Nevada County supervisors get small raise |

Nevada County supervisors get small raise

Laura Brown
Sun News Service

Nevada County supervisors unanimously granted themselves a 2.3 percent annual pay raise this week.

The raise, approved at their Tuesday board meeting, is the first pay increase in two years and well below the 36.6 percent raise recommended by a county grand jury report in June.

“There are a lot of folks who would love to do this job, but they can’t afford it,” added District 5 Supervisor Ted Owens, who owns a construction company in Truckee.

“There is no good time to do raises. I think what’s newsworthy is we did not implement the Board’s findings.

Starting in February 2009, Owens, who is chairman of the board, will receive the equivalent of $42,372 yearly, up from his current salary of $41,419. All other board members will receive $40,354, up from $39,447. An additional $3,228 in-lieu benefit will be offered to roll into a 401(k) plan for supervisors who do not qualify for an 8 percent contribution to California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS).

The five-member board previously has approved pay raises for other Rood Center managers and rank-and-file workers, drawing criticism about the timing.

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County department heads have made considerably more money during the past three years, with several seeing paycheck jumps of more than $25,000. While some employees have received double-digit increases, Owens defended the raise by citing an overall reduction of county employees that saved “$4.5 to $5 million” a year.

Since the 2006-07 fiscal year, County Executive Officer Rick Haffey’s salary rose from $137,749 to $168,000.

Assistant County Executive Officer Laura Matteson’s salary made similar climbs, from $118,329 in 2006-07 to $146,555 in the 2008-09 fiscal year.

County Information Officer Steve Monaghan’s yearly salary rose from $126,326 in 2006-07 to $150,130 currently.

The district attorney’s salary rose from $130,742, when Mike Ferguson held the post, to $154,088, earned now by Cliff Newell.

The raises made the officials’ salary competitive with counties of comparable size, according to the county’s human resources department.

The average annual salary per worker in Nevada County stands at $37,893, according to the grand jury report. To delay a pay raise at this time would put the board’s salaries further behind other counties, said Matteson.

The grand jury, which conducted an independent study of the board’s salaries and benefits, recommended that the board increase its salaries by 36.4 percent, using a complex methodology that compared Nevada County to other counties with similar demographics.

Next year, the board will review the “performance proximity method” recommended by the grand jury, something that would set salaries for five years using what Matteson called a “complex word problem” involving eight steps ” including population size, number of employees and county budget ” to compare Nevada County with others.

Ryan Slabaugh contributed to this report.