Supervisor Andersen Refused to Accept a Huge Payraise

On October 28 and November 4, 2014, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, in a 4-1 vote, gave themselves a 33% or $32,00 raise.  This would have brought their salaries up from $97,483 to $129,227 a year.

Supervisor Candace Andersen was the lone “no” vote.  She opposed it because she felt it was too large an increase.  She had been elected on a platform of fiscal responsibility and knew that her constituents would not support a raise of this magnitude.  Quite simply, for her as an elected official, voting “no” was the right thing to do.

From a leadership perspective, Supervisor Andersen also felt compelled to reject this raise.  The County has over 9000 employees who work very hard to implement the policies set by the Board of Supervisors.  Most had received a 4% Cost of Living Adjustment in 2014 and she did not believe it was appropriate as a leader to accept a 33% increase.  Her belief is that to be effective one leads by example, and by demonstrating sacrifice and respect.

Despite her “no” vote, Supervisor Andersen was eligible to receive the 33% raise. However, she chose instead to execute a waiver rejecting her right to the large raise, and instead agreeing to receive the same pay raises going forward as those given to County employees which included a 4% Cost of  Living Adjustment in 2014 and a 3% increase in 2015.

Following much community outrage over the pay raise, close to 40,000 signatures were gathered and filed with the County Clerk for a referendum to overturn the ordinance authorizing the raise.  Rather than having an election on this issue, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to rescind the 33% pay raise.

In March of 2015 the Board of Supervisors voted to give themselves the same 7% raise Supervisor Andersen was going to accept per her waiver.  At the same time, they also formed an Ad hoc committee to look at the Supervisors’ salary to determine if it was the right amount and to determine how pay raises should be set in the future.  This committee was comprised of an individual representing:  the Civil Grand Jury; the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association; the East Bay Leadership Council; the Contra Costa County Labor Council; and the Contra Costa County Human Service Alliance.

The  Ad hoc committee determined that the Board of Supervisors should receive an additional 12% raise spread over three years beginning January 1, 2016.  If reductions were made in County employees’ salaries, the Board would take a proportional reduction.  Every three years a committee would be convened again to review compensation.

The ad hoc committee also recommended that the Board policy of receiving both an auto allowance and reimbursement for mileage be discontinued, except for out of County travel.  Consensus by the Board of Supervisors could not be reached on the issue of mileage.  A compromise was reached to allow for mileage outside of each other Supervisor’s district.  However, because Supervisor Andersen felt that the recommendations of the committee should have been accepted in their entirety, taking the issue of total compensation out of the Board’s hands, she will not be submitting requests for mileage, except for out of County travel.