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Riverside County supervisors grant themselves a pay raise

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014
Issue 32, Volume 18.

RIVERSIDE - Riverside County supervisors today tentatively granted themselves a roughly 3 percent annual increase in salary.

"The state constitution says we have to vote on our own salary, as uncomfortable as that is," said Supervisor John Benoit, prior to joining Supervisors Marion Ashley and John Tavaglione in supporting the pay increases, which will cost the county an additional $17,014 in the current fiscal year.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff Stone was absent from the meeting. Supervisor Kevin Jeffries voted against the proposal, citing the same reasons he did in voting against a separate Department of Human Resources recommendation that the board ratify compensation hikes averaging 16 percent for five elected officials.

The board also approved that proposal today in a 3-1 vote. However, neither it nor the supervisors' pay raises will be formally adopted until another public hearing is held, after the board returns from its August recess.

Supervisors' salaries are determined using a formula established by a Blue Ribbon Salary Review Committee in 1998. Under the formula, board members are to earn base compensation that's 80 percent of the total paid to a Superior Court judge.

According to Department of Human Resources Director Mike Stock, the last time board members' salaries were collectively adjusted was in July 2007, just Advertisement
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before the Great Recession. In June 2009, at the deepest point of the economic trough, when the county's budget was nearly $50 million in the red, Supervisor Marion Ashley and the late Supervisor Roy Wilson voluntarily took 10 percent pay cuts.

All of the supervisors currently collect $143,031 a year.

"County representatives should not receive a king's ransom," said Temecula resident Paul Jacobs, a local government watchdog and frequent speaker at board meetings.

"It's an affront to the hard-working residents you purport to serve, whose median income is around $50,000 a year. The current county compensation scheme is overly generous and out of alignment."

Benoit and Supervisor John Tavaglione defended their salaries -- and the need for raises.

"This is a full-time job. It's unlike anything I've ever had," Benoit said. "I'm not complaining. But this is not something you can do part-time, like with a school board or city council position. It's a very big full-time job."

Tavaglione -- who has been on the board more than 20 years, longer than any of his colleagues -- characterized his government service as a "career."

"Increases are the right thing to do here," Tavaglione said.

If the 3.2 percent salary increases are adopted in September, the supervisors will each make $147,688 a year.



Comment Profile ImageTax Payer
Comment #1 | Wednesday, Aug 6, 2014 at 10:01 am
WHHAAA I too work FULL TIME for a US Gov. agency. We had a 4 year wage freeze, that's no pay increases for FOUR YEARS. Last pay period we got a 1.5% raise and my salery is about $100,00.00 less than theirs. Let them suck it up and live within their budgets. They knew what the job intailed and they took it anyway, probably because they also knew they were in control of their own wages. NO ONE should be in control of their own wages because allows GREAD to take over.
Comment Profile ImageReality Checker
Comment #2 | Wednesday, Aug 6, 2014 at 12:31 pm
If the last time they got a raise was in 2007 like they claim, then a 3.4% increase isnt a real money grab in the scheme of things. The problem is they already make too much. This doesnt count all their perks either, like cars, car allowances, perdiem, etc. I think we need to push a measure for, and put on the ballot, a requirement that all government salaried positions that are compensated more than 75k need to have increases approved by the voters at the ballot box. That way no one can vote themselves an increase based on their own personal desires. They should have to put their raise on the ballot and leave anything over 1% every two years up to the voters that pay it.
Comment Profile ImageAnother Tax payer
Comment #3 | Wednesday, Aug 6, 2014 at 2:58 pm
I think they have a very important job and deserve a raise.Looks like they haven't had one since 2007 I think everyone deserves a raise after these tough times. They are also being proactive in the county and are the future of our quality of life here. I say pay them. If you don't like then go to school and become a county supervisor.We all have a choice to pick our careers. If its money you are looking for,then find a job or career that pays more. simple
Comment Profile ImageFiscal Conservatives LOL
Comment #4 | Wednesday, Aug 6, 2014 at 7:46 pm
GOP = Greedy Old Politicians in Riverside County. Being a supervisor is not a full-time job, it is an elected position to serve the public. RivCo Supes now get more compensation than Orange County Supervisors where the median income is $30,000 higher than Riverside County where the economic recovery has struggled as the Supervisors lavish gifts of discounted fees to developers and pay raises for themselves and their cronies. When the Supes give themselves a raise, they have to pay the elected positions that are real full-time jobs that much more. Public Service looks more like Self Service in RivCo.
Comment Profile ImagePatricia C
Comment #5 | Thursday, Aug 7, 2014 at 11:05 am
As usual, Riverside County citizens will grumble about this a little -- a very little -- and then they will roll over and take another one in the backside from the Riverside County board of supervisors being led by criminal-in-command Jeff Stone. In addition to their self-granted exorbitant salary they add $500,000 annually in slush fund money to their district budgets (, and when a grand jury calls them out they use more tax-payer money to buy an official response letting them off the hook. When will you people stand up to this monstrosity? Wanna know what else your county officials are up to? Check this out:
Comment Profile ImagePaul Jacobs
Comment #6 | Thursday, Aug 7, 2014 at 3:36 pm
Apparently some leaving comments don't feel that they are taxed enough already and are fine with politicians putting themselves at the head of the line of the public trough. Oh and the poor, overworked "full-time" county supervisors are taking the next 4 weeks off!

My comments to the Board:

My name is Paul Jacobs, a retired civil servant, and I am acutely aware of the difference between a public employee and an elected public servant. Unfortunately, Riverside County does not seem to distinguish a difference between the two.

A government employee earns a paycheck while a public servant receives compensation in the form of a stipend. When Supervisor Stone was a councilman in Temecula, I think the stipend was $600 per month. The pay raise he enjoyed in compensation from city councilman to county supervisor was substantial, to say the least.

Supervisors Benoit and Jeffries actually enjoyed a significant bump in income when they demoted from the state Assembly to county government.

Government workers don’t have the luxury of establishing their own salaries and benefits. Just because this region is called the Inland Empire doesn’t mean our county representatives should receive a king’ ransom.

Respectfully, the compensation you receive is an affront to the hard-working constituents you were elected to represent.

The median annual income for salaried workers in Riverside County is close to $50,000. Serving in the state legislature pays around $100,000 per year so the equitable amount County supervisors should receive is around $70,000. The current county compensation scheme is overly generous and out of alignment with other political positions in government.

The current ordinance has a sunset clause that I believe should remain in effect.

If this Board is going to revisit Ordinance 780, then it should only be to lower supervisory compensation closer to the median income of your constituents so that you may have a better fiscal perspective of the people you were elected to serve.

This Board has approved Force Account Construction projects to avoid paying prevailing wages. Conversely, members of this Board are compensated at nearly three times the income of your average constituent.

I commend Supervisor Jeffries for declining the County’s retirement package. He sets a good example of walking the talk of a fiscal conservative.

On behalf of County taxpayers, I respectfully request you deny the motion to amend Ordinance 780 to remove the sunset clause. Any adjustment in Board compensation should be downward to the $70,000 level.
Comment Profile ImageLee Chew
Comment #7 | Friday, Aug 8, 2014 at 6:53 am
I agree 100% with comment #3

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Valley News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.


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