Saturday, March 28, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

How important is county’s seat-time bonus

faison column sig

By
From page A8 | February 02, 2014 |

Solano County offers its employees various forms of compensation and benefits, as all government operations do. Many of these incentives extend to elected members of the Board of Supervisors. One of those perks is called longevity pay.

This is pay that’s not based on performance. Longevity pay is a bonus that our supervisors receive based simply on how many years they have served in the public sector. If you’re alive, and in office, you get it. You get more the longer you live and remain in office.

Three county supervisors qualify for this “I’m here” bonus: Skip Thomson, Jim Spering and John Vasquez. Thomson does not accept his time-in-service bonus – nearly $12,000 a year – but he’s not suffering based on his public pension. Spering and Vasquez do accept the bonus, which amounts to more than $9,400 a year for Spering and nearly $4,400 for Vasquez.

It costs the county some $3 million or so of its $917 million budget. That’s a pretty small piece of the budget pie, and the portion of the slice that’s paid to members of the Board of Supervisors is a minute share of the total. It’s a larger share, however, of the low six figures in total compensation for both Spering and Vasquez.

The board and county staff consider longevity pay a key recruitment and retention tool.

Longevity pay remained a recruitment and retention tool during the meltdown of the Great Recession as the county shed hundreds of positions to help close a persistent multimillion-dollar gap in the general fund. It was never able to fully stop the financial hemorrhaging and continues to bleed from its pre-recession savings to pay the bills.

Here’s how the county describes its benefits when it’s seeking applicants for new or vacant positions. I quote from the posting for an assistant director of human resources, recruitment for which closed in early January.

The excellent benefits package includes:

  • Longevity Pay – Candidates with prior employment in a California city, county or special district will receive an additional 2.5 percent of pay with 10 years of service, increasing incrementally at 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 years of service up to a 15 percent maximum.

Please note that longevity pay is the first perk listed, before everything else, including details of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System plan.

County supervisors had an opportunity in February 2012 to eliminate longevity pay for themselves. They chose not to do so. No surprise there.

If we accept the argument that longevity pay is a vital recruitment and retention tool to convince people to work in Solano County government, how do we justify it for members of the Board of Supervisors?

There are contests heating up for both the District 3 and District 4 seats held by Spering and Vasquez, respectively. Spering to date has one announced challenger, Fairfield City Councilwoman Pam Bertani. Vasquez has four announced challengers: Dixon City Councilman Thom Bogue and Vacaville residents Gerald Clift, Tracy Mitchell and Eugene Ray.

Are we to believe these challengers want to unseat the incumbents so they can have a crack at longevity pay if elected in June? Not likely.

On the flip side, are we to believe that longevity pay was the deciding factor in the decisions of both Spering and Vasquez to seek re-election? I don’t recall seeing that in either man’s campaign announcements. I’ll keep a close eye on the District 3 mailers from Spering – my county supervisor – to see if he mentions the vital importance of his career government bonus. He didn’t do so in the piece that landed in my mailbox this week, but we’re early in the campaign. Perhaps readers in Vacaville and Dixon can let me know if Vasquez mentions the critical importance of his fill-the-seat bonus.

Neither man will, because it’s not that important.

Bottom line: It’s safe to say that longevity pay does not serve as a recruitment or retention tool for members of the Board of Supervisors. They should get rid of it and move on with the business of running our county government and, of course, seeking re-election.

Reach Managing Editor Glen Faison at 427-6925 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GlenFaison.

Glen Faison

Glen Faison

Glen Faison joined the Daily Republic as managing editor in September 2009. He previously worked as a reporter and editor for daily and weekly newspapers in the San Joaquin Valley for 20-plus years. His experience includes time as editor of the Golden Eagle, a military paper serving the Lemoore Naval Air Station. He graduated from Fresno State University with a bachelor's degree in journalism and bleeds Bulldogs red. He is an avid Washington Redskins fan, and attended the 1988 NFC Championship Game against the Minnesota Vikings at RFK Stadium. He married his wife, Jill, in 2005, and has three children: Courtni, Tyler and Hayli.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 6 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • FDCFebruary 02, 2014 - 6:54 am

    You are right on, Glen. I would go further and rather than eliminate longevity pay, make it the reverse: instead of the 2.5 percent increase, make it a 2.5 percent DECREASE. Career politicians are ruining this country at every level.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The MisterFebruary 02, 2014 - 7:45 am

