Fresno County supervisors want to examine how much they pay their top administrators in light of similarly placed officials in other counties who may earn more.
The issue developed Tuesday when the Board of Supervisors approved a raise for the county’s retirement administrator.
Donald Kendig’s salary is below several other retirement administrators in similarly sized and smaller counties. Supervisors voted 5-0 to raise his annual salary from $157,500 to $169,751 beginning next week, a pay hike of about 7.8 percent.
Supervisors, however, didn’t support a raise that would go into effect in July, which would raise Kendig’s salary to $181,751. Instead, they requested a salary study for department heads to examine which ones are below similar counties.
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Kendig oversees a retirement portfolio of $4 billion. In September, his salary went up 5 percent after a group of department heads received raises to make them more equitable to similarly placed officials in other counties.
“It’s imperative we have his expertise and leadership in Fresno,” said Eulalio Gomez, a member of the Fresno County Employees Retirement Administration board. “He’s an administrator we want to keep in Fresno.”
Last February, the retirement board approved a 33.3 percent raise for Kendig that would have raised his salary from $150,000 to $200,000, but that was later rejected by county supervisors who approved a 5 percent raise for Kendig along with several other department heads.
He’s doing a very good job, but we simply can’t give one person a raise of that kind without ramifications throughout the rest of our county.
Brian Pacheco, Fresno County Board of Supervisors’ chairman
Supervisor Nathan Magsig, who serves on the county’s retirement board, said it’s a complex job and that Kendig has the retirement board’s support.
“It’s like drinking from a fire hose the amount of information that’s there, understanding actuaries, being able to look into the future, making sure we outperform all the other funds is critical,” he said.
Supervisor Andreas Borgeas said he examined a salary comparison with other counties’ retirement administrators and noted that salaries of smaller organizations in Merced and Tulare counties were similar, but Fresno County was behind those in Stanislaus, San Joaquin, Sacramento and Kern counties.
But while recognizing the progress made by Kendig and the county’s lower salary, Board Chairman Brian Pacheco recommended against the two-step, 15 percent raise over five months. He said questions of equity would be raised up by other department heads and employee associations.
“He’s doing a very good job, but we simply can’t give one person a raise of that kind without ramifications throughout the rest of our county,” he said.
Paul Nerland, the county’s director of Human Resources, acknowledged that Kendig’s salary is behind others in several comparable and smaller counties. He said the county has a number of differences in other department heads’ salaries compared with other counties and a majority are “behind, and some, significantly.”