 2006 ordinance which ties the Board of Supervisors salaries to those of the Auditor/Controller, Assessor, Clerk-Recorder, Sheriff and Treasurer/Tax Collector, requesting that staff review compensation packages for Supervisors in other counties and report back at a later date.

Under the ordinance, the Board receives 50 percent of the average salaries that those positions receive, meaning that an increase for the department heads would be an increase for Supervisors as well.

Garamendi told the Enterprise Wednesday that he is “not comfortable with setting our own salaries,” and hopes to have a broader conversation about the role of Supervisors in setting compensation packages.

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Reporter

Davis graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in Environmental Studies. He covers environmental issues, agriculture, fire and local government. Davis spends his free time playing guitar and hiking with his dog, Penny.

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