SLO council considering another raise for city attorney

May 6, 2013
Christine Dietrick

Christine Dietrick

The San Luis Obispo City Council will decide Tuesday whether to grant City Attorney Christine Dietrick a 4.5 percent raise in pay based on performance while line level employees salaries are either frozen or facing cuts.

On March 27, the city council conducted a performance evaluation of Dietrick and, with the help of a consultant, determined that Dietrick is deserving of raise in base salary from $160,446 to $168,000. The council still must approve the increase in pay during open session.

A year ago, Dietrick also received a pay raise. Her salary increased 3.5 percent in April 2012.

As Dietrick’s salary has increased, the pay for line level employees has frozen. General city employees will receive no salary increases through 2014, and firefighters will receive no salary increases through 2015. Police officers took a 2 percent reduction in pay in January and will take another 2 percent pay cut in July 2014.

Dietrick’s proposed raise follows a year in which the city lost a lawsuit over its ticketing of the homeless and had to pay the winning attorneys $133,800 to settle the case.

Prior to suing, attorney Stew Jenkins asked the council to suspend its ordinance against sleeping in vehicles due to legal issues with its wording. The next day Dietrick said during a council meeting that the city expected to defeat any challenges to the ordinance.

After the city lost the suit and paid the settlement, the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority, which provides legal liability insurance, raised the city’s annual rate by $74,000. CJPIA also notified the council in February that it owes a retroactive payment of more than $3.1 million due to a change in how the agency calculates the city’s yearly contribution to the insurance fund.


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When will this cycle of out of proportion to the “cost of living” pay & associated benefits end?

Will the present SLO City Manager feel threatened by the present SLO City Attorney’s yearly salary increases and request a similar salary & associated benefit increase?

The answer is now quite clear, retire at the earliest possible age with full pension & retirement benefits and disengage from the City of SLO as quickly as possible. Nice “end game” if one can get away with it!

As many have said, you get the city council you vote for, hope the citizens of SLO enjoys theirs

All… and I mean all public employee pay should be frozen until this state gets back on track economically. Businesses and restaurants are going under at a record rate; I know many home improvement contractors that are pricing their labor at what it was 10 years ago to get work; and some public sector attorney gets a 4.5% raise? Really?

Yep, really. “Public sector” workers are “different,” don’t you know?

They work unselfishly for the “public good.”

The rest of us are just chopped liver.


Didn’t this woman just cost the taxpayers a load of money for bad advice regarding the ticketing of the homeless who sleep in their cars? In fact hasn’t she given bad advice on several occasions? She is nothing but an expensive shill for the SLOCC.

Next we’ll hear from the council and city manager that a raise is needed in order to keep up with neighboring towns. What a crock! Paso city administrators are overpaid, SLO city top staffers are overpaid, too. It’s ridiculous.

The firefighters have taken over ten percent in pay cuts. They were the first to settle their contract with the city. What a slap in the face when the city “elites” get a pay raise while the city claims to be in financial crisis.

A 4.5 percent raise in pay based on performance? The city’s annual insurance rate increase of $74,000.00 and a retroactive payment of more than 3.1Million!

Based on this information, any performance evaluation concluding that this attorney is deserving of a 4.5% raise is ludicrous. The fact that this increase is even on the table is outrageous since the general city employees will receive no salary increases through 2014, and firefighters will receive no salary increases through 2015. Police officers took a 2 percent reduction in pay in January and will take another 2 percent pay cut in July 2014.

They have a “process” for determining merit pay increases. They check off checks on a list, and add them up, and that’s what the increase will be. There’s no reality check at the end, just a score. This is what comes to pass when they “run government like a business” — just the sort of stupid decision-making they teach in MBA programs these days. You make A decision, not a GOOD decision.

It has been said that one lawyer in a small town will go hungry but if there are two lawyers they both get wealthy. Just for fun, check the population of SLO county at 1971 and then for 2013. Now that you’ve verified that increase, check the yellow pages for the increase in published lawyers during this same period. You may be surprized by the golden rule rush is SLO County, ya, just like the big cities.

Another example of our tax dollars being implemented under the Peter Principal. In the private sector this person would be down the road and applications would be looked at for a competant replacement. Although what else would you expect from government?