SLO council approves pay raises for employees

July 9, 2015

SLO_City_Emblem_fullcolor_neutralbkgThe San Luis Obispo City Council unanimously approved salary increases for more than 200 city employees, including raises of at least 10 percent for about 28 staffers.

On Tuesday, the council finalized a labor agreement between the city and its largest employee union, San Luis Obispo City Employees Association (SLOCEA). The council also approved a labor agreement with non-union staffers, most of whom are in management positions.

The labor agreements call for SLOCEA members and the non-union employees to receive a pair of 2 percent cost of living adjustments to their salaries. The first 2 percent increase is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2015, and the second 2 percent hike takes effect Jan. 1, 2016.

On top of the cost of living adjustments, 80 of 151 SLOCEA members, and 36 of 82 unrepresented employees will receive additional increases that range in size from 2.6 percent to 15.7 percent. City human resources staff have deemed those increases “equity adjustments.”

Fire Chief Garret Olson will receive a base salary increase of about $22,000 over the next six months, with the majority of the pay raise taking effect immediately. Olson’s base pay will jump from $154,544 to more than $176,000.

Transportation Operations Manager Jake Hudson will receive a a 17.7 percent increase. His base salary will rise from $93,288 to about $110,000.

The police chief’s position, which is currently vacant, will receive a 17 percent pay raise. At the pay rate of former chief Steve Gesell, who left the city last month, the police chief’s salary would increase to approximately $188,000.

All department heads, with the exception of the police and fire chiefs, will receive 5 percent “equity” increases. Including the cost of living adjustments, they will receive 9 percent raises.

Human Resources Director Monica Irons said the recommended pay raises are based on position classifications, not individuals.

The sizes of the raises are largely attributed to a report that compares employee pay in San Luis Obispo to that in other California cities. One of the cities the report compares to San Luis Obispo is Santa Monica.

Santa Monica pays its city manager a base salary of more than $350,000 a year. SLO City Manager Katie Lichtig, who previously served as assistant city manager in Santa Monica, earns a base salary of $221,500.

The council is still awaiting new labor agreements with the city’s police and firefighter unions.

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Did anyone expect otherwise?

As far as those commenting that it is deserved b/c of elected officials, it’s always the same case: Who is the lesser of the evils. You can’t find good honest people to do gov’t jobs. That’s just the way it is.

Welcome to Fantasyland.

We, the citizens, deserve this. We continue to elect Marx, Christianson, Asbaugh and Divoire and they will continue to hand out our money and lie to us. If anyone does not like it get active and get responsible people elected!

I have, and I do! I firmly believe that our elections are not on the up and up. That’s all I’ll say at this time, but there will be a reckoning.

Do you work slow? Are you barely competent? Do you have an attitude? Are you a D, C or B- student? Do you think you’re worth 5 times more than you really are but will settle for getting paid double what you’re worth? Do you hate having to constantly pull your weight in a highly competitive free market?

If you answered yes, Government is the perfect employer for you. If you don’t have an A game or even a B+ game, government is the best employment gig in California–by far.

When I worked in state government, the governor (I think it was Pete Wilson), proposed merit based pay increases. The union and union members went absolutely bonkers because everyone had to be treated the same based on job classification and longevity.

It was then that I knew I had to quit.

The government system so flies in the face of economic reality that it makes my head spin.

Pay attention to Greece. It’s a preview of coming attractions.


The Feudal Lords get their stipend from the King and Court while the masses outside the walls of the Kingdom (Government) pay more in taxes and get less services.

But hey….you suckers elected these people and put up with it, so get back to work, earn that money and pay your taxes so the elite can live well on your backs!

Two people spoke against the raises, which come on the heels of the passage of Measure G. . Ms. Irons claimed the pension costs were included, which was NOT true. She claimed she could not find any comparisons with the private sector pay. Hello, ever heard of the US Census? The city employees are very well paid and have job security and incredible benefits in comparison to everyone in the private sector and even compared to state employees.

At a time when the city owes over $150 MILLION to CalPERS for pensions for retired city employees, the last thing the city should be doing is increasing that debt by these raises.

But then, voters were dumb enough to pass Measure G after the first time around, when the money went into salaries and benefits; why should we expect anything else this time?

Ultimately the city will either have to pay off its CalPERS debts or go bankrupt, according to new court rulings. This was a terrible decision that in the end will hurt ALL city employees, retired and current.

No one is forcing these people to work there; if they are unhappy about their pay they can always leave. Good luck! There will be a line around the block to take their job!

Why would they be unhappy when raises can be conjured out of thin air unlike in the real world where you have to increase your value to receive a raise?

As far as the City’s unfunded pension liabilities, why should they care when the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) will bail them out with taxpayer money if they cannot meet their obligations.

All roads point back to you and me.

When are taxpayers going to get a raise?

Greece anyone?

You mean, like a tax hike?

I still recall that time in the Clark Center for a combined school musical function, and when the school board PhD flunky announced that all three tax-increases passed for the schools the audience cheered.

That’s when I knew I was in the belly of the beast. The ignorant, low-information, no clue on history or past performances crowd.

They cheered their own tax increase. THAT is how stupid most people have become.

So, the Indians got a pair of 2% pay increases, while management positions got much bigger bumps. Pays to be a chief!

2%/yr doesn’t even keep up with the rate of inflation, especially when factoring in the spike in health care costs. I wonder how long it had been since they had seen any raise at all? Comparatively speaking, many of them are making less today than they were years ago.

Keep in mind that if you are already here, you have done well. If you were in, let’s say, Oklahoma you probably could not afford to move here. The down side is that SLO is changing fast and the perks of the SLO Life are turning into a two job lifestyle with no retirement in sight unless you have a cush Gov job.

Then let them QUIT their “horrible jobs” and go out in the private sector…ha ha ha ….ya….I didn’t think so.