County officials receive raises

SAN JOSE
– Santa Clara County supervisors unanimously approved pay
increases for the county’s top three elected department heads
Tuesday, but rejected a plan to provide them new, additional cash
bonuses of up to $30,000 each.
SAN JOSE – Santa Clara County supervisors unanimously approved pay increases for the county’s top three elected department heads Tuesday, but rejected a plan to provide them new, additional cash bonuses of up to $30,000 each.

Supervisors granted Sheriff Laurie Smith, District Attorney George Kennedy and Assessor Larry Stone raises of between 6 and 7.5 percent Tuesday.

Kennedy will now earn $222,422 a year, Smith $181,072 and Stone $150,605, according to a county staff report.

But a second part of a proposed salary plan – a new benefits package that would grant the officials payments of between $20,000 and $30,000 each – fell victim to the budgetary axe. The payments were meant to be made in lieu of paid vacation time, which those officials currently don’t receive.

The new benefits would have come at a time when the county faces at least a $70 million budget deficit, plus the prospect of millions of dollars more in potential impacts from the state’s nearly $30 billion shortfall.

“Times are tough,” said District 1 County Supervisor Don Gage of the decision to axe the bonuses.

Supervisors approved raises for several non-elected department heads raises last week, including roughly 15 percent boosts for County Counsel Ann Ravel and Public Defender Jose Villareal and an 11.6 percent increase for Clerk of the Board Phyllis Perez.

Many rank-and-file county employees received a raise of roughly 6 percent this year.

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