The Board of Supervisors voted against offering one week of paid leave to at least 67 county employees who were under mandatory evacuations orders because of the Thomas Fire. The action needed four votes to pass.
North County Supervisors Peter Adam and Steve Lavagnino were opposed. They received pushback from their colleagues during their regular Tuesday board meeting where emotions ran high as the seventh day of the 236,000 acre fire had produced little good news. Lavagnino asked staff to return with information about what private sector employers are offering. After the hearing, Lavagnino posted on Facebook asking for input on the matter from his social media friends. The post elicited mixed responses.
Human Resources staff said at the hearing that as many as 300 employees were ordered to flee their homes. Santa Barbara County employs 181 individuals who live in the cities of Ventura and Santa Paula, both areas severely impacted by the fire. The costs — that are still unknown — would have been absorbed within existing department budget, according to a county report.
Lavagnino and Adam, however, supported offering two weeks of paid leave to the two confirmed county employees who lost their homes from the fire still aggressively burning in the South Coast ranges.