A photo of the exterior of the Riverside County Administrative Building in downtown Riverside.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors last week approved pay increases for elected officials in the county. (Alicia Ramirez/TN News)

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors last week approved salary increases for elected officials including the board, the sheriff and the district attorney in a 4-1 vote with Supervisor Kevin Jeffries voting against.

“I truly believe, and this won’t surprise any of my colleagues up here, this is a terrible mistake,” Jeffries said ahead of the vote. “This will not sit well with the taxpayers out there who probably make 60% of what we’re going to be paying ourselves at best, and I would just caution you that there’s a better way to do this. This is not the path that I believe this board should take.”

As part of the amended ordinances, the base annual salary for the supervisors will go from $190,783.22 to $226,359.49 — a 17% increase — in an effort to keep the base pay of the supervisors 14% above the highest paid chief of staff.

“Yes, it’s awkward to be voting on our own pay increases, it’s very awkward,” Board Chair Chuck Washington said. “But at the same time, I think it’s the most reasonable approach to making sure that the electeds are not being punished, because we’re afraid to make tough political decisions.”

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Other increases included bumping up the base salary for the assessor/county clerk/recorder from $195,191.98 to $247,859.40; the base salary for the County Auditor-Controller from $195,191.98 to $247,859.40; the base salary for the district attorney from $273,463.01 to $351,481.31; the base salary for the sheriff/coroner/public administrator from $273,463.01 to $347,771.57; and the base salary of the treasurer and tax collector from $195,191.98 to $247,859.40.

“I cannot disagree with Supervisor Jeffries, but there’s a point in this with this being all tied together,” Supervisor Karen Spiegel said. “Our elected officials, other than the five of us up here, have not had a raise in 10 years. Even [the] public has had raises most probably, and there was no path to get those raises for those other elected officials.”

The new base salaries are 14% above each respective department’s next highest paid staffer and will cost the county a total of $812,501 in the upcoming fiscal year, according to a staff report.

The supervisors will need to vote on the ordinances once more before they can go into effect. If approved at the June 4 meeting, the new salaries will go into effect Aug. 8 for the board of supervisors and July 11 for the remaining elected officials.

A full recording of the meeting can be found here on the county’s website.

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Alicia Ramirez is the publisher of TN News and the founder and CEO of its parent company TN News.

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