The Tulare County Board of Supervisors voted themselves a raise for the third time in three years.
As part of the 2014/15 County Budget, Supervisors approved a 5% salary increase for County Assessor/Clerk Recorder Roland Hill at their Sept. 16 meeting. The increase for Hill also triggered a 1.25% salary increase for each supervisor. The increase represents $1,231.88 which will be added to their $98,550.40 2013/14 salary coming to a $99,782.28 salary for the coming fiscal year. Since the chairman and vice chairman already make 8% and 4% more respectively, Supervisors Phil Cox and Steve Worthley will make $107,764.86 and $103,773.57 respectively if they choose to take the increase.
Because Supervisor salaries are tied to the four elected officials below them – sheriff/coroner, auditor-controller/treasurer-tax collector/registrar of voter, district attorney and assessor/clerk- recorder – they receive a raise whenever any of the other elected officials receive one. In September 2012, the Supervisors unanimously voted to give Rita Woodard, County’s auditor-controller/treasurer-tax collector/registrar of voters, a 5% increase. That increase is then divided by the number of elected officials (4) and then given as an increase (1.5%) to the Supervisors. However, Supervisors Steven Worthley and Pete Vander Poel did not take the increase. Earlier that same year, the Supervisors voted themselves a raise was calculated by splitting the cost of living increase of 2.75% and the average 10% increase half of the County’s employees received in August 2012. The raise narrowly passed 3-2 with Worthley and Vander Poel voting against it.
The increase comes less than two months after difficult contract negotiations ended with the Services Employee International Union (SEIU). The union, which represents about 3,200 County employees, settled on a one-year deal with a 3% salary increase. It was the first time the employees had received a raise in six years, a central theme for the union which pointed out the Superivsors had given themselves a 9% raise over the last two years.
During that same time period, Supervisors also voted to give managers, four elected division heads and investigators raises and a 10% raise for County Administrative Officer Jean Rousseau, who now makes $185,398 per year.
After the Sept. 16 vote, Rousseau noted that Tulare County is the only county that openly displays Supervisor salary increases.
“We are the only board that publicly recognizes board member increases. We are the only ones who do it this way. We are trying our best to be as transparent as we can,” Rousseau said.