Riverside County leaders seek pay freeze and vacant position cuts

County board hopes to save $500,000 in the current fiscal year without layoffs under proposal

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - In an attempt to save about $500,000 in the current fiscal year, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors is expected today to approve phasing out two executive positions and capping the salaries of three others.

Under a joint proposal of the Transportation and Land Management Agency and the Department of Human Resources, a total of five positions are slated for reclassification or elimination, but it's doubtful any employee will actually be laid off as a result, human resources chief Barbara Olivier told City News Service.

According to Olivier, with the board's approval, two deputy director of transportation positions will be axed. Only one of the posts is occupied, and that employee will be eligible to compete for the still-open assistant director of transportation job. However, if she doesn't get it, she can be "bumped back to a lower position," Olivier said.

"It's possible that somewhere down the line, somebody will be laid off because of this," Olivier said.  "We haven't determined that yet."

Positions due for so-called "salary grade reductions" are: building and safety official, code enforcement official and planning director.

The code enforcement slot, which with the board's approval will go from a maximum potential annual salary of $214,718 to $183,213, is not occupied.

The building and safety manager would be capped at an annual salary of $183,213, which he hasn't reached. However, the planning director would, under the proposed changes, be at the top tier of pay and benefits allowed for the position, essentially "freezing" the employee at that level, according to Olivier.   

Because the board had allocated funds for the vacant positions at the start of the 2012-13 fiscal year but the money will not be used, the unspent revenue is counted as a savings to the county. That accounting method plus the phasing out of one job and the new ceilings placed on the others will leave the county with an additional $500,000 this fiscal year, according Olivier.

The changes will net the county an estimated $350,000 in savings in 2013-14 as well, she said.

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