The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors Tuesday rescinded a self-approved 33 percent pay raise – but put off further discussion of options for a salary increase based on their position and responsibility until their next meeting Jan. 20.
Several public employees groups had expressed public outrage with the decision when it was initially approved last November. Municipal employees collected 39,222 signatures – beyond the 25,500 signatures needed to bring the issue to referendum – and lustily vowed to fight the increase for the county’s governing board while workers were being denied the same.
Had it been approved the adjustment would have meant a bump in pay from $97,483 to $129,227 for each of the five supervisors. Supervisor Candace Andersen cast the only no vote.
At Tuesday’s meeting, supervisors Mary Piepho and Karen Mitchoff said the issue had been inflamed by unnecessary rhetoric by opposition leaders and the board’s own failure to portray the increase for what it was – a mandated increase based on an established metric for officials performing the same job at the same level as other state officials with the same responsibilities.
The supervisors repealed their raise in an unanimous vote, but will reconsider options for giving themselves some form of increase when they vote to give the repeal final approval next week.
The ordinance would have tied the supervisors’ pay to state judgeships, a metric that also drew criticism from workers groups and citizens, but which supervisors argued was an accepted, standard practice in California.
Public Employees Union Local 1 general manager Peter Nguyen called Tuesday’s move a step forward but noted it does not heal the obvious tension between public employees and the supervisors – tensions the supervisors noted themselves.
“We’re both going to have to work very hard to repair those relationships,” Mitchoff said.
Mitchoff, who said she does not have time to read social media, decried what she said was the rancor and personal innuendo raised on the medium in the days following the pay hike controversy.
Mitchoff went on to say that while she respected the petition drive effort she did not feel it representative of how the majority of constituents felt as it represented about four percent of constituents living in Contra Costa County.