The 26 percent salary hike will be split over the next three years
NORTH COUNTY — The last item on the agenda for the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, May 16, was a topic of great interest to the community: It was an ordinance amending Section 2.48.095 of the County Code in regard to proposed compensation increases for the Board of Supervisors.
County Human Resources Director Tami Douglas-Schatz, gave a presentation on the topic. The board was presented with the item in February of this year for a raise of 25 percent above the legislative assistant position. The board rejected the recommendation, and Douglas-Schatz was asked to return with a new method for setting board pay.
The Board of Supervisors’ last pay increase was in July 2021. It was proposed at the May 16 meeting that the board’s salaries be tied to Superior Court judge salaries.
Currently, the five members of the Board of Supervisors make close to $90,000 yearly. By 2025, they will be making around $114,000 a year.
“Just a little more background on the issues that we’re hoping to resolve with increased board pay. One is to have board wages match the responsibilities of the role according to the market. The market says board members are paid 22% below what our market pays, and it doesn’t match the responsibilities of the heavy public policy duties that impact every member of the County of San Luis Obispo,” stated Douglas-Schatz.
She also stated that market-based wage would encourage anyone to run for office. She also pointed out that legislative assistants are only 5.4 percent below the board’s current pay.
Human Resources performed a market analysis with counties San Luis Obispo County compares to — six of the 10 counties tied county supervisor compensation to Superior Court judges.
“The first increase would be in July of 2023 and then annually thereafter,” Douglas-Schatz added. “It’s about 8 percent each year for three years, and then that would get you to about 50 percent of judge pay. And then we’d keep you tied to that amount in subsequent years.”
Nine members of the public addressed the board during Public Comment on the item. All nine were in opposition to the board passing their own pay increase. Many stated that they opposed the increase due to being in a time of economic uncertainty.
When the pay increase was brought before the board in February, Supervisors John Peschong, Debbie Arnold, and Jimmy Paulding all voted no, but this round, when it came time to vote, Paulding switched his vote in favor of the pay increase. Though he stated that he would not be taking the pay increase himself.
Arnold and Peschong maintained their no votes, with Peschong also stating that he would not be taking a pay increase.
Supervisors Paulding, Bruce Gibson, and Dawn Ortiz-Legg voted yes, meaning that the pay increase was voted through and will go into effect starting in July.