Fresno County managers to get pay raise

FRESNO, California

Tops on the pay boost is County CAO John Navarette. He'll be getting a raise of about $35,000 a year. Raising his pay from $178,000 to more than $213,000.

The raise didn't sit well with many of the rank and file county workers who packed the Fresno County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday.

Marie Cortez asked the board, "How can you consider giving the CAO a raise that is more than my annual salary. Shame on whoever can vote yes on these raises."

But the supervisors who support the raises say the increases for Navarette and the Department heads are needed to stop the brain drain of executives leaving for other counties that pay more.

Supervisor Judy Case said, "We've lost a large number of department heads who've left and gone somewhere else."

Fourteen of the county's department heads got boosts from 9 to 12 percent. The roughly 175 senior managers received raises of from 3 to 5 percent.

Supervisor Debbie Poochigian defended the increases pointing out they haven't had raises, and have taken pay cuts for 5 years.

Poochigian explained, "I think it's only fair to start with the two groups at the very bottom of our chart that have gotten nothing since 2008 and took a cut even though they got nothing since 2008."

But non-management workers told the board they've also suffered. Many were hit with a 9 percent pay cut.

County employee Debbie Truss told the board, "You have to help us too. We also have families we have to take care of, when you talk about raises consider giving us one too and give us our money back."

Supervisor Andreas Borgeas and Henry Perea opposed the pay raises.

Perea said, "This is wrong on so many levels I don't even know where to start."

Both Perea and Borgeas felt the county should hold off on the management raises until all county workers could get a boost, in a year or two. But in the end a board majority passed the increases, which will take effect starting next week.

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