MARTINEZ (BCN) — After an outcry from public employee unions over a proposed salary hike for Contra Costa County supervisors last fall, the Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to accept a smaller raise recommended by an ad hoc committee last month.
In June, the ad hoc committee on supervisors’ compensation recommended a 12 percent pay increase spread out over three years. That raise is in addition to a 7 percent pay increase the board already approved in
Supervisors initially voted in November to give themselves a 33 percent raise, which would have increased their salary from $97,483 to $129,227 per year, but later repealed the decision after public employee unions launched a referendum petition to reverse the vote.
Board members currently receive a base salary of $104,307. With the 12 percent raise, their base salary will be $116,840.
The board was initially expected to vote on the recommendations at its meeting on July 7, but that vote was delayed by concerns over a recommendation to exclude mileage reimbursement for travel within the county.
Some supervisors have larger districts or have to drive farther to get to meetings, Supervisor Mary Piepho said.
Piepho said that while the committee did a good job looking at policies in different counties, there was “no consideration given to existing practice or district size” within Contra Costa County.
Piepho said she spends most of her time driving from meeting to meeting.
“My office is my car,” she said.
Supervisor Karen Mitchoff echoed those concerns and said she spent more time driving her personal car for professional reasons than for her own use.
Ultimately the board voted to accept the report and related salary recommendations with an amendment to allow mileage reimbursement for travel outside of a supervisor’s district.
Over the course of several months, the ad hoc committee determined the supervisors’ total compensation package, selected peer counties and then adjusted for the cost of living between counties to determine the supervisors’ salaries, according to committee facilitator Steve Weir.
Based on comparable counties, the committee recommended bringing the supervisors’ salaries in line with the 37.5 percentile of supervisors’ salaries in peer counties, which is in line with the compensation level of county employees.
Committee co-chair Margaret Eychner of the Contra Costa County Taxpayers’ Association said the board should bring supervisors’ total compensation to the 50 percentile, or median, of peer counties if they can also bring public employee union pay to the same level.
The recommendations also include tying any reductions in pay for public employee unions to reductions in the supervisors’ own salaries.
The committee recommended evaluating supervisors’ salaries every three years and suggested that the board establish an employment compensation committee to review not only supervisors’ salaries, but all county elected officials.