Solano County continues to make small yet important cuts in employee costs to balance its books, but the most significant cuts have yet to materialize.
No, we’re not talking about cuts either agreed upon or imposed on the county’s largest employee group, Service Employees International Union Local 1021, some 1,600 members strong. Rather, we’re talking about cuts to the one employee group that answers directly to the voting public: the Solano County Board of Supervisors, which is five members strong.
Those five members have accomplished something much larger employee groups have failed to accomplish; they have protected both their numbers and the lion’s share of their pay.
We have five Board of Supervisors districts so we must have five supervisors. Nothing, however, requires that our elected supervisors be spared the budget ax.
The board majority was late in answering our repeated calls to show leadership and cut their own pay while cutting the pay of those around them. Our supervisors opted in June, on a split vote, to take a 10-percent cut in overall compensation, and gave themselves latitude to determine how they would meet that cut.
Base compensation of nearly $95,000 a year, however, remains intact.
The board last month imposed a contract with significant cuts on the Solano County Probation Peace Officer Association for bargaining units representing probation employees and supervisors. The move includes 152 probation workers and will save the county up to $1.3 million annually, with $997,138 in general fund savings.
That’s a drop in the bucket for the county’s general fund, which maintains a persistent year-to-year structural deficit of some $18 million to $20 million, depending on when the budget temperature is taken.
It is past time that Solano County cut base pay for members of the Board of Supervisors to $75,000. It is well over a year since we first demanded they show leadership and share in the pain of salary reductions. It is now time for this reduction to be imposed. Seems like fair play, but unlike the county employees there is no process for this to happen beyond the ballot box.
Arrogance of power is prevalent at all level of politics from Washington to Sacramento to Solano. To demand of others what you fail to demand of yourself is just as wrong no matter what level of governance. Arrogance of power leads to failure and eventual change sooner or later.
Our elected supervisors need to do what is right, and do it now.