STANISLAUS COUNTY — Stanislaus County supervisors decided Tuesday to reduce a pay cut for county employees because of modest improvements with the budget.
The decision won't affect the paychecks of county supervisors. But for county employees and elected officials such as the auditor and clerk-recorder, it reduces a pay cut from 6 percent with 48 hours of time off to 5 percent with 40 hours of time off.
Employee unions agreed to the 6 percent cut to help the county balance its budget last year.
Supervisor Dick Monteith opposed Tuesday's decision, citing high unemployment and the uncertain fiscal condition of local and state government. Restoring the pay will cost the county $2.8 million in the budget year that began this week, including $1 million from the general fund.
"There is too much uncertainty with state government and financing and new programs coming on that we can anticipate what the costs are," Monteith said. "I don't want to turn around in a year and (tell the employees) that we need that back and need more."
Other supervisors said it was a small gesture to unions that have agreed to concessions in recent years to help the county weather the effects of the recession.
"This is the right thing to do," Supervisor Jim DeMartini said. "They were there for us when we needed it."
Supervisors all agreed to continue with the 6 percent cut for themselves. Their annual salaries of $70,284 continue to fall behind what supervisors are paid in other counties.
According to a recent survey, supervisors are paid $96,900 a year in Merced County, which has half the population of Stanislaus County. San Joaquin County supervisors are paid $93,564 annually. The average for seven comparable counties is $89,064.
Stanislaus supervisors believe that giving themselves a pay raise would be an unpopular decision in a county with double-digit unemployment. Supervisor Terry Withrow said Tuesday that individual board members don't need a raise but it eventually could discourage less-affluent people from running for the office.
In closed session Tuesday, the board made no decisions regarding the process of finding a new county chief executive officer, County Counsel John Doering said. County CEO Monica Nino has accepted a job offer to become the top administrator for San Joaquin County.
Stanislaus supervisors are talking with Nino about scheduling her last day with the county and a smooth leadership transition. A requirement in her employment contract that she give six months' notice of a job change is expected to be renegotiated.
Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2321.