On Tuesday, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors agreed via way of a 3-2 vote to link their base salary to superior court judges and increasing board member salaries to 60% of judge’s salaries. Both Supervisor Diane Burgis and Candace Andersen were the dissenting board members.
The move will also set future pay increases which include:
- 60% of judges’ salaries for the period between July 1, 2019 and December 31, 201
- 63% of judges’ salaries for the period between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020
- 65% of judges’ salaries thereafter
- plus the same periodic increases as are granted by the legislature to the judges, as recommended by the Ad Hoc Citizen’s Committee
For fiscal year 2019-20, the increase to the County General Fund would be $75,020 of which $16,476 is the County contribution to retirement cost.
Prior to the vote, Supervisor Diane Burgis suggested the Board of Supervisors slow down on the raises and phase it in over 5-years.
“I feel like I would rather be where our labor was able to get last year, that would be my comfort level and I really didn’t see that discussed,” said Burgis.
Supervisor John Gioia explained that there were two labor representatives on this commission and they had that discussion.
“Okay, I would feel a little more comfortable with this if it was a slower increase but I will acknowledge that once we get to that number we would not have to revisit this and as you pointed out it has been less than 2% in the past,” said Burgis.
Supervisor Candace Andersen agreed saying she still had some reservations about this plan.
“I am still troubled by the fact we are basing this on the Bay Area average,” said Andersen. “We are still not able to provide our own employees with a Bay Area average of salary so I am uncomfortable with us jumping to that level and like Diane, if we are going to receive a raise, I’d like to see it very gradually brought in to be really commensurate with what we are offering our own employees.”
She said she would support the raise over a 5-year period so they don’t have a 6.5% increase followed by a 5% increase.
Andersen also addressed the comment that being a Board of Supervisor is not a full-time job saying it very much was a full-time job.
“Each of us serve on 25-30 different committees and we have a meeting preparation for each of those,” said Andersen. “Often times I will leave my home at 8:00 am or 7:30 am and not get home until 10:00 pm just given our meeting schedule. So I do want to put that out there.”
The action came after a five-member Ad Hoc Committee on Board of Supervisors’ Compensation had six open meetings over a two-month period and came to a unanimous set of recommendations which were presented to the Board on March 26, 2019, by Tom Hansen, Chair of the Committee.
According to County Administer David Twa, 7 of the 9 Bay Area counties use this method by tying there range from as low as 49% to as high as 80% to judges salaries as a way to take it out of the political arena.
Gioia stated that in the citizens report, it was stated that over the past 9-years on an annual bases, the salary increases averaged under 2% each year.
“I know historically most Bay Area counties have followed this approach now for many, many years. And we were in the last one of the last counties that has had to deal with the issue of when to make adjustments in our own salary,” said Gioia. “So what this does is link it to increases in state workers going forward so we don’t have to take action.”
Supervisor Andersen asked for clarification on the raises stating that to reach the first benchmark, they are looking at a 6.5% raise followed by a 5% raise and by year three they would get around a 3% raise.
Supervisor Karen Mitchoff shot back that percentages are “great” but wanted “on the record” a few things.
“We are one of 11 urban counties and I think we were the only county in the urban caucus that does not tie our salaries at the current time to the judges. I just think that’s an important comment to make,” stated Mitchoff. “The raise that the committee commission for July 1, we have not had increases in our salaries since January of 2018 and in that time period are county employees, even though it looks as it’s a little under 7%, they have received a 3% and they will be getting a 4%. So it is about the same. We are talking give or take around $7,000.”
Mitchoff added that the Board of Supervisors is still making less than their lowest paid department head.
“I am not saying that is right or wrong, I just think it needs to be put into context,” said Mitchoff who further highlighted than when compared to Sonoma County, they are paid $40,000 below them. She also noted that even by 2021, they will still be 15% below their colleagues in neighboring counties.
Gioia explained that the citizens commission was using the 65% because it was the average of the Bay Area County supervisors.
Supervisor Federal Glover highlighted how the Board of Supervisors moved in the right direction in moving this discussion to a Citizens Advisory Committee and said they presentation an option that was fair.
“In my opinion, I would have liked to see the numbers change a little bit more that would put us more in line with what is going on in our neighboring counties but it is what it is,” said Glover.
The board then voted 3-2 in favor of supporting the citizens commission recommendation for the pay increases.
Staff Report: Click here