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Citrus Heights rep only ‘no’ vote on 36% pay hike for county board

A screenshot from a May 23, 2023, live broadcast shows the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors chambers.

By Phillip Pesola–
An area taxpayers advocacy group is praising Supervisor Sue Frost and blasting a recent 4-1 decision by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors to raise their own salaries by 36 percent.

The Sacramento Bee reported that the board’s decision was made last month without any public discussion, as it was part of a “consent calendar” block of more than 50 items that were voted on as a whole. The raise will result in the supervisors’ annual salaries increasing from $127,000 to $173,000, retroactive to February of this year.

Frost, who lives in Citrus Heights and represents the area on the board, cited financial struggles faced by her constituents as a reason for opposing the pay raise.

“There’s a part of me that wants to support this item, but I’m just not gonna be able to, because I think given the fact that many of my constituents are suffering from increased inflation and increased prices, it’s difficult to give myself a raise at the same time others are suffering,” The Bee quoted Frost saying during a prior meeting on April 18 when the raise was first discussed.

During that April meeting, Supervisor Phil Serna sought to clarify that the raise was not requested by any board member, but was instead brought forward by staff. County Executive Ann Edwards confirmed during the meeting that a routine salary survey indicated that the Sacramento supervisors’ salary was below the median when compared to other counties, which prompted county staff to propose the increase.

In a news release last week, the Sacramento Taxpayers Association (SacTax) was harshly critical of the decision, specifically condemning the timing of the raise, considering the county’s economic challenges, and denouncing the use of the consent calendar to bypass public scrutiny.  The statement said Alameda County was unfairly cited as comparable to Sacramento County and a reason for the pay increase, with SacTax noting that housing prices in the affluent Bay Area county are double what they are in Sacramento. The organization also noted that the new salary is now just $1,000 less than that of a US Congress member, which stands at $174,000.

“I can guarantee you that if we pay $173,000 for a county supervisor, we will not get a better supervisor than if we pay $127,000,” SacTax President Bruce Lee said in the June 12 statement. “Money is not the issue and should not be the motivation. Public duty and service should be the reward in itself.”

The Sacramento Taxpayers Association was also active locally during the 2020 election, helping organize opposition to the Measure M sales tax proposal in Citrus Heights.

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