(photo credit: Harlan Harris)
Tis the season of giving and one Fresno County Supervisor has taken that statement to heart. After a surprise pay raise, Supervisor Andreas Borgeas has decided contribute said pay raise to the county.
“The pay raise caught me off guard when I heard about it,” said Supervisor Andreas Borgeas. “It’s pretty disturbing for a number of reasons.”
You see, Fresno County Supervisors’ pay checks are tied to Superior Court Judges. So, if a decision is made, in Sacramento, to give those judges a bump in pay, it happens automatically for those on the local county level.
“It’s not a matter of discretion, it happens automatically.”
Just because it happens, doesn’t mean it sits well with Borgeas.
“It’s inappropriate, under the circumstances, because Fresno County has yet to establish and implement a program for equitable and competitive salary adjustments for our workforce. “
Right now, the County’s economic picture is not all that good. Fresno County’s unemployment rate is 12 percent, well above the state’s 8.3 percent.
On top of that, supervisors had decided to reduce paychecks on rank-and-file employees of between 2% and 9%.
The pay raise, according to Borgeas is modest, 1.4 percent.
Right now, Fresno County Supervisors make $107,273 a year. A 1.4 percent increase means an additional $1,500 next year, all of which, Borgeas says will go back into the County’s general fund.
Borgeas has a history of giving back. When he was a councilmember in the city of Fresno, he and his colleagues voluntarily donated a portion of their salaries to the city.
“We gave back portions of our salary because when the economic crisis hit, it was very difficult for us to expect or demand bargain units and other employees to take pay cuts when we, ourselves, hadn’t done that,” said Borgeas.
“You’ve got to lead from the front, not behind.”
The Supervisor believes, maybe, somewhere down the road when his constituents are seeing brighter days, he will feel more comfortable accepting a raise. For now, he’s good with what he’s got.
“Leadership, under these circumstances, needs to look after the best interest of the community and that includes the workforce because Fresno County has been losing a lot of talent and core personnel over the last four or five years. So, until we begin restoring a more equitable system and also making Fresno County more market competitive, it’s not in our best interest, as leaders, to accept pay raises,” said Borgeas.