FAIRFIELD — Solano County supervisors will get a nifty stocking stuffer for Christmas – a 1.4 percent raise, their first in about six years.
As in many counties, supervisors in Solano County have their salaries tied to that of state Superior Court judges. Supervisors get 53 percent of a judge’s salary.
The state has raised the salaries of judges by 1.4 percent. Thus, county supervisors will see their pay rise by 1.4 percent, from $94,758 to $96,085.
As of Wednesday morning, several supervisors said they hadn’t heard their paychecks would rise.
“That would be complete news to me,” Board Chairwoman Linda Seifert said, adding she has not received a raise since joining the board six years ago.
Supervisor Skip Thomson also hadn’t heard the news. He said a 1.4 percent raise is reasonable.
Thomson in March proposed that supervisors take a pay cut to $85,818 annually, or 48 percent of a judge’s salary. The county had gone through years of budget cuts and possibly faced more. But the economy has improved since then. The county recently agreed to give its union employees a 2 percent raise as of last October and a 2 percent raise in October 2014.
“If we had given them something less than 1.4 percent, I might have an argument,” Thomson said.
Thomson was on the board in 1997 when the Board of Supervisors raised its salary from $34,932 annually to $49,399. He said the job had become full-time and the board wanted a salary that matched the work.
But those public hearing proved contentious. The board in 1997 also decided that supervisors’ salaries would from that point on be set in relationship to Superior Court judge salaries.
“When you’re setting your own salary, it’s always too much from the public perspective,” Thomson said. “That was an administration attempt to take it from the contentious area and make it a straightforward raise.”
The 1.4 increase to judge salaries is retroactive to July 1. County spokesman Steve Pierce said the supervisor raises will not date back to July, but only to Nov. 27, when the county got notified of the judge raises.
Retroactive pay back to July wouldn’t really involve that much money, but would violate a county policy against retroactive raises, Pierce said.
“It’s not really about money, it’s about being fair and equitable and consistent,” Pierce said.
Supervisors Jim Spering and John Vasquez could make a few hundred dollars extra from the raises. They each get longevity pay based on both salary and number of years of service for local governments. Now their base salaries are rising.
Thomson has declined to receive longevity pay. Supervisors Erin Hannigan and Seifert are not eligible for longevity pay.
Pierce noted that supervisors in recent years have reduced their benefits, as has happened for other county employees as well.
It’s the season for pay raises in the public sector. California legislators recently got a raise of nearly $5,000 and Gov. Jerry Brown received a raise of $9,000.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.