For the first time in more than eight years, the county supervisors got a raise this month, boosting their yearly pay 12 percent from $84,200 to $94,164. The increase went into effect after the supervisors approved their own raises in December. Next month, a six-member committee assembled by the county CEO’s office will suggest to the board how they could go about handling the process in the future.
Formed late last year at the supervisors’ behest, the committee brought together Santa Maria City Councilmember Jack Boysen, Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce President Ken Oplinger, Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association President Joe Armendariz, Montecito Bank & Trust leader Janet Garufis, former Lompoc Chamber of Commerce head Chris Ames, and CMC Rescue Human-Resources Director Deb Horne. In their four meetings, the last of which was held this week, the group concluded that supervisors’ salaries should be reexamined every three years and looked at through the lens of what their counterparts in other counties earn.
Comparable counties pay their electeds considerably more than what the Santa Barbara supervisors earn, and several of them tie wages to a percentage of superior court judges’ salaries. (In Sonoma County, for example, each supervisor makes $162,151, or 75 percent of what judges there earn.) The committee also found that had the supervisors received raises between 2007-2014, the cumulative increase would have been greater than their recent boost. Santa Barbara County’s supes, even with the raises, take home less than the average department head ($167,200) and assistant department head ($128,360).