Contra Costa County Supervisors To Reconsider Pay Hike

In the face of mounting opposition, Contra Costa County supervisors appear poised to rescind a 33 percent pay raise that they approved for themselves last year.

On Tuesday, incoming Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors chairman John Gioia said he would place the item on the Jan. 13 agenda. Two other members, Chairwoman Karen Mitchoff and Supervisor Candace Andersen--the lone dissenter in last year's vote--have already said they would vote to rescind the increase. 

Just days before the announcement, county union employees submitted nearly 40,000 signatures to the clerk of the board on petitions calling for a referendum on the pay hike. For a referendum to be successful, 25,400 valid signatures are needed.

"If the (signature) numbers prove correct, then I would think we will take it up and move to rescind the ordinance and give direction for a new ordinance," Mitchoff said.

The supervisors voted 4-1 to tie their salaries to those of Superior Court judges on October 28, effectively bumping their yearly pay from around $97,400 to more than $129,000. The move sparked a backlash from county worker groups and taxpayer organizations, who called the increase unfair.

"The workers in this county who have made sacrifices for the past seven years have reason to be outraged," said Local 1 general manager, Peter Nguyen, at a rally on Friday. "We answered the call. The most we got was 4 percent. Then the supervisors stepped to the front of the line."

Gioia heeded those concerns Tuesday, while also expressing concern over the cost to taxpayers. Still, he noted, the county’s supervisors “are the lowest-paid in any urban county in the state” and have not seen a raise since 2007. Gioia also said supervisors would consider linking their salaries to an economic index to prevent them from having to vote on their own pay in the future.

Read more about the increasingly elusive pay raise here.