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Does the County Administrator Deserve a Raise?

The County Supes will vote on a 4 percent pay bump for David Twa Tuesday.

The Contra Costa Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a new contract and a raise for county administrator David Twa.

Twa, who makes $250,000 a year now, will get a roughly 4 percent boost to $260,000, if the supes approve the contract. It’s a good wage, but Twa is not the highest paid employee on the county payroll. The State Controller’s government compensation database lists 21 workers in Contra Costa County making more than $250,000 in 2011, including several doctors and a deputy district attorney who earned $385,000 in total wages that year.

CoCo County may be getting a good deal. In neighboring Alameda County, the administrator earned $423,000 in 2011, according to the State Controller, despite overseeing only 9,300 employees compared to Contra Costa County’s 11,300 workers.

Here’s the full text of the fiscal impact of the contract:

Salary base of $260,000, an increase of approximately 4% from last contract. Increase of 3 1/3 hours of monthly vacation accruals for a maximum of 23 1-3 hours per month.  In lieu of the deferred compensation benefit provided for in the Management Resolution, deferred compensation contribution in the amount of $23,000 will be added to the County Administrator's County deferred compensation account annually.

The contract negotiated in 2008 allowed for base pay of $250,000 and an adjustment for Pay for Performance up to 5% increase or decrease of up to five percent in a fiscal year.  Due to severe fiscal constraints since that time, the County Administrator's salary has not been increased even though he met or exceeded all of his performance goals and merited such an increase.  

In fact as with the majority of County employees, the County Administrator's salary was reduced.

Casey February 13, 2013 at 10:43 PM
2 months of vacation is ridiculous. If the job is so important how can we spare the administrator for that many days????
Ryan February 14, 2013 at 05:54 PM
Here is what most people don't realize. Accrued vacation does not equal redeemed vacation. In my case I seldom used it, and when I left an employer I was compensated for that time. It's deferring your compensation at one pay rate (P1), accumulating hours (H), to then be compensated at a later date--when you assume you'll have a higher pay rate (P2) for each hour accumulated in the past (H). The math is simple: P1 x H = V1 and P2 x H = V2...Where V1 = the value to the administrator under pay rate while hours earned, and V2 = the value to the administrator under pay rate at end of employment when pay rate is the highest...The difference between them (V2-V1=G), where G = the additional cost to employ him/her. So the administrator will make a killing later when hours are redeemed, compared to if we (the citizens) had to compensate based on his pay rate at the time the hours were earned. Pretty smart really. Think about it: Doesn't raise eyebrows (really) with a $250k salary--figures doesn't want to look too far out of line with public sector employees, then gets another 1/6th salary paid as vacation accruals at some point in the future when it is expected that the value of those accruals will be far greater (V1) than they would have been had they been redeemed at the value while earned (V2), which means we cash administrator out with lump sum (G). Assuming no cap on accruals... Is that the best way to pay--or incentivize our employees? Maybe...I don't know.
Ryan February 14, 2013 at 05:55 PM
I realize I lost most people at "The math" unfortunately...
Ryan February 14, 2013 at 06:06 PM
I'm fine with total compensation package, so long as: * There are reasonable limitations on vacation accrual totals * Redemption of accruals at V1 (value at time earned) *The total value of compensation package is competitive with other competitive private sector positions (preferably it is valued between 10-20% LESS than a competitive private sector position--since let's face it, once they're in guvm'nt, they don't leave--which tells me there's tremendous job security unlike in the "real world"). *The candidate we hire is the best one for the job--and is reasonably priced... *And finally, (here's the kicker) so long a the job is getting done as well as a private employer could... ...it's a wishlist...doesn't mean it has to be realistic...
Casey February 14, 2013 at 06:24 PM
The purpose of vacation is to give people a break. If they don't take it, maybe they don't need it and maybe we shouldn't be paying for it. Better yet, as in my private sector job, only allow two years of vacation to be accrused, use it or lose it. I wouldn't be complaining if we were in good fiscal shape, but it appears that we are not and we've been too generous w/ pensions that we can't afford.

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