Fresno County supervisors are taking steps to plug the county's "brain drain" and on Tuesday will consider a plan to raise the salaries of many top management employees.
Managers' pay has not kept pace with managers in other comparable counties and even smaller neighboring counties, hurting the county's ability to recruit top job candidates, officials say.
A study compared salaries for top managers in other counties and found Fresno County salaries lacking. So the county is proposing a plan to provide pay raises to 10 department heads, ranging from 3.2% for the Agricultural Commissioner to 19.5% for the County Administrative Officer.
Fresno County Board of Supervisors' Chairman Andreas Borgeas said he could agree with some of the proposed raises but said larger ones need to be phased in.
"I am generally supportive of efforts to make Fresno County more competitive in order to attract and retain talent," he said Friday. "But whatever we do needs to be done for the county across-the-board and in a way where salary adjustments can be phased in an equitable manner."
Borgeas suggests a rollout phased in over time for some of the larger raises.
Meanwhile, representatives of the largest employee negotiating unit expressed anger at the salary hike proposal.
"Once again, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors has decided to reward those at the top while refusing to invest in quality front line services," Alysia Bonner, Service Employees International Union Local 521 regional vice president, said in a prepared statement.
She said the pay raise for County Administrative Officer John Navarrette alone — $34,831 — is larger than what many Fresno County employees earn annually.
"The issue is fairness and equity," she said.
According to a recent salary survey, Bonner said, many Fresno County employees are earning 30% to 45% less than counterparts in comparable counties.
Supervisor Phil Larson said he would discuss the issue Tuesday but wouldn't comment further Friday other than to say that the county was experiencing "a serious brain drain." No other supervisors were available Friday.
Staff writer Brianna Vaccari contributed to this report. The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6166, firstname.lastname@example.org or @beebenjamin on Twitter.