County chief executive's raise is excessive
The raise given Tulare County’s Chief Administrative Officer Jean Rousseau last week by the board of supervisors was excessive and certainly is likely to make negotiations with employee bargaining groups more difficult in the future.
The county’s top administrator was given a 10% salary increase. That works out to about $18,000 a year and brings his salary up to $180,000 annually.
When the supervisors approved the county’s 2012-13 budget, it was suggested by Supervisor Phil Cox that Mr. Rousseau be given a raise. All county elected department heads were given raises this year, averaging about 5%. That allowed the supervisors to also get a raise of about 5%. Mr. Rousseau was not included in those salary discussions.
Last week, when the board did discuss the issue, the original proposal of a 5% raise suddenly became 10%. Mr. Cox explained in suggesting the higher raise that the increase would bring Mr. Rousseau’s salary more in line with his counterparts in the Valley. Mr. Cox also pointed out that Mr. Rousseau had not received a raise in four years.
While we could have gone along with a 5% raise since that would have been in line with what others received, we find a 10% raise excessive and probably upsetting to a lot of county employees, some still waiting for a raise. Many county employees were granted raises in the last few months after several years of salary freezes and even furloughs.
However, while the board did do away with the furloughs, not everyone was given a raise.
We are sure they want a raise now.
And, these are still tough economic times with a lot of uncertainty with the state and what it might take away from counties and other local governments.
We do acknowledge that Tulare County has weathered the economic storm much better than other counties in the state. It appears to be on solid financial ground, but it got there by being frugal. A 10% raise is not being frugal.