Political notebook: Borgeas says he'll give back his Fresno County raise

Fresno Bee staffDecember 6, 2013 

Fresno County Supervisor Andreas Borgeas says he will give back the raise he is scheduled to receive to the county.

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Fresno County supervisors are in line to get a 1.4% raise, thanks to a county policy that ties their pay to Superior Court judges. If the judges get raises, so do the supervisors.

That just happened for the judges, according to a memo sent out last week from the Judicial Council of California and the California Judges Association.

Now, Supervisor Andreas Borgeas says he won't take the extra cash. Instead, he plans to contribute it to the county.

Borgeas called the raise "disturbing" in a statement on his decision.

"In our economic condition, I believe it is inappropriate to accept a salary increase when we have yet to establish and implement equitable and competitive salary adjustments for our Fresno County workforce," he said.

He noted that during his Fresno City Council tenure he "voluntarily donated portions of my salary" to the city.

"Even as our economy shows signs of improvement, I think political leaders should still avoid salary increases unless and until a respective workforce first receives appropriate salary adjustments," he wrote.

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. But next year, Borgeas will take over as chairman and earn the higher salary.

The raise would give Borgeas an additional $1,689 next year. That is the money he will donate to the county. The raise will add a little more than $1,500 annually to the standard pay of the other supervisors other than Case, whose raise will be based on her lower salary.

— John Ellis

 

Gerawan resolution sparks board feud

It looked like a slam dunk Tuesday for Fresno County supervisors, who had before them a resolution urging that the votes be counted in a union decertification election at Gerawan Farming.

Supervisor Phil Larson, a Republican, and Perea, a Democrat, brought forth the resolution together.

Silvia Lopez, a 15-year Gerawan employee who has organized the decertification campaign, tearfully commented to board members. It was a perfect kumbaya moment in the making.

The board then proceeded to argue and debate for more than 20 minutes before passing two versions of the resolution.

And, confusing matters more, it appears both resolutions are on their way to the Agriculture Labor Relations Board's Sacramento offices, as well as to Gov. Jerry Brown.

At issue was a 10-word addition Supervisor Debbie Poochigian wanted. Perea said it was a deal killer.

Gerawan workers last month voted to determine if they want to be represented by the United Farm Workers union. But the votes have yet to be counted. The ALRB impounded them pending an investigation into unfair labor practices by Gerawan, one of the largest fruit growers in the San Joaquin Valley.

The crux of the resolution said "we urge those votes be tabulated as a continuation of the civic process, rather than be allowed to languish uncounted."

Then, the concluding paragraph said the board "hereby recognizes December 3, 2013 as 'Valley Farmworkers Let Your Votes Be Counted Day.' "

But Poochigian requested that the final paragraph read that the board "hereby recognizes Fresno County as a right-to-work county and recognizes December 3, 2013 as 'Valley Farmworkers Let Your Votes Be Counted Day.' "

Larson, Borgeas and Case all supported the change. Not Perea.

"I'm not with you on that," he said. "That's an entirely different thing."

The connotation of "right-to-work," the board seemed to agree, was that workers should be able to work and have the choice of whether or not to join a union.

Perea said it changed what the resolution was trying to accomplish — asking that the Gerawan votes be counted — and instead politicized the issue by stating that the board officially recognizes Fresno County as a right-to-work county.

For the record: Fresno County workers are heavily unionized.

Lopez stood silently at the lectern as the debate dragged on.

In the end, the board voted on the resolution with Poochigian's proposed word changes. It passed 4-1, with Perea opposed. Then a second vote was taken on the resolution without the wording changes. It passed 5-0.

— John Ellis

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