The Madera County Board of Supervisors will consider increasing their pay checks, and providing “longevity pay” for elected county department heads during a regular board meeting Aug. 23.
Currently, supervisors Tom Wheeler, Max Rodriguez, and David Rogers are paid $79,397 annually, while Rick Farinelli and Brett Frazier are paid $75,616. The salaries for Wheeler, Rodriguez and Rogers are based on 42% of what Madera County Superior Court judges make while Farinelli and Frazier’s pay is based on 40% of the judges salary.
The proposal is to raise the 40% to 50% for Farinelli and Frazier as supervisors with 0-5 years of service, and from 42% to 52.5% for Wheeler, Rodriguez and Rogers with more than 6 years. If the five board members approve the percentage increase, it would raise the salary for Wheeler, Rodriguez and Rogers to $99,246 and Farinelli and Frazier to $94,520.
If approved, the increases would take effect Dec. 1.
By comparison, county supervisors in Fresno are paid $113,425 (60% of Superior Court judges), Kern $105,059 (55%), Merced $100,059 (53%), Tulare $90,381 (48%), and Kings $74,009 (34%).
Supervisors will also consider longevity pay for six elected county department heads.
Those department heads include Sheriff Jay Varney (current salary $165,624), District Attorney David Linn ($174,252), Assessor Gary Svanda ($137,136), Auditor-Controller Todd Miller ($146,952), Clerk-Recorder Rebecca Martinez ($124,620) and Treasurer-Tax Collector Tracy Kennedy ($134,616).
The scale would provide a 5% increase to those amounts after five years of service, and an additional 5% after eight years of service. The elected department heads would be the last people in the county to receive the longevity pay if approved. A similar scale has been in place for the supervisors, with a one-time 5% increase after five years of service.
The recommendations are from Madera County Administrative Officer Eric Fleming. After a compensation study by Cooperative Personnel Services of Sacramento last year, it was recommended county salaries be adjusted to the median of surrounding counties.
According to Fleming, the study was done to make sure Madera County was being competitive with neighboring counties.
“We kept losing sheriff deputies, correctional officers, and other key positions to neighboring counties,” Fleming said. “We needed to do what we could to stop the exodus because we invest tens of thousands of dollars training these individuals and we lose that investment when they leave ... not to mention the many benefits of keeping experienced, trained and seasoned employees.”
Supervisors implemented the portion of the study that covered all public safety positions in January and the reminder of the positions in July. Although the actual increases varied by position, on average, there was a 10% increase in salaries for all positions according to Fleming. The five members of the board of supervisors were the only people county-wide that did not receive a salary adjustment at the time.