Six elected officials granted first pay increase since 2007

By Debra Moore

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It’s been 15 years since six elected officials in Plumas County received a pay increase: the assessor, auditor, clerk-recorder, district attorney, treasurer-tax collector and sheriff.

That changed today, Feb. 15, when the county’s five other elected officials — the Plumas County Board of Supervisors — voted to grant their counterparts a 10 percent cost of living increase and tied future increases to the board’s own annual cost of living increases.

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“As the board receives the COLA, elected officials will receive it as well,” said Nancy Selvage, the county’s human resources director.

Supervisor Greg Hagwood said that the county has lost four elected officials during the past 24 months and he knows that “this issue factored into their decision to leave.” Most recently the county’s auditor, Roberta Allen, resigned her position to take an assistant position in Sierra County where even though it had less responsibility, it paid more.

Board chairman Kevin Goss said that thus far no one has applied to be appointed to the vacant auditor position, nor has taken out papers to run for the position, which is on the June 7 Primary ballot.

“These are critical positions,” Selvage said.

Goss said that other counties handle elected officials’ pay differently, with some tying increases to that of the appointed officials.

However Hagwood supported tying the increases to the supervisors. “There is already a system in place,” he said, “and this grossly overdue.” He said the fact that it’s been acceptable for the board members to receive annual cost of living increases, but not the other six elected officials is hypocritical. “This has been grossly inequitable,” he reiterated. “It’s high time the other electeds are treated the same way.”

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Selvage said that the increased costs could be absorbed by the departments.

Supervisor Jeff Engel reminded his fellow board members of his stance on raises. “I’ve known the financial position the county has been in, and that’s why I haven’t taken the raise.”

Hagwood responded  that it would be fair to give others the same opportunity to turn down a raise.

The supervisors voted unanimously to take the first step in approving the pay increase, which would be retroactive to Feb. 15, once the process is complete.

District Attorney David Hollister, who has advocated for the elected officials, expressed is appreciation for the board’s decision later in the day. “I thought it was great news and I am very appreciative to the board,” he said. He said the pay increase and commitment to ongoing cost-of-living increases hopefully will aid the county in enticing individuals to seek these positions.