A RESOLUTION ELIMINATING LONGEVITIES for Department Managers and setting a single pay rate for each position was discussed at the Sierra County Board of Supervisors’ meeting in Loyalton on January 17th.Supervisor Lee Adams stated this was an item given to the finance committee. He said the salary system rewards County employees but doesn’t reward employees coming from outside the County as department managers, adding it could cause the County some liability. The Committee wanted to work on this during a non-election year. Adams stated in looking at the department manager’s salary table there was no easy way to do this except to lock everybody into the longevity 5 pay scale. The Committee thought this seemed a reasonable alternative, adding some will get a 5% bump, 10% bump, or 15% bump. Adams said the finance committee talked about what to do with the employee who was already capped out and decided to give them a 5% bump. Adams stated if adopted no employee would get longevities again. The only raises will be cost of living increases or raises from the Board. He said if a department head leaves and they appoint a county employee their longevities will go away and they will only get the salary for the office. Adams stated the idea was not to punish anybody but also not to break the bank. Sierra County Auditor Van Maddox said this is a savings over the current system, adding a $30,000 savings over the next decade. He stated management gave up 4% of their pay and are almost 24% below what the consumer price index was 10 years ago when they got the last COLA. Maddox said this doesn’t come anywhere close to closing that gap but it solves some problems he has been pointing out for years. Personally, he stated he would be better off with the current system but he still thinks it’s time to fix this especially for elected and start moving forward. Supervisor Scott Schlefstein didn’t understand why elected and non-elected were in the same basket. Adams stated they could have ignored them but didn’t want to keep them on the odd system and wanted to treat everyone the same. He added for consistency and morale sake, it seemed the right thing to do. Sierra County Chief Probation Officer Jeff Bosworth stated the current system punishes people from coming from the outside. Other department managers in the audience were asked what they thought. Many didn’t have a strong opinion one way or another and some had no comment. Schleftstein felt it seemed like they were constantly taking away, but added the public has complained about longevities for years. Schlefstein wanted to take one agenda item, as it applies to these types of topics, at a time and not assume because one is favored the others are and because there weren’t many objections to the changes, Schlefstein made the motion to approve the resolution. Motion passed unanimously except for Supervisor Paul Roen who was absent the entire meeting.
Supervisors approved the change in the compensation for Department Heads affective January 25, 2017 as follows:
Assessor $9,690.17 monthly
Auditor Controller/Treasurer - Tax Collector $11,647.00 monthly Chief Probation Officer $9,690.17 monthly
Clerk-Recorder $9,690.17 monthly
District Attorney $11,647.00 monthly
Health and Human Services to be determined at hire Sheriff-Coroner $11,647.00 monthly
Transportation and Planning Director $12,840.12 monthly
Those benefit changes relating to health insurance shall be the same as enumerated in the MOU for the Miscellaneous Unit of represented employees covering the 2017 thru 2020 calendar years. All other befits shall remain as listed in Resolution 2012-126 except for longevities.
COMPENSATION FOR COUNTY SUPERVISORS was discussed in Loyalton on January 17th at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting. Supervisor Lee Adams said the finance committee looked at this as well to delete the idea of longevities for supervisors. He stated looking at a current chart, two supervisors have no longevity, two supervisors have one longevity and one supervisor has three longevities. The committee came up with locking the supervisors into the longevity 3 period. With this two supervisors would get 3 longevities, two supervisors would get two longevities, one supervisor would be Y rated and get a 5% bump and go to longevity 4 until that position is vacant and then it would go back to longevity 3. Adams said just like department managers the board’s salary would be set every time the board takes action. He stated County Counsel David Prentice indicated legislature has taken action where they can’t put salaries on autopilot, they have to take public action before setting salaries. Adams stated he had more trouble with this in that he is an incumbent and doesn’t know what he is worth or what anyone else is worth adding it is only a starting point for discussion. He added some benefit more than others, but all are locked into equal pay. Supervisor Scott Schlefstein was in full agreement with equal pay, but felt the base amount was unacceptable. He would be looking at an increase of $294.61 and after taxes it would amount to $100 and change. He said 5% wouldn’t add up to much. Schlefstein felt if it was increased $500 now and $500 down the road, it amounted to almost exactly 18% of the superior court judge’s salary, which was codified as the original intent. He stated if they went with the 18% of the superior court judge’s salary and take away the longevities, he’d be ok with it. Supervisor Peter Huebner thought they would attract more candidates if the salaries were higher. He said he was in his 5th term and knew the workload going in but felt it was time to change to 18% of the judge’s salary. Schlefstein added county employees just lost health insurance premiums which was close to $500, adding if you keep adding up the costs its actually a decrease. He said it was $298 difference, adding they weren’t breaking any banks here.
Schlefstein made motion but to change to the 18%, which amounts to $34,490.16 annually. Every time the judge’s salary increases the board can change, but they need to bring it back to be voted on in a public meeting. County Counsel felt this was a substantial change to the ordinance, and recommended bringing it back to the next meeting. Since the ordinance was going to be modified, Huebner wanted to discuss the $100/month stipend for the Board Chair. He said it had been set at $100 for the last 20 years. Schlefstein agreed and said the workload for the Board Chair is far beyond $100 extra a month. Huebner felt $200 was not too much to ask. Adams was not opposed, but has difficulty with what anyone is worth. He told the Board not to take his vote in opposition of what was being done, but at the same time he always looks at how they are treating others, and was having difficulties doing one thing for himself and another thing for others. Schlefstein said it was only about a $205 difference from what the finance committee had proposed. All voted in favor except Adams and Supervisor Paul Roen who was absent the entire meeting.