Tulare County supervisors have approved their own raises, increasing their salaries by 4.25% and an additional 2% cost of living increase.
Their yearly salary increased from $101,776 to $108,224. In accordance with County Ordinance, the TCBOS receives an increase in salary when the four elected county officials receive a similar increase. The four elected officials are the Sheriff, District Attorney, Auditor-Controller, and Assessor/Clerk.
The Tulare County Board of Supervisors (TCBOS) approved the adjustments in a continuation of the public hearing on the Tulare County budget.
The County Administrative Office (CAO) did a salary analysis of five neighboring counties and found that Tulare County elected officials are underpaid. The five counties used for comparison were Merced, Kings, Kern, Fresno and Madera. The results found that the Sheriff was 7% lower than the surveyed counties, the Auditor-Controller was 5% lower and the Assessor was 1% less. The District Attorney was 2% above the surveyed counties.
As a result, the CAO suggested the following raises: Sheriff, 8% increase; Auditor-Controller, 5% increase; Assessor/Clerk, 2% increase, and the District Attorney, 2% increase. The CAO also suggested an additional 2% cost of living increase. The TCBOS unanimously approved the salary increase effective immediately.
Michael Spata, County Administrative Officer, explained that if the four elected county officials receive salary adjustments, then the BOS shall receive the average adjustment of the officers 60 days after the date of the adjustment. The total salary increases for everyone adds up to $47,000 a year, $25,000 of which would be going to the supervisors.
Rhonda Sjostrom, head of Human Resources, reported that county employees received an average of a 6% raise for this fiscal year.
The BOS does have the option to modify or disapprove their own proposed salary adjustments, or defer their raises to a later date. During the recession, when county employee salaries were frozen, Supervisor Steve Worthley declined to take his yearly raise.
Supervisor Pete Vander Poel stated that the CAO’s presentation of the BOS salary raises was probably the most transparent ever. The higher transparency is a reflection of the new leadership in the County Administration Office headed by Mike Spata. This is his first year presiding over the formation and presentation of the yearly county budget.
While transparent, not everyone agrees with the process.
Supervisor-elect for district 3, Amy Shuklian, made it part of her campaign platform to do away with the current manner in which supervisors get their raises.
“That’s a policy that needs to be abolished,” said Shuklian. “They should not get a raise every time the four elected officials get raises.”
Shuklian suggested that when the county employees get a cost of living increase then the supervisors get one. She also suggested that another option would be that the supervisors only get a pay increase when they are re-elected, as happens with the Visalia City Council.
Shuklian will be taking her seat on the dais in January, replacing supervisor Phil Cox.