By Daniel Borsuk
The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 on Tuesday to adopt a pay increase plan based on a percentage of the annual salary of what Contra Costa County Superior Court Judges earn per year, a plan some supervisors expect will remove politics from the salary review process.
Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville cast the lone negative vote on the proposal presented to the board by a five-member Ad Hoc Committee on Board of Supervisors Compensation that consisted of major labor and building trade leaders.
“I’m not there yet. I still have some concerns. An 18.5 percent raise is significant. I question using the judges’ salary as an index,” Andersen said during the board meeting.
Andersen later told The Herald, “This is like a two-edged sword. It brings us to the Bay Area pay average for supervisors while county employees are below average.”
Serving on the Ad Hoc Committee on Board of Supervisors Compensation that County Administrator David Twa selected in December were Larry Hendel of the Central Labor Council of Contra Costa County, AFL-CIO, Terri Montgomery of the East Bay Leadership Council, Angie Coffee of the East Bay Leadership Council, Tom Hansen of the Building Trades Council and Clifford Bowen, who served as the Public at Large representative. The committee conducted six public meetings.
Twa will have an ordinance prepared for supervisors to adopt at an April meeting so that the new pay hike will go into effect July 1.
The ad hoc committee agreed to propose to supervisors what the Board of Supervisors in Alameda, Marin, Napa, Sacramento, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma do when they adjust salaries of supervisors, setting indexes based on Superior Court Judge salaries in their respective counties.
Since 2010-2011, Superior Court judge salaries have risen on average 1.7 percent a year from $178,789 a year in 2010-2011 when there was no salary raise to $207,424 a year in 2018-2019 when there was a 3.69 percent increase.
Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill supported the labor-backed pay proposal, saying, “Thanks to our labor friends.” The District 4 Supervisor recalled how 21 years ago most supervisors needed a “second source of income as this position was a considered a part-time job. We needed to make this a fulltime job,” she said.
“I am uncomfortable discussing this topic,” said District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg. “Its goal is to be tied to an index and to stay away from politics. There have been no raises given to us for a long time. This is very helpful.”
Board Chair John Gioia of Richmond supported the new supervisors’ pay proposal saying that it “depoliticizes the process and takes this issue out of our hands.”
In adopting the ad hoc committee’s report, supervisor’s salary will rise 60 percent of the Superior Court judges’ salary on July 1 making each supervisor’s salary $124,454.40. Supervisors will receive a 63 percent pay hike of Superior Court judge’s salary on Jan. 1, 2020 of $130,677.12 a year and then another pay boost of $134,825.60 a year or 65 percent of the Superior Court Judges salary starting Jan. 1, 2021 and future years thereafter. These figures do not take into account pension or medical insurance costs.
By establishing 65 percent as the county’s index on Jan. 1, 2021 and every January 1 thereafter, Contra Costa County will have the fourth highest salary percentage rate increase in the Bay Area based on Superior Court Judges’ salaries. Alameda County and Santa Clara counties raise salaries at an 80 percent rate, Sonoma County at a 75 percent rate, Marin County at a 60 percent rate, Sacramento County at a 55 percent rate, Solano County at a 53 percent rate and Napa County at a 47.09 percent rate.
Supervisors Receive County Historical Society Update
Facing a growing need to expand in order to house an increasing array of valuable artifacts tracing the county’s history, Contra Costa Historical Society Board President John Greitzer delivered a brief report to supervisors on the museum located at 724 Escobar St., Martinez.
“We are basically booming,” said Greitzer who noted that a $47,000 stipend from the county represents about 33 percent of the nonprofit organization’s budget.
Recently the museum installed a new temperature and humidifier system designed to help preserve artifacts and material in the building. A new fire protection system was also installed.
School visits are on the rise at the Contra Costa Historical Society. Recently 88 students from Deer Valley High School in Antioch conducted research at the museum, he said. One student found his grandparents naturalization papers, Greitzer said.
The Contra Costa Historical Society has provided assistance for the Bay Point Historical Society, Pleasant Hill Historical Society and Martinez Historical Society, he said.
“You are very unique,” said Supervisor Andersen. “You are a valuable tool for our students.”
Supervisors Approved Without Discussion the Following Consent Items:
Contract modifications with the law firm of Goldfarb & Lipman to update the firm’s billing rates for specialized legal fees concerning the county in its capacity as the Successor Agency to the Contra Costa County Redevelopment Agency.
Approved increasing a Health Services contract amendment to $25,000 with Concord Yellow Cab, Inc. to a new payment limit of $165,000 to provide additional non-emergency transportation services for county residents with HIV disease. There is no change to the original term of April 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019.
Approved and authorized the Conservation and Development Director John Kopchick to execute an exclusive negotiating agreement with City Ventures Homebuilding, LLC for the construction of 24 town home units, approximately 2,000 square feet of commercial space, and a public plaza on a 1.16 acres vacant site at Parker Avenue/Investment Street and Railroad Avenue in the Rodeo area.
Approved and authorized the Sheriff-Coroner David Livingston to execute a contract amendment with J. Steinman Enterprise to increase the payment limit by $50,000 to a new limit of $125,000 for laundry equipment maintenance services with no change in the contract term of April 1, 2017 through May 31, 2020.