Supervisor raise should stop at 4.56 percent
When the board of Supervisors for Tulare County approved the county’s $962.3 million budget Tuesday, included in that action was giving a 5% raise to the county’s auditor-controller who also heads up several other departments.
That raise, however, triggered another raise for the board members — a raise that is automatic and based on a percentage of raises given elected department heads like Woodard, Sheriff Bill Wittman and Tax Collector Roland Hill. Because Rita Woodard was given the 5% hike, the board members are entitled to a 1.25% hike.
On top of that, the board agreed to consider a 5% raise for county Chief Administrative Officer Jean Rousseau, although that would not trigger yet another raise for the board members.
We argue the board should only be given the 4.56% raise that was done on July 30, and not be eligible for any further raises. At least two board members — Pete Vander Poel and Steven Worthley — have indicated they will not accept any raise.
Raises for supervisors have been a sore spot for years. Many, apparently including the board members themselves, are not happy with the formula used to give them raises. That formula is to average any raises given department heads, then divide that by four to come up with what the supervisors will get automatically, although its effective date is deferred a year. Supervisors today earn more than $90,000 a year.
We feel the opportunity to give themselves a raise should occur only once a year. If other department heads are given raises at later times, those raises should not be part of the calculation.
We supported the board’s 4.56% raise and still do based on the financial health of the county. However, we cannot agree to any more raises, especially occurring one small increase at a time. This latest raise amounts to a 5.81% raise this year.
We also agree that the formula and process need to be adjusted. Let’s put any proposal for a raise on the agenda and vote on it on an annual basis.