Pay Raise Rejection in Tulare County

Tulare, CA, USA Pete Vander Poel, Supervisor, says "I plan to lead by example and I will not be accepting my raise."

Under pressure from labor unions, Supervisors Pete Vander Poel, Phil Cox and Mike Ennis have agreed to give back their 4.5% pay raise. And the other two may soon follow suit.

Allen Ishida, Supervisor, "I have not made a decision that I'm going to take it or not take it. It depends on what we see in the coming days and unfortunately every day gets dimmer than the day before."

In recent weeks, several people questioned why supervisors approved a raise for themselves back in September and then proceeded to lay off 225 employees and shut down two low-cost health clinics. The board also approved a much smaller raise for other county workers and now even those raises might become casualties of the budget crisis.

Supervisors Chairman Phil Cox ordered a public meeting for February 10th to talk about eliminating pay raises for all employees

Phil Cox says "We will have a public open discussion and look at every department countywide and look and see what direction we ought to be moving."

Cox said pay cuts could be coming for some employees, as well -- a move that would save the county millions of dollars each year. Fellow supervisor Pete Vander Poel said the county needs to be run like a business to survive.

Vander Poel says "When you're laying off employees I don't think anyone in the county should be receiving a raise, not just supervisors. I'm talking about the lowest of low employees all the way to the top."

Virginia Perigo, a retired Tulare County clinic worker says about the current employees, "I know they're probably not going to be happy about it but I think they should be glad they've still got a job."

Supervisors say pay cuts now could prevent even more drastic moves in the future.


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