County supervisors want pay raise
Colusa County Supervisors are considering a salary increase from $32,832 to $59,004 effective Jan. 1.
The board voted last week to hold a public hearing on the ordinance change on Oct. 22 and have made progress in creating a County Administrative Office, which would likely take over some of the supervisor's responsibilities, if implemented.
Supervisor Gary Evans said they are trying to aline their salaries with average supervisor salaries in other counties in the state — which would amount to a 79 percent increase.
They are striving for "a decent salaried wage so someone doesn't have to have a full-time job on the side," Evans said.
Supervisor Denise Carter said the salary needs to be more reflective of the workload.
"All of us have second jobs. For me, as an example, if I was able to make more money, maybe I could hire somebody to help with what I do on the ranch. ... We all work really, really hard," Carter said.
Evans said a lot of people have a misconception of the work they do. "It's not just sit in the board room every two weeks," he said.
"The phone's always ringing, and we're dealing with day-to-day operations of the departments."
Supervisor Kim Vann said the categories of duties under their responsibility include managing personnel issues, customer (or constituent) services, economic development, protecting the county from state and federal government and advocating for the county.
For example, Vann said, she has traveled to Washington, D.C., every year to make sure that the county receives payments owed to the county from the federal government after feds acquired grounds that were taken off the county tax rolls.
She said the funding for the payment in lieu of taxes was being taken out at appropriations so the county wouldn't receive the money, so she lobbied.
For the last few years, "we've received 88 percent of our payment — it's millions," Vann said.
She said the supervisors also helped Maxwell get $8 million from a USDA development grant to pay for their sewer ponds.
If not for the grant, "Maxwell PUD would have been responsible; it would have been citizens that had to pay," Vann said.
She said those kind of activities may be one reason Colusa County is "in a much better financial situation than other counties in the state.
"We're one of the only counties that haven't had furloughs or layoffs during the recession," Vann said.
With the potential creation of a County Administrative Office, the supervisors' responsibilities of managing personnel is expected to drastically decrease. Still, Evans said, they won't give up their work acting as liaisons to department heads, and with all of those roles, some things don't get done.
"Some things we don't get to because we're dealing with the weeds," Evans said, citing an example of a county motor pool he has wanted to organize for six years.
"Frankly, we don't have enough time to be proactive because we're putting out fires," Vann said.
When working to find an appropriate figure, Evans said, the supervisors wanted to follow the model of tying their salaries to that of the Superior Court judge, which is a common practice for setting supervisors' pay. The new ordinance would set their pay at 33 percent of judge's salary, which is set by the state.
The number is close to the average of nine other counties' salaries, including Yolo, Butte, Amador, Yuba, Shasta, Lake, Sutter, Tehama and Glenn.