San Diego County approved pay raises Tuesday for four countywide elected officials in an effort to align their salaries with similar counterparts in other counties.
The Board of Supervisors approved an updated ordinance that will increase four salaries by 3 percent this fiscal year and 2 percent for two subsequent years. The 4-1 vote had one hold out in Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.
Three of the positions already receive over $200,000 per year.
District Attorney Summer Stephan, San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore, County Clerk Ernest J. Dronenburg, Jr. and Treasurer Dan McAllister will receive pay raises this fiscal year and the following years. Stephan and Gore currently receive over $250,000.
Looking at the salaries in 13 nearby counties such as Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside, the county also decided the salaries for those four positions should never fall below the 75th percentile comparatively.
President of SEIU 221 David Garcias spoke at the meeting in opposition to the pay raise, adding the county should not increase the four officials’ salaries until the county increases wages for lower-level county workers. He further asked for a compensation survey study to make wages more competitive.
“I’ve seen too many experienced coworkers leave for other jobs just due to the low wages,” Garcias said.
The main proponent, Supervisor Greg Cox, said, “I realize when you talk about salary increases for elected officials it’s never an easy subject to bring up.”
“I can tell you that the increases that are being talked about here for the next three fiscal years are pretty much in conformist [sic] with what the rank-and-file employees of the County of San Diego have received,” Cox added.
Nathan Fletcher argued against the ordinance saying the county has a lot of pressing priorities and thus the pay raises should not be a high priority.
“It would probably seem odd that the very next thing we did after saying we can’t afford to allow people to have the access to vote is to turn around and say we can afford to give someone who makes $200,000 a year a raise,” Fletcher said.
Just before the vote, the county denied funding for four voting locations in the 2020 elections. The county would have received some reimbursement from the Help America Vote Act and Assembly Bill 1824.
Total cost estimates for the salary increases are $13,122 for FY 2020-21, $13,384 for FY 2021 - 22 and then $32,556 for FY 2022-23.