Napa County supervisors are seeing their annual base salaries rise from $94,182 annually to $96,928 annually, though they themselves didn’t have to do the lifting.
The salary for the Board of Supervisors is set on automatic pilot at 47.09 percent of a Superior Court judge salary, a formula supervisors approved in 2005. The state recently granted judges a 2.89 percent raise.
All the Board of Supervisors had to do at its Sept. 11 meeting was amend county records to reflect the new pay reality. The new salary is $3,728 every two weeks, not counting benefits.
Overall compensation for employees is higher than the base salaries, given benefits and other pay. For example, the overall compensation package for various Napa County supervisors in 2017 was $136,000 to $140,000, according to Transparent California.
Supervisor Belia Ramos made a few comments on the raise. She noted the county has looked at compensation for employees and managers in recent years, but hasn’t set its own salary structure in more than a decade.
“I certainly do think it’s time we look at the potential for compaction for the Board and ensure that the Board’s compensation is in line with that of our counterparts in comparable counties,” Ramos said.
Salary compaