County now more transparent with raise issue
This month, the county Board of Supervisors make some amendments to how raises are given to supervisors, and while the process will now be much more transparent, we doubt it will end the controversy any time such raises are given.
However, we have to commend the board for the amendments.
The changes are simple enough, but should end what many considered a stealth approach to board members giving themselves raises. In the past, the supervisors got a percentage of the raises given all elected officials in the county. This year, that raise amounted to 5 percent. The amendments do not change that part of the process.
However, in the past, their raise was a consent item on the agenda — a matter voted upon along with several other agenda items — and often flew under the radar. There can be as many as 30 consent items on a single agenda.
The new process requires that the raise now be put as an action item on the agenda. That means it must be open for discussion and voted on as a separate, single item. It cannot fly under the radar any longer.
What we really like about the new process is that a raise can only be given once in a year. Last year, raises for the other elected officials in the county were given at different times, with one occurring after the board had already approved its own raise. That meant the supervisors got one raise, then another when the county tax collector was given a substantial raise after July 1. Under the new ordinance, the board can act on their own raise just once, even though the other elected officials could get raises at different times of the year.
It is also a good step to have the raise only decided when the county approves its budget in July, so residents will always know at what time of the year the matter will be up for approval.
There are many residents in the county who will still feel board members do not deserve a raise, but at least with the matter now being placed as a separate items on the agenda, residents will have notice so they can speak out — pro or con.