    We put these crooks in charge of nearly a BILLION dollar annual budget? Of course that amount doesn't include the cities within the county... just the county government itself. I mean REALLY? What can they spend that much money on? County roads (you can only get from Dixon to Vallejo on one road... and it's not a county road), the Sheriff's office for catching and holding crooks (oops, more crooks!), funding welfare that Obama doesn't pay for, funding the county courts. Really? A BILLION (with a B) dollars each year... increasing each year? Those tax-payer watchdog groups have their work cut out for them.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • B. ThiemerFebruary 02, 2014 - 8:47 am

    I would take it one step further and ask why are the supervisors full time salaried employees at all?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • A Different PerspectiveFebruary 02, 2014 - 4:30 pm

    It's a full-time job.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • George Guynn, JrFebruary 02, 2014 - 10:46 am

    Good article Glen. I also agree with the comments above. As a matter of fact, I have said the same things during Public Comments and the Sups just look at me and never say a word in reply. Spering has even said that he isn't giving up longevity pay and that voters can get rid of him if they don't agree come election time. Well, election time is coming up and he and Vasquez, who has a $48K delinquent property tax bill, need to go for this and many other reasons.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • DReaderFebruary 02, 2014 - 12:53 pm

    So when are our supervisors going to realize that being reelected IS their longevity bonus? It's good that someone without the sense of entitlement that Spering has is challenging him in the next election.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Fraisure Smith hearing delayed twice Friday

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 14 Comments | Gallery

 
Luncheon honors women for their work to help others

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Sheepdogs, handlers flock to Rio Vista for trials

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Solano Rotary clubs honor top firefighters from across county

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Eatery to host event to support child with cancer

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3

 
Project begins to brighten downtown Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 19 Comments | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: March 26, 2016

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

Suisun police log: March 26, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Going home to mother

By Murray Bass | From Page: B10, 2 Comments

 
.

US / World

 
Jury says Silicon Valley firm did not discriminate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Public defender: San Francisco jail inmates forced to fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Gov. Brown signs $1 billion water plan for dry California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Fetus debate looms following charges in womb-cutting case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

NY mayor: Someone may have ‘inappropriately’ tapped gas line

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Feds: Baltimore jail illegally keeping juveniles in solitary

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Autopsies determine children found in freezer were slain

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
 
Nelson set to return to role as Coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
‘Sopranos’ star’s apartment destroyed by blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Pilot who scared passengers sues airline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
‘Mad Men’ costumes, props head to Smithsonian

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

US economy showing signs of durability

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

 
Mexico City businesses cite losses during Bond filming

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
German airline could face ‘unlimited’ damages for Alps crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Co-pilot appeared healthy, but may have hidden illness

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
About 4,000 fishermen stranded on Indonesian islands

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Warships move in key strait as airstrikes widen in Yemen

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Iran says nuke talks focused despite Yemen crisis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned by Italy high court

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
At least 9 dead as militants attack hotel in Somali capital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Living

Books as decor: Versatile but meaningful design elements

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR1Comments are off for this post | Gallery

 
Community Calendar: March 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Today in History: March 28, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes: March 28, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

My elderly mother is so stingy I’m finding excuses not to visit her

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B6

 
The newest fitness trend: Mixing it up

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

.

Entertainment

Larry David Broadway role handed to Jason Alexander

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
‘Stomp’ stopped by NYC blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Mannequin museum show hits New York

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

‘Teen Mom’ star charged in picture posting case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
People: Zane Malik

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

 
Curry, Thompson lead Warriors in rout over Grizzlies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Evans helps desperate Pelicans end skid vs. Kings, 102-88

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Ranuado goes 6 for Rangers’ but A’s rally for 7-6 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Notre Dame beats Stanford women 81-60, advances to Elite Eight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Logano wins Martinsville pole; Elliott to start 27th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

A-Rod’s cousin pleads guilty in Florida steroids case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Durant to have another surgery, miss rest of season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Chicago rooftop owner charged with trying to defraud Cubs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Gift returns: Sterling wife wants house, $1 million

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Shaq acknowledges regret about decision to leave Magic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NASCAR topic: Cheating with tire pressure, or just hot air?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Hot Rod Hundley, former NBA player and Jazz announcer, dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Area resident Jimmy Walker takes lead in Texas Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for March 28, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

.

Home Seller 3/28/2015

Books as decor: Versatile but meaningful design elements

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR1Comments are off for this post | Gallery

Real estate transactions for March 28, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2