Government / Politics

OPINION: 55% pay raise means an added $26,821 for Supervisors

By a 4-1 vote, Rivas in opposition, County Supervisors take an unearned raise to $75,015 a year before $20,000 in benefits.

Good private enterprise wage jobs are hard to find in San Benito County and the pay rates are bad for most jobs that do exist. Almost 73 percent (10,227 out of 14,029) of those local employees earned an average annual pay of less than $48,193 in 2016.

It just so happens that $48,193 a year is the current salary of each county supervisor for what is supposed to be a part-time job. Not wanting to be mistaken for mere taxpayers, Supervisors Muenzer, De La Cruz, Botelho and Medina voted themselves a $26,821 annual pay raise to $75,015; only Supervisor Rivas voted no.

You may have gleaned that $48,193 X 5 = $240,965, but the 2016 compensation for the board came to $322,000 because members managed to collect more than $19,700 in average benefits; remember this is a part-time job. Figured that way, the average total compensation was actually $64,390, after this raise it will be $95,000.  Ignoring the value and cost of benefits is not the road to good fiscal management. 

Their justification was that the job took a lot more time than the supervisors had available and they had not received a raise for a while; I guess they wanted to make up for us dragging them in and forcing them to run for office.  Keep in mind, that the same day the board had approved a compound 6.6 percent raise over 14 months for most county employees. Those earlier votes must have generated a lot of envy and they may have lost control.

The fact the job takes so much time is one of the board’s biggest problems; it’s a weakness, not a strength. The county is still running short staffed and the board remains ad-hoc committee happy, refusing to delegate authority, micromanaging everything – and poorly. Why do you think it takes so long to get anything done?

When you ask them why we do not have adequate and fully-qualified staff the board’s answer is always the same, lack of revenue – we can’t afford it; when you ask why we don’t have enough revenue the answer is always the same – lack of staff. Somehow or another they fail to see that they have a responsibility to break this circular argument.

We could use the $134,000 a year to hire a good staff person (or two junior staff people) to relieve their burden and benefit the entire county instead, but they want the money.

They admit that they are pooped out, how will this raise relieve their pooped-outness? It won’t. This is now a full-time job and an understaffed agency because the board made it that way and wants it that way. Now they want a raise for what is, essentially, an attendance bonus.

Call your Supervisor and just say no; they should take a 4 percent on salary raise and be grateful to get that much.

Marty Richman

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Marty (Martin G.) spent his teen years in northern New Jersey. He served more than 22 years on active military duty, mostly in Europe, and is a retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 4, Nuclear Weapons Technical Officer. Marty then worked 25 years in various engineering and management positions in the electronics and energetic materials industries supporting the communications, computer, aerospace, defense and automotive sectors. He is a graduate, summa cum laude, from The College of Hard Knocks, among his numerous awards and accomplishments. He was a regular weekly Op/Ed columnist and feature writer for The Hollister Free Lance for seven years and a member of its editorial board for five years. Marty is a frequent commentator and contributor to BenitoLink on a wide variety of local, state, national and international subjects.   Marty was elected to represent the City of Hollister District 4 on the City Council in November, 2018. Marty and his wife, Joyce, have been residents of Hollister since 1996.