The Madera County Board of Supervisors voted this month to give certain members a slight cost of living adjustment increase, ending a contentious salary debate in which the board was considering a 25 percent pay bump.
The board’s base pay can now be up to 42 percent of the income of a Superior Court judge, currently set at about $184,000. On April 7 the board voted 5-0 to give a pay raise to members who have served six or more years in office. The new salary will go from $73,844 to $77,536 annually. Only District 4 Supervisor Max Rodriguez and District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler will get the pay raise immediately. District 2 Supervisor David Rogers has served on the board five years, one year short of the required amount for the pay increase.
County Administrative Officer Eric Fleming proposed the board raise the salary of all its members by 5 percent. District 1 Supervisor Brett Frazier, who was elected to office for the first time in November, said he didn’t deserve the pay increase.
“I’m still new. I already took a substantial increase just getting in the position,” Frazier said. “The supervisors who’ve been here awhile deserve this.”
Last year county staff proposed that the annual salary go from $71,515 to $92,306. At the time supervisors’ salaries, by law, could be up to 40 percent of the income of a Superior Court judge.
Board members had fallen far below that standard because of years of not taking raises due to the recession. Madera supervisors’ pay has remained the same since 2007. However, some county employees objected to the 2014 proposal because it was a nearly 25 percent increase following three straight years in which workers took furloughs.
Wheeler said several county positions made more than the supervisors prior to the latest cost of living adjustment, including assessor, county clerk, district attorney, sheriff/coroner, tax collector, auditor-controller
“When I really got to looking at this six months ago it just bothered me,” Wheeler said. “It just don’t make sense to me how that works. I just don’t understand why the supervisors, who oversee all those departments plus 1,100 people, aren’t in line with the others.”
Wheeler said Madera County’s 13 bargaining units received 5 percent COLAs so the supervisors should have one as well. He said he’s worked most of his life and he’s never done a job where he’s worked harder than he does now as a supervisor.
Rodriguez said the extra money is not a large amount. “I think we deserve it. The people that see what we do, they won’t think we’re outrageous,” he said.