County employees get raises |

County employees get raises

Nevada County supervisors ended six months of negotiations Tuesday with a labor agreement approving raises to more than 1,000 county employees and some elected officials.

In the first year of the new agreement, the $2.4 million cost will be offset by cutting 21.5 vacant positions, saving $803,000 in this year’s budget.

In other business, the board approved spending the county’s Proposition 40 funds on land trusts and parks, approved money for North San Juan recreation facilities and okayed $10,000 in performance-based pay for County Executive Officer Ted Gaebler.

Employees will get a 3 percent pay increase during the first year of the new agreement, retroactive to Oct. 1 of this year when the previous three-year plan expired.

After that, the 1,084 employees covered under the agreement will get a 1 percent pay raise during the next two fiscal years and a 2 percent raise in the two subsequent years.

Besides the annual increases, county employees will get pay adjustments in January to bring salaries in line with what similar-sized counties pay for the same jobs, based on a compensation study.

Workers will also get improved health and retirement benefits during the 4.75-year agreement.

County employees will have the option of increased retirement benefits starting in 2006, but the county’s costs will be limited to 4 percent of payroll for the employees covered. After that, employees have to contribute.

Employees will also have 100 percent of health insurance premiums paid, ending a disparity in benefits under which some employees received 74 percent. County-paid premiums for dependents will be excluded.

Elected officials covered under the agreement include the treasurer-tax collector, assessor, auditor-controller, clerk-recorder, district attorney and sheriff.

The agreement was negotiated using an interest-based bargaining process.

Under that process, the negotiating parties talk about common interests and what each side cares about, said Gaebler.

The long-term agreement will allow the county to better plan its costs than a short-term agreement, said Rick Haffey, assistant county executive officer. Hopefully, the new plan will help the county cope with a fluctuating economic and a looming state budget crisis.

Representatives from each of the employees bargaining units will serve on a cost-savings committee to identify future opportunities cut county expenditures.

Nancy Matulich, a business representative for employees’ union Local 39, said it took a lot of trust to enter into the lengthy agreement.

“Five years is a lot of time,” said Matulich, who spoke during Tuesday’s supervisors hearing but declined further comment, referring inquiries to her supervisor.

Ron Wolfson, assistant district attorney who represented a 100 management employees, declined to comment on what his unit had sought during the negotiations. He said his unit was pleased with the agreement, which met expectations.

In other matters:

– Ok1d $34,000 for the San Juan Ridge Little League, North Gold Senior Mountaineers, and North San Activities and Improvement Center.

– Approved allocating Proposition 40 proceeds to Truckee-Donner Land Trust, Nevada County Land Trust, Western Gateway Park, Bear River Park District, Grass Valley parks, and Nevada City.

– Voted 4-1 to approve $10,000 in performance pay for county executive Ted Gaebler.

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