Colusa County tweaks employee payment
Colusa County is handing the responsibility of paying for retirement to its employees — including the elected officials.
No longer will the county pay for the employees' PERS contributions or even their Social Security.
In turn, the Board of Supervisors are compensating the employees for those additional costs through their wages and salaries.
It is essentially a 14 percent increase in pay effective Jan. 1, but is basically cost neutral for the county.
The employees will not see the increase as the PERS and Social Security payments will be automatic payroll deductions.
And while some employees may see a slight increase in their take-home pay, others will actually see less money. That was the only way for the county to break even.
Additionally, the longevity increases — or salary steps — will now be given at 2.5 percent every two years instead of 5 percent every four years for all groups.
The real savings to the county will come as new employees are hired.
Those hired after the start of this year will not receive as lucrative of a retirement package as the employees who were hired prior to Jan. 1.
Agreements were recently reached with the Colusa County Employees Association, the Deputy Sheriff's Association and the Management Coalition.
The memorandum of understanding with the management group includes a 0.8 percent increase effective July 1 to replace two management leave days each year.
That group also will receive at 1 percent pay hike on Jan. 1, 2014, and a 3 percent increase on July 1, 2015.
CCEA will get a 1 percent pay hike on Jan. 1, 2014, and a 3 percent jump on July 1, 2015.
For the Deputy Sheriff's Association, the 1 percent hike will come on July 1, 2014, and the 3 percent increase will come on July 1, 2015.
The higher salaries will likely mean a higher PERS premium for the county, but it is not viewed as substantial, officials said.
The recalculation of PERS at the higher salary levels will also likely mean those employees will see more money in post-employment checks.
The board was still negotiating with unelected department heads and unrepresented employees such as the personnel director and some members of the county counsel's office.
Those discussions were held in closed session on Tuesday.
The elected officials, with District Attorney John Poyner as spokesman, presented their offer to the board in open session as required by law.
The basics of the agreements are fundamentally the same when it comes to offsetting the cost of PERS and Social Security, though some officials will see a fairly sharp cut in take-home pay, nearly $360 a month.
The dates and other elements of the pay raises still have to be ironed out.
There are some other differences in the negotiations since the elected officials do not get all the same benefits, and Poyner is specifically asking for a $200 monthly stipend for use of his own vehicle.
The other elected officials who do not use county cars already receive that benefit.
The board was scheduled to address the elected officials proposal again later Tuesday, the results of that were not available in time for publication.
Supervisors wanted to see what impact the proposal would have on the budget, and particularly on the current 2012-13 fiscal plan.
Final decisions on the elected officials' package, as well as those other employee groups were not expected until at least Thursday when the board will meet again in a special session.