Horne balks on board’s pay hike | TheUnion.com

Horne balks on board’s pay hike

Nevada County Supervisors would be out of sync with looming fiscal problems if they gave themselves a raise, a board member said Tuesday.

Supervisor Sue Horne said she didn’t believe it was appropriate.

“We would not be out of the market, but we would be out of sync by passing a 9 percent increase,” Horne said.

The supervisors debated the pay raise issue at a special meeting held Tuesday. The proposed ordinance received a first reading and the matter will come up again next Tuesday.

A survey of 10 counties with 50,000 to 150,000 residents found an average supervisors salary of just under $48,000, said Rick Haffey, assistant county executive officer.

While a pay increase would still put supervisors below the average, it comes at a time of uncertainty over the state budget shortfall, which could affect the county’s budget.

The ordinance proposes a 9 percent pay increase for board members, raising their salaries to $37,186. The chair, who organizes and runs the meetings, would get a 5 percent increase to $39,046.

The amount of the increase is based on county employees’ pay increases, enacted last week. The last pay increase for supervisors occurred two years ago – which was also opposed by Horne.

Supervisor Peter Van Zant noted that Nevada County has been fiscally responsible by building an $8 million reserve, up from $1 million four years ago.

Supervisor Elizabeth Martin suggested putting off the ordinance until the new board takes office on Jan. 6 and letting them decide. Martin lost the 4th District November elections, which means she will not be on the board next year to receive the raise.

Martin noted that Gov. Gray Davis has asked his leadership to take a 10 percent pay cut.

Supervisor Bruce Conklin’s seat is also likely to be occupied next year by Drew Bedwell. Conklin is in the midst of a recount of his re-election race, which could end sometime today.

Conklin said that without the raises, the Board of Supervisors would become, “a playground of the super-rich.”

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