MARTINEZ (KRON) –The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors approved a 7 percent
raise for themselves this morning, much smaller than the 33 percent raise
they approved late last year but then repealed after public outcry.
The board is continuing to look at ways to take its own salary
adjustments out of its hands. The ordinance passed last year would have
pegged their salary to 70 percent of state judges’ salaries.
Now the board is considering tying its salaries to only 56.5
percent of judges’ salaries, but did not take that step today.
Tying county supervisors’ salaries to state judges’ salaries is
something practiced widely around the state in order for supervisors to avoid
the awkward situation of voting on their own raises.
The range of salaries can vary widely from county to county,
however, from supervisors in Napa County earning 49 percent of state judges’
salaries to supervisors in Los Angeles County earning 100 percent, according
to Contra Costa County board chairman John Gioia.
A new committee to study the best ways to move forward with the
supervisors’ salaries was also created today and is expected to report to the
board on its findings in July. The board’s 7 percent raise will take effect
The board had argued that the hefty 33 percent salary increase was
necessary because the supervisors hadn’t gotten a raise since 2006.
Supervisor Mary Piepho said at a January meeting that if the supervisors had
gotten a 4 percent pay increase every year, it would have amounted to roughly
the same raise.
But opponents of the salary increase, led by public employee
unions, gathered 39,222 signatures for a ballot initiative to overturn the
raise, arguing that county employees had been asked to make sacrifices in
times of financial hardship for the county.
The county had only been offering public employees raises of 2 or
3 percent in the midst of contract negotiations last year.
The board, rather than go through a costly fight for the raise at
the ballot box, opted to repeal it instead and examine other options.
Supervisor Candace Andersen praised the creation of the committee
today as a way to give closure to the contentious issue. She said the
committee has the ability to examine their salaries overall and even has the
ability to lower it if it sees fit.
“It really is a fresh look at compensation,” Andersen said. “It’s
preferably out of our hands moving forward.”
The committee will consist of five members, one each chosen by the
county Civil Grand Jury, the county Taxpayers Association, the East Bay
Leadership Council, the county Central Labor Council and the county Human
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