Supervisors unanimously vote to rescind the 33-percent salary hike they gave themselves

Supervisors unanimously vote to rescind the 33-percent they gave themselves
(From left to right) John Gioia (District 1); Marcy Piepho (D3); Karen Mitchoff (D4); Federal Glover (D5); Candace Andersen (D2).

Looks like the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors won’t be giving themselves a 33-percent raise, after all.

In the first of two required votes, the supervisors on Tuesday agreed to rescind the salary increase they had voted in favor of last year that would have boosted their annual salaries from $97,476 to $129,216, effective this month. The second vote, set for next week, is needed to officially rescind the pay raise.

The supes’ decision came after a wave of opposition from county employees and citizens, who responded by collecting enough signatures from voters for a ballot measure aimed at repealing the raise.

The supervisors, who voted 4-1 for the 33-percent increase in October, with Supervisor Candace Andersen opposing, offered two main reasons for the pay raise. One is that supervisor salaries had not been raised since 2007 and are among the state’s lowest for urban counties. The other is that supervisors did not want to have to vote on their own salaries anymore, so they fixed supervisor salaries at 70-percent of what Superior Court judges make. Judges salaries are determined by the Legislature.

Above is a chart from a board agenda item showing how Contra Costa supervisors are paid comparing to other urban counties.

Those reasons did little to convince outraged unions representing county employees. They had negotiated far lower salary increases last year and this year and were still negotiating for some employees.

Many taxpayers weren’t pleased, either. On Jan. 2,  unions petitioned to repeal the raise at the ballot box and collected more than 39,000 signatures from voters. The signatures are still in the process of being verified by the Elections office.

“Many people went out of their way to come to our office to sign and obtain petitions,”  said Alex Aliferis, executive director of Contra Costa County Taxpayers Association, in a statement.

The rescinding of the 33-percent increase won’t mean the Board of Supervisors won’t get some kind of raise. The board is expected to discuss at future meetings “how to proceed on a salary adjustment.”