Are APCD employees underpaid?

January 29, 2015
Adam Hill

Adam Hill

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.


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20 Comments

  1. Myself says:

    the useless rag for a news paper was busy throwing bricks at Supervisor Arnold today for not wanting to place hill in the chair for the apcd. When is the tripe, I mean trib going to get that we the people don’t like hill or gibson.
    I’d quit that paper but I need something to start my fireplace in the evenings.

    (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
  2. shelworth says:

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! very funny stuff, wait, what? you’re serious?

    (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
  3. achillesheal says:

    From the Urban Dictionary:

    “Because I can” – An absolute and valid verbal justification of any action that is seemingly without a clear goal or purpose. This expression is used to quickly make someone realize that the action in itself is so mindnumbingly awe-inspiring that a purpose is no longer necessary.

    Why did they give themselves a raise? Because they can.

    (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
  4. CARNAC says:

    Here is the macro problem. The U.S. population is now approximately 318,000,000 and total federal, state, and local government employment (not including education) is 11,600,000 according to the bureau of labor statistics. That works out to one government employee for every 27.4 persons! Moreover, a large percentage of government employees are employed within the regulatory bureaucracy. All bureaucracies will look to expand their tasks, authority, and importance as it is in their economic self-interest to do so.

    Do you think abolishing the SLO-APCD would materially change our air quality? Probably not by much. To the extent we have polluters in the county they could be dealt with in a much more efficient and cost effective manner.

    (21) 27 Total Votes - 24 up - 3 down
  5. agag1 says:

    Glad to see AG’s new councilwoman Harmon isn’t fooled by A-Hill.
    I’d almost bet that any of the AG council holdovers would have voted for him.

    When are the rest of these enablers going to be voted out?

    (11) 19 Total Votes - 15 up - 4 down
  6. Pelican1 says:

    If the SLO APCD really wants to clean up the air, they should first start by getting rid of the smoke and mirrors they use in an attempt to justify a salary increase.

    (24) 30 Total Votes - 27 up - 3 down
  7. SanSimeonSam says:

    This is Bell California all over again. These people do nothing but collect fees they have created to pay their wages. They add no value and are hard to find at work. I would venture to guess that Larry Allen doesnt show up at the office for more than 10 hours a week (when not on vacation). We need the Feds to come in and clean up this mess.

    (26) 34 Total Votes - 30 up - 4 down
    • Theo P. Neustic says:

      At it’s core, it’s merely a wealth redistribution machine.

      (8) 12 Total Votes - 10 up - 2 down
  8. taxpayer says:

    Noah Smukler, the man who like to reiterate platitudes just to hear himself speak, with no experience in any line of work ( since he’s a trust fund baby) is the last person this person needs as vice chair. Talk about someone with a personal agenda! And Adam Hill as chair is really just an embarrassment for
    all the people of San Luis Obispo County. The APCD is a bureaucracy that’s out of control and now we have two know nothing people in charge of making decisions that will affect us all. How many times do elected officials have to prove that they’re incompetent before we stop putting them into leadership positions? How much more damage has to be done to the taxpayers of this county before we say enough is enough?

    (33) 41 Total Votes - 37 up - 4 down

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