Inyo Board reviews salaries

inyo_courthouse1.jpgInyo Supervisors wrapped up their long and expensive review of Inyo government salaries when they examined elected officials’ pay this week under a new County policy. They gave only one official’s position a pay raise.

The new policy suggests that the Board of Supervisors review positions, not people, one year before the four-year elected term expires. Any raises or decreases in pay would take effect a year later. So, according to that policy, eight elected officials salaries came before the Board for their review on Tuesday. According to Supervisor Jeff Griffiths, four of those officials asked for raises – the Assessor, Treasurer-Tax Collector, Auditor and Public Guardian. The Board turned them down.

Supervisors looked at a 15-County survey of salaries and found that most of Inyo’s officials were above the average, except for the County Clerk whose pay was below the average. Clerk Kammi Foote specifically told the Board she did not want a pay raise, considering budget deficits ahead. However, the Board brought the Clerk’s pay up to the average in the survey for her position. The Board also asked for more information about the Public Administrator, whose position in Inyo is unique.

Board Chairman Rick Pucci said the goal was to look at the 15-county average and have Inyo’s pay around that. He said, “We want to have some consistency for positions.” Supervisor Griffiths said he hopes this was the “last of looking at all positions in the County. It’s been kind of a painful process,” he said, “because of the budget situation.” That situation is a projected $2 million shortfall next fiscal year and more than twice that amount the following year, mostly due to employee costs.

In spite of a serious deficit, the Board, Griffiths said, made a “conscious decision that we want employees to be fairly compensated to attract good workers and keep qualified employees as we ask them to do more and more.”

Board Chair Pucci thinks the County will be able to cover costs. Griffiths said he hopes the Service Redesign, on which all departments are focused, will produce savings, but he said, “Hard decisions will have to be made. We have to decide on core services and priorities.”

Base salaries of elected officials’ positions:

Treasurer-Tax Collector $7,807.
Sheriff $10,699
Public Administrator $5,271.
District Attorney $11,333.
Clerk-Recorder $7,307 ($7,976 as of 1-6-15)
Coroner $2,040
Auditor $8,587
Assessor $8,587



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3 Responses to Inyo Board reviews salaries

  1. Tinner February 20, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

    Inyo CITIZENS should be doing the reviewing.

  2. Inyoite February 21, 2014 at 9:00 am #

    I wonder if the 15 county survey showing the salaries and averages for these positions is available to the public. It apparently was used when making the decision about salary increases and it sounds like one or more of the elected officials may be asking for more than the average pay in the near future. I am happy that the Board has taken the fiscally conservative action of only giving a raise to the one position that was below the average. The Public Administrator’s salary is way below the others. Hopefully that position’s salary will be adjusted to be fair.

    • Charles James February 22, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

      The salary surveys are available under the Agenda and Supporting Documentation for February 18, 2014 ( beginning on page 115 (Agenda Item #17: Office of Treasurer/Tax Collector).

      Pages 119 and 120 have the survey information which the Supervisors were relying upon during the meeting. The surveys are redundantly shown under each of the agenda items for each salary adjustment request that appeared before the board (as is the Board Policy on Elected Officials Salary Adjustment Policy).

      I do not recall a rationale being provided for why these particular 15 counties were chosen for averaging of officials salaries, which does not mean there isn’t one and that I simply missed it. Why was the number of 15 counties the magical number chosen to average rather say the magic number of 10, or even less limited to counties that are at least roughly similar in population to Inyo County? I’m sure someone has the answer and it would be interesting to hear it.

      For example, why was Humboldt County included in the 15-county salary survey and it ranks #35 out of 58 CA counties with a population that is 7 times larger at 134,827 than the population of Inyo County at 18,495 ranked at #52. Also included was Mendocino County which ranked #38 with a population of 87,428, which is 4.7 times larger than that of Inyo County.

      Again there may be a perfectly good reason why some counties were included and others not; perhaps applicable comparisons to positions were not possible. The most important concern would be if the amount of compensation were skewed higher rather than lower by which counties were included and which were not…and why. Unfortunately I don’t have the information at hand to make that determination.

      The county supervisors are being zealous in their attempt at “fairness” and to bring some uniformity and consistency to the process of compensation for county employees and elected officials. It does make projecting future spending needed for budget planning easier, but at the same time their actions have also significantly added to the “structural deficit” issue with no explanations on how it is going to be addressed. Is “Service Redesign” the only solution really on the table?

      While the supervisors should be applauded for taking on some very difficult issues that they know will be politically unpopular rather than kicking them down the road; they also need to provide more clarity on what is behind their decisions, both as a group and individually. This isn’t a question of “where’s the beef?” as much as “why is the beef costing so much… and more importantly, how is it going to be paid for?”


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