Tuesday Oct 21 2008
Voters should reject pay raise for supervisors
By: Wally Reemelin President of the League of Placer County Taxpayers
Measure R proposes a supervisor pay increase on the November ballot. It’s innocuous on the surface, but the devil is in the details. Measure R would increase the base of $30,000 to $48,000 plus the existing perks, $3,200. The devil is the CPI (consumer price index) automatic increase included. That would raise pay to $54,000 in four years and, exponentially, to $61,000 or more in eight years – and up. In 1988-90 supervisors were setting their own pay and cockily spending tax money freely, feathering their own special interests and projects – some of which has been happening recently – and not addressing basic needs of county residents. Supervisors were raking in $80,000 annually. In 1992 the League of Placer County Taxpayers submitted Amendment Sec. 207 to the County Charter, which had voters set supervisor pay at $30,000 and required voter approval for increases. Voters approved Sec. 207 by more than 60 percent. Sec. 207 says “Voters are in charge of supervisor pay” and not some CPI automatically ratcheting upward yearly, whether supervisors really are serving the public needs or, again as in the 1980s, serving special interests. Sec. 207 is a “report card to the people” of performance by the supervisors. You, the voter, are in charge. In 1998 supervisors requested a 17 percent pay raise. Voters turned it down. The taxpayers league remained neutral on the issue. Raising supervisor pay would apply to each officeholder, some who may be more deserving than others in serving the public. Recent board activities raise such an issue: n At the supervisors meeting in Tahoe on July 22, three members, Jim Holmes, Robert Weygant and Rocky Rockholm, persuaded the county CEO to pay nearly $10,000 of your tax money to fly Rockholm by charter jet from Utah to Truckee and back so he could cast the deciding vote for a three-lane with roundabouts improvement versus four-lanes on Highway 28 at Kings Beach, Tahoe. Voters should be outraged at this flagrant expenditure. Caltrans, CHP, local fire department and sheriffs of Placer and Douglas (Nevada) counties, who were concerned about public safety, favored the 4-lane design. Supervisor Bruce Kranz voted for the four-lane road. n Each year the Local Agency Formation Commission has advised Placer supervisors that small, rural fire districts, ineligible for Prop. 172 funding, are in financial trouble and need steady funding support. Boards of supervisors have consistently turned a deaf ear to this issue, including the present board. n While ignoring LAFCO’S report, since 1987, supervisors have doled-out $1,500,000 of “earmarks” – revenue sharing funds to county groups and organizations, some of dubious public interest. Revenue sharing is a vote-getting ploy. Voters, keep your say on supervisor pay. Vote No on R.