In a quick vote with little discussion, the Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on Tuesday to award themselves a $9,964 — or nearly 12 percent — pay raise. They approved a $5,850 annual car allowance and a $7,234 annual benefit allowance but rescinded their $3,120 annual retirement offset. The raise is effective in February and will be tacked onto the supervisors’ $84,200 salaries, which have been frozen — along with their benefits — since 2006.
The decision, objected to by 4th District Supervisor Peter Adam, was supported by a report from county staff that found Santa Barbara’s supervisors have been paid 30 percent less than their peers in comparable counties and weren’t receiving some of the perks offered to their own chiefs of staff, whose salaries range from $78,164 to $88,560 and whose yearly car and benefit allowances weigh in at $4,966 and $6,149, respectively.
The vote also granted raises for the county’s five elected department heads, who haven’t seen their salaries increase since the recession. District Attorney Joyce Dudley received the biggest bump — 14 percent — bringing her salary from $179,899 to $205,540. Sheriff Bill Brown got a 6.3 percent boost, from $189,266 to $201,193. Bob Geis, the auditor-controller, will be earning 5 percent more, with a raise from $180,515 to $189,763. Clerk-Recorder Joe Holland and Treasurer Harry Hagen both won 4 percent pay increases, from $180,515 to $187,763 each. The additional cash, effective January 5, will come alongside an end to their retirement offsets and their ability to trade vacation hours for dollars.
The fatter paychecks will cost the county an extra $884,000 this fiscal year, about half of which will come from the General Fund. In future years, the raises will cost $1.6 million, with $747,000 out of the General Fund. County staff proposed covering the General Fund withdrawals with increased property tax revenue, with the remainder of the bill going to the affected departments.