What the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors did on Dec. 4 was undone on Dec. 18. Tuesday, after considerable discussion and delay, the board rescinded its earlier approval of salary increases for two top department heads.
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The chief administrative officer had recommended 5 percent raises for director of the Health and Human Services Agency and for Assistant Chief Administrative Officer. The latter included added duties as “acting” department head of the county’s new Community Development Agency.
Because of the creation of that “super department,” and salary calculations for its three new management positions, the CAO determined that current top managers pay should be raised comparable to that for the new jobs.
The Mountain Democrat reported the following in its Dec. 12 edition:
“Establishing new positions and classifications of employees further requires some modifications to “maintain equity within the county salary schedule.” Thus, Kim Kerr as assistant CAO and Daniel Nielson, director of the county’s Health and Human Services Agency, received salary adjustments of approximately 5 percent, according to the documents. The potential for a negative ripple effect over some salary adjustments drew a stern response from Auditor-Controller Joe Harn both during the meeting and in an e-mail sent later the same day.”
Harn had complained that the proposed third-ranking position of assistant director for administration and finance in the new agency would be hired at a higher salary than that of his own chief assistant. He added that his assistant has a greater degree of responsibility and a higher level of professional training than the minimum required for the Community Development job.
In a related agenda item Tuesday, outgoing District 1 Supervisor John Knight attempted to rectify what Harn called an inequity by recommending a 5 percent raise for several managers in Harn’s office. The board turned down that request as well.
Other community members had voiced strong opposition to the salary increases along with their opposition to the formation of the Community Development Agency.
Before the vote, Sue Taylor scolded the board for “increasing your departments while the private sector is taking pay cuts.”
Carol Louis was even harsher, accusing “elected officials of padding salaries and pensions… for department heads who don’t do their jobs. A 5 percent increase is outrageous at this time,” Louis said.
District 2 Supervisor Ray Nutting had opposed the salary increases two weeks earlier and had voted no on the proposal for the new agency. The latter vote, he explained, was not against its creation but rather against hiring all three new positions at the outset. Tuesday, Nutting initially urged the board to reject any and all pay increases and include them in budget salary negotiations next year.
Contact Chris Daley at 530-344-5063 or [email protected] Follow @CDaleyMtDemo.