SLO County delays vote on administrator raises

June 22, 2022

By KAREN VELIE

Amid outrage from line-level employees, San Luis Obispo County Director of Human Resources Tami Douglas-Schatz removed staff’s request to approve raises of up to 23% for county administrators and management from Tuesday’s agenda, with plans to bring it back in the future.

On the consent agenda, county management staff proposed modest raises of under 3% a year for the 2,400 line-level employees represented by unions, and larger pay increases for the 500 administrators, elected officials, department heads and management staff. The administrator raises are slated to cost the county $5,199,000 this year and $9,796,000 next year.

Multiple members of the community voiced outrage on several radio stations following a CalCoastNews exclusive on the proposed raises.

At the start of public comment, Douglas-Schatz announced she was pulling the request, but did not explain why. She also did not say when she planned to bring the item back to the board.

Supervisor John Peschong did not attend Tuesday’s meeting. With only four supervisors in attendance, it is possible the proposed management raises would have failed in a 2-2 vote.

In opposition to the proposed raises, the Coalition of Labor Agriculture & Business of San Luis Obispo County (COLAB) Government Affairs Director Mike Brown argued that the county’s plan to provide management staff with large equity raises was based on an unsustainable, obsolete model.

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.


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Last Individual

This equity pay increase system is absurd. After a time, everyone will be paid the same without regard to skill, intelligence, knowledge, honesty, work ethic, etc. Just to demonstrate the result of this ridiculous method of setting pay, I created a small model and a graph showing the results of running the model. I could not figure out a way to display the graph here in my comment, so I put it where it is available to see at the following link.


https://1drv.ms/u/s!AvzWAT3N27f0gzB9qg3Rk24Ds1yR?e=iB1KlH


Two counties, County 1 and County 2 each have a Chief of Whatever. County 1 currently pays their Chief of Whatever, $100 per hour. County 2 currently pays their Chief of Whatever $200 per hour. (The units of pay are irrelevant. It could be donkeys per fortnight, and the results are the same.) The numbers at the bottom of the graph represent pay increase cycles. These could be yearly but not necessarily.


At each pay increase cycle, County 1 increases the pay of their Chief of Whatever to be the average of the pay of both counties. Within about five pay raise cycles, both Chiefs are making essentially the same amount of money. It happens even faster if the original disparity in pay is small.


This assumes the Chief of Whatever at County 2 never gets a raise. If the Chief of Whatever at County 2 is getting a modest 3% pay increase each pay raise cycle, within three cycles, the Chief of Whatever at County 1 is making more than the Chief of Whatever at County 2 did initially, and at the end of three cycles, they are both making essentially $300 per hour or donkeys (or whatever). They’re in charge of whatever. The effect is essentially the same if there are seven counties instead of two.


This system is not sustainable. The reason their current pay is so absurd, is because this ridiculous pay system has already been in use for a long time. We are already beyond cycle 15, and it is still going higher. Where does it stop?


This reminds me of the story of the Indiana legislature which in 1897 was on the verge of passing a law that Pi was henceforth equal to three. Someone convinced an entire legislature that not only was it within their power to set the value of Pi, but that it was a good idea to do so. How does this pertain to the unsustainable pay raise system in use? The concepts are similar. Our county is ignoring basic math and thinks it’s a good idea.


Jorge Estrada

They are our employees, do you feel they are entitled to a budgeted raise? Additionally some of these high paid jobs should be elected, like County Counsel for example. That job should be elected by the general public to represent the general public and not be appointed by our employees. You can see where a conflict of interest arises, promoting themselves not the public they serve. That said, I support those who do the work and a budget shift for providing improved health and public safety, yes, roads too.


mullyman

Confused on what you are talking about.You say they are our employees but after they are in office we have no control over what they do until next election so a lot of damage is done without our control. The whole political system is designed around a conflict of interests. The people in the field physically doing the work are the ones providing the health and safety and are paid the least.


mullyman

None of these fools needs to get a raise as they already make a lot more than the pay for their jobs should be. When will you voters learn and vote these bloodsuckers out


my.02

You forgot to mention that this elite tier of County employees recently gave themselves a 5% “sixth step” not available to the majority of employees.