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Supervisors give raises to employees, officials, themselves

Supervisors give raises to employees, officials, themselves

@TheSunGazette

tulare county – The Board of Supervisors voted to give more than 700 employees, their fellow elected officials and themselves, a raise last week. At its June 20 meeting, the Supervisors unanimously approved a 3% cost of living increase in 2017-18 and a 2% increase in 2018-19 for unrepresented employees (those not part of a collective bargaining unit, the four elected officials (including the Sheriff-Coroner, Auditor/Controller-Treasurer/Tax Collector, Assessor-Clerk/Recorder, and District Attorney) and themselves.

The raises will be staggered throughout the fiscal year as employees’ salary will increase on July 9 while the four officials will not receive their increase until the first full pay period following adoption of the annual budget. The Supervisors’ raises won’t take effect until the first full pay period that is more than 60 days after the adoption of the budget. Vice Chairman Steve Worthley, who motioned to accept the increase, said the delay is confusing for the public who generally think it is a second raise within the same year.

The item was presented by Rhonda Sjostrom, Human Resources and Development Director for Tulare County, who said every employee received at least the 3% and 2% and some, such as public safety, received 3% for the next two years.

“The Board is not getting anything any other employee is not already getting,” said Chairman Pete Vander Poel.

The raises mean the Supervisors will each be paid $115,374.58 beginning in the fall of 2018. The chairman will make $123,695.38 and the vice chairman will make $119,399.93. Supervisor Amy Shuklian said she didn’t have an issue with the Board receiving raises when employees did but said she did not like their salaries being tied to the four elected officials. Under the current ordinance governing Supervisor salaries, any increase of the four elected officials is then divided by the number of elected officials (4) and then given as an increase to the Supervisors. Shuklian directed staff to come back with an amendment that removes the provision linking Supervisor salary increase to the officials.

“I’d like to see that completely repealed,” Shuklian said.

As part of the agreement, the County will continue to offer those groups a sick leave buy back program, a matching contribution in deferred compensation, and minimum benefit amount for health plans for 2018 and 2019. The sick leave buy back provides an incentive for employees that use less sick time to cash out unused sick days. The program results in lower absenteeism which increases efficiency by lowering the workload and controlling overtime costs when that sick time is covered by other employees. The County continues to match $1 for every $4 an employee contributes to the deferred compensation program up to $1,500 per year. The program encourages employees to save for retirement. The County will also continue to provide $1,000 to pay for the premium charged employee-only medical, dental and vision, and the $10,000 life insurance coverage.

The raises and benefits will increase the County’s salary costs by $2.6 million in 2017-18 and a little over $2 million for 2018-19.

 

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