Riverside County’s new Executive Officer, Jay Orr, pulled his proposal to raise the compensation of the county’s elected officials, e.g., Sheriff and District Attorney, from Tuesday’s Board of Supervisor’s agenda. He plans to re-submit it in the future.
But the proposal to increase pay between seven and 15 percent for subordinate managers in these departments remained on the agenda and incurred considerable comment for Board members. Ultimately the board requested Orr reconsider this proposal and bring a new one to the board within three weeks.
Orr explained that no bargaining association represents these county employees. While they have incurred pension changes negotiated with associations such as the Riverside Sheriffs’ and SEIU, their salaries have not changed, while the vast majority of county employees will receive salary increases over the next four years.
“This group has been saving jobs, working hard on reform and transformation of the county government and doing a yeoman job,” Orr said complimenting this employee cohort.
Nevertheless, Orr recommended against the raises for this year, despite the compaction of pay levels, and asked the board to wait another year.
But Sniff and Zellerbach disagreed. The compaction issue, particularly, was beginning to create morale and recruitment problems, they said.
“It only impacts 36 employees, from captain to chief deputy, but compaction issues are especially egregious inside law enforcement.” Sniff argued to the Board. “It’s an absurdity that executives drawn from the ranks end up with more responsibility and making less than the people they oversee.”
Zellerbach told the board that 40 attorneys within his office total of 700 employees are affected by this proposal. He pointed out how the new labor agreements would cost over the next four years, several hundred million dollars, and rewarding senior management constituted a fraction of this total.
Board members were sympathetic to the problems Sniff and Zellerbach face, but firmly pointed out that the County’s overall budget problems still existed.
“I understand the predicament the district attorney and sheriff are facing, but one thing for sure, we still have revenue uncertainty,” Stone stressed. He then moved to delay the issue until the July 3 meeting. Board Chair John Tavaglione, 2nd District, agreed with Stone that the county still continues to face too many economic uncertainties.
Fifth District Supervisor Marion Ashley expressed sympathy for the employees. “These managers need to be rewarded,” he said. “But I’m not sure this is the exact way to do it.”
Stone’s motion was unanimously approved.