Riverside County leaders to consider big raises for top elected officials

Sheriff and District Attorney would see $50,000 annual pay hikes under the proposal targeting the county's top office holders

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Riverside County supervisors will consider today whether to grant pay increases averaging 21 percent for five elected officials.

The Department of Human Resources is proposing the upward adjustments, which will elevate the base salaries of several officials to levels that are well above those received by their counterparts in neighboring counties.

Human Resources chief Michael Stock justified the raises by pointing out that without them, the assessor-clerk-recorder, auditor-controller, district attorney, sheriff and treasurer-tax collector would potentially be making less than their most senior staff members.

Union contracts and separate pay schedules ratified by the Board of Supervisors for executive-level employees have created salary disparities known as ``compaction,'' scenarios under which the most high-ranking officials receive total compensation that's actually less than those working for them.

According to Stock, the five elected officials in line for salary increases haven't received any adjustments in pay since 2008. Stock also noted that ``a recent external market salary survey'' comparing the earnings of similarly placed officials elsewhere supported the increases.

Outgoing Assessor-Clerk-Recorder Larry Ward would receive a 20.68 percent raise, increasing his salary from $165,727 to $200,000.

Auditor-Controller Paul Angulo would receive the same percentage increase and salary.

Outgoing District Attorney Paul Zellerbach would see his salary rise 22.33 percent, from $223,166 to $273,000.

Sheriff Stan Sniff would receive the same adjustment, in the same amount.

Treasurer-Tax Collector Don Kent would get the same hike proposed for the assessor-clerk-recorder and auditor-controller.

Under the revised salary schedule, there would be an automatic -- though comparatively smaller -- pay adjustment again in July 2015, adding another $4,000 a year to the assessor's, auditor's and treasurer's salaries, and another $5,000 a year for the district attorney's and sheriff's.

The proposed changes would put the district attorney's salary 29 percent above the base annual salary of the San Bernardino County district attorney -- and 34 percent above that of the Orange County district attorney, according to salary schedules provided by those two counties.

The sheriff, similarly, would be receiving pay that's roughly one-fifth more than that paid to his counterpart in San Bernardino County and one-third more than the sheriff of Orange County.

San Bernardino County shares a population nearly identical in size to Riverside County, while Orange County's population is 40 percent larger, according to census figures.

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