San Luis Obispo County administrators seeking large raises

June 20, 2022

SLO County Counsel Rita Neal


After battling against giving line-level staffers raises of more than 3% a year, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors is set to approve raises of up to 23% for county administrators and management staff.

As part of the consent agenda, on Tuesday the Board of Supervisors is slated to approve modest raises for the 2,400 line-level employees represented by unions and larger pay increases for administrators, department heads and management staff. County administrators recommend awarding raises to higher level employees that greatly exceeds what they propose for the county’s line level staff.

Proposed raises for the county’s 2,400 represented employees is slated to cost the county $4,620,091 this year and $5,253,091 the following year.

The proposed raises for the county’s 500 administrators, officials and management staffers is slated to cost $5,199,000 this year and $9,796,000 next year.

On top of the modest raises all county employees are slated to receive this year, many county administrators, officials and managements staffers are also in line to receive equity raises.

In order to determine equity raises, the county conducts a survey of a selected group of government agencies and private businesses and determines if the management wages in SLO County reach the average rate of the compared entities. If not, county administrators propose equity raises to meet the average.

Proposed yearly and equity raises for the next 25 months include a 23% bump in pay for the library support services director and a 22.72% raise for the library director.

Many managers and officials are in line for 17% to 19% pay increases, including County Administrative Officer Wade Horton, Health Agency Directors Penny Borenstein and Nick Drews, Animal Services Manager Eric Anderson, Deputy Agriculture Commissioner Martin Settevendemie, District Attorney Dan Dow, Assistant District Attorney Eric Dobroth and all social services division managers.

While the 15.56% increase in pay proposed for County Counsel Rita Neal appears to fall short of other department heads, it is in addition to a 20% pay hike the SLO County Board of Supervisors voted to give Neal in 2020 that provided her a compensation package of $374,579 a year.


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go to transparent california website. hundreds of city and ounty employees make over 200k a year. almost 100 make over 300k a year. they do nothing to deserve this. taxpayers should be allowed to approve increases. we let these freeloaders vote themselves raises and do nothing

Adam Trask

Pretty sure these people don’t “vote themselves raises.” It’s a process that has to be approved by the SLO Board of Supervisors, who, in my opinion, should all be voted out. Unfortunately, it looks like only Ms. Compton will be gone. Two more chances in 2024. Hopefully the voters will see this and say farewell to Ms. Arnold and Mr. Peschong. I wonder if CCN thought to interview any Board member for this story. Probably not, this site likes to demonize the government bureaucracy—you know, the people who actually do the work.


bureaucrats create the mindless work that keeps them employed. and they essentially vote themselves raises. has one outrageous raise ever been denied ?

do you work in the public sector adam ?


This of course is ridiculous at anytime but especially now, but we know this will pass. So here is an idea, go ahead give raises out but the percentage of the current budget used for salaries and benefits can’t change, so that creates a few options, if raises are given for some that would requires paying other less, we know that can’t be done so that leaves reducing total salaries needed, in other words cut the dead wood out.


It’s the pensions that bother me most, not the salaries. The pensions go on forever. Give them the salary and a 401(k) plan; no further liability on the county once they retire. If their retirement income were dependent on the economy maybe they’d make more fiscally responsible decisions or recommendations.


The wolf is in the hen house. Once again, the government steals from the real producers. Are you kidding me with what the average family is dealing with each day to make ends meet?

My ex-wife worked for the county for 20 years. It always amazed how the number one thing for department heads was to constantly request more increases for themselves and staff under them. This was 19 years ago. It’s obviously worse today.

I’ll say it again, both Rita Neal and Wade Horton need to be terminated.

Adam Trask

And yet, I’m guessing you support the reelection of Ms. Compton, Ms. Arnold and Mr. Peschong. Quite a contradiction.


Extra, Extra, read all about it – Free Money, Free Money, Free Money come get yours. Oh sorry, only enough for us highly educated government employees that you lowly peasants need to be grateful and pay homage to. This clown has no concept of a balanced budget – long-term. This year we are plush so let’s raid the coffers or is that rob the public pockets. What is the plan for the next five years with the shaky economy in the forecast? Oh, that is okay we will deal with that issue when it comes up. Ignore the facts (economic forecast) and line your pockets now, Wade. So the local infrastructure is crumbling under our feet because we lack sufficient funds to redo the roads, replace ailing water and wastewater lines, but damn we got extra cash burning a hole in our pockets – oh, that’s the public’s pockets. This is simply a robbing of the public to benefit a few. Oh, we better throw a couple dollars to the line staff who do the work, let’s call it %3 or %5 and then give ourselves %20 – %30.


How very convenient this matter never came up prior to the recent election!

Jorge Estrada

Now we can’t say we weren’t told in advance but guess what, I have tomorrow scheduled while they are giving themselves a pay raise. Did they take a COVID cut in pay or just not there?

Jorge Estrada

How about freeing up some of that public money to fund a lawyer which only represents the interests of the general public? County counsel represents the Staff which performs the business of government, helping them navigate the public apathy so that their interests will stick. Today that success has afforded the topic of pay raises, forget fixing roads because they’re good enough for today and tomorrow’s retirement will let someone else figure it out.


The public interest is supposed to be represented by our elected officials. Let them know we expect our tax dollars to benefit all county residents not just the county staff. No county employee should receive more than a 5% increase in any year.

Jorge Estrada

I have a police whistle you can blow at next Board meeting. That stunt is as effect as my spoken grievances, which the current Board had nothing to do with. While they may agree with me, it will take a filed legal action to resolve. This is why the public needs a tax payer funded counsel or extra money to hire private counsel for the public benefit.


Pavvo where r u?????

Michael A.

The Dot Com boom of 1999-2000 caused this push by public employee groups to demand and GET these crazy salary’s and pensions. But….as we all know The Dot Com wealth came and went. Not so with taxpayer funded salary’s and pensions.

Speaking of salary’s and pensions, have you seen ? It will give you the low down on the abuse, statewide. Prepare to be astonished.