Are APCD employees underpaid?
January 29, 2015
By JOSH FRIEDMAN
San Luis Obispo County Air Control District employees, most of whom receive six-figure pay and benefit packages, are due for salary increases, following a board decision Wednesday.
During a closed session hearing, the APCD voiced approval for awarding district employees cost of living increases to their pay for the current and next fiscal years. The board voted 10-2 in favor of the pay increases, district legal counsel Ray Biering announced at Wednesday’s meeting.
County supervisors Debbie Arnold and Lynn Compton cast the two dissenting votes. A formal vote on the pay raise will take place in open session at the board’s next meeting, Biering said.
A 2011 CalCoastNews review of district employee pay found that 19 of 21 fulltime APCD staff members received more than $100,000 a year in salary and benefits. The top earner, APCD chief Larry Allen, makes nearly $250,000 in total compensation.
Employee pay accounts for approximately 75 percent of district expenditures. Critics say the district raises fees on property and business owners in order to cover staffing costs.
The APCD board is scheduled to meet next in March.
Hill elected air board chair
At the beginning of Wednesday’s meeting, County Supervisor Adam Hill took over the chairmanship of the board despite objections from some of his colleagues. Supervisor Arnold wanted Compton to serve as chair because the Oceano dunes are in her district.
Hill received the chairmanship after a 7-4 vote, in which Arnold, Compton, Pismo Beach Councilman Ed Waage and Arroyo Grande Councilwoman Barbara Harmon dissented. Atascadero Councilwoman Roberta Fonzi abstained from voting on the matter.
Last year, Hill served as vice-chair of the air board, putting him in line to take over the chairmanship in 2015. However, in recent years, several members of county and regional boards have objected to Hill serving in leadership positions.
In January 2013, Hill lost out on opportunities to serve both as air board chair and president of the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments. Hill has a propensity for sending disparaging emails and attacking his critics in published writings, both of which opponents have cited when calling for other board members to replace him in leadership roles.
Hill’s ally, Supervisor Bruce Gibson, said Hill has a wealth of experience on the air board and deserves the chairmanship. San Luis Obispo Mayor Jan Marx, another supporter of his, nominated him for the position on Thursday.
The board elected Morro Bay Councilman Noah Smukler vice-chair.