SLO council unanimously approves raise for city attorney

May 8, 2013
Christine Dietrick

Christine Dietrick

The San Luis Obispo City Council unanimously approved a 4.5 percent salary increase for City Attorney Christine Dietrick on Tuesday.

Prior to the council approving the pay raise, three members of the public criticized the proposed increase, two of whom are current candidates for the city council vacancy: Kevin Rice and Donald Hedrick.

The other public speaker to criticize the pay raise, attorney Stew Jenkins, delivered a letter to the four members of the council stating that the median salary for lawyers in California is $139,152.

“The compensation received by the city attorney is already appreciably higher than the median salary paid to attorneys throughout the state of California,” Jenkins wrote in the letter. “The position is currently well paid, and arguably overpaid given the wide variety of competent attorneys available to perform the job at $20,000 to $30,000 less than the current salary is set at.”

At her new level of pay, Dietrick stands to make nearly $25,000 more than California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who is making $143,571 this year, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Dietrick’s base salary will increase from $160,446 to $168,000 yearly at a time in which line level employee salaries are either frozen or facing cuts. Dietrick previously received a 3.5 percent pay raise in April 2012.

While Dietrick’s pay is increasing, 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.

Last year, Jenkins successfully sued the city over an ordinance used to frequently ticket the homeless. The city had to pay Jenkins and fellow attorney Saro Rizzo a total of $133,800 to settle the case.

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 change in how the agency calculates the city’s yearly contribution to the insurance fund.


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$20,000 here,$100,000 there, what the heck when your city has a $3 million to $6 million shortfall every year to balance. Where does the City of SLO get the money to balance its budget from each year?

When does this does this form of municipal “vodo economics” end, anyway?

of course they did… it’s not their money

Simply amazing,money is tight today in every aspect of our lives,yet the govt from the lowest CSD to the top at the Fed level spend money like drunken bums either on personal,worthless projects, studies ment to keep the peasents informed and its cronies,when are the rest of the taxpayers gonna wakeup and say no.

After drowning the city in debt with her crummy advice on the homeless fiasco she gets a raise, and is paid more than the Cal Attorney General! Way to go Council, for this and the debacle with the City Manager getting a huge salary while we are all struggling! What a rip off.

It is probably a good thing that I am not a SLO City resident — both for myself and for the politicians in charge. At the very least, I would dedicate myself to making everyone else I could aware of the “GOBAG” (Good Ol’ Boys And Gals) club that is ripping off every taxpaying citizen with bad decisions and almost transparent corruption.

That would take more time and effort than I could really afford but I would feel it necessary since the majority of SLO voters seem to be either uninformed or misinformed about how their city is being run. I suppose that there are a few supporters who benefit financially but I can’t believe that most voters would accept what is happening if they knew the truth about it.

WOW!!! Now she’!ll make almost as much as fire captains did in 2009!

I just don’t understand why everyone is so surprised by the fox guarding the chicken coop politics?! The hierarchy always makes the rules, and takes care of themselves since time immemorial, and at times, at the expense of others.

How many examples do you need to understand this ever so simple and ongoing political axiom? Read the past narratives of this simple rule here at CNN if you need a refresher course. If you think it’s unfair, then do something about it instead of just complaining, like my previous 8th wife use to do ad infinitum!