Fresno County supervisors have given orders this year to hold the line on rank-and-file salaries that already have been reduced in the wake of the Great Recession.
Now, those same supervisors are in line for a modest pay increase.
County policy ties the pay of supervisors to Superior Court judges. If the judges get raises, so do the supervisors.
Those judges are getting a 1.4% pay increase, according to a memo sent out last week from the Judicial Council of California and the California Judges Association.
"It's just incredible that they'd take another raise before they'd invest in Fresno," said Alysia Bonner, a county employee and Region 4 vice president for SEIU Local 521, which represents more than 4,000 county workers.
"They constantly talk about cutting services and tightening belts, but they don't have any trouble taking more money for doing less. They are part-time workers. The rest of us work for a living."
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But at least two supervisors don't seem very happy about the raise.
"I know about it and I think it's ridiculous," Supervisor Phil Larson said.
Supervisor Andreas Borgeas said the timing was terrible.
"We need to first establish a plan for salary equity within our county workforce," he said.
Borgeas said supervisors are concerned that Fresno County is losing "talent and important personnel. We have already engaged in comprehensive salary discussions regarding all segments of the county workforce in hopes of achieving equity and market competitiveness."
Faced with fallout from the nation's severe economic downturn, supervisors had imposed pay reductions on rank-and-file employees of between 2% and 9%. This year, board member declined to restore those cuts, even as they restored pay reductions they had voluntarily taken.
Other than Supervisor Judy Case, who voluntarily continued a 7% pay cut and makes $99,463, supervisors make $107,273 annually. As board chairman, Henry R. Perea makes $120,682. Next year, Borgeas will take over as chair and earn the higher salary.
The raise would give the board chair an additional $1,689 per year, and add a little more than $1,500 annually to the standard pay of the other supervisors other than Case.
But the Judicial Council of California/California Judges Association memo contains an even bigger nugget -- the possibility of a second pay increase either next year or the year after that could be as high as 4.5%.
The memo says state employee bargaining groups are negotiating salary-increase agreements with Gov. Jerry Brown's administration, and that "no later" than the 2015-16 fiscal year, the additional raise could come.
That raise would be passed along to Fresno County supervisors.
Almost 20 years ago, the supervisors tied their pay to judges. Other than the board chair, the amount was set at 60% of judges' pay.
Supervisor Debbie Poochigian declined to comment on the raise. Case and Perea did not return phone calls Monday seeking comment.
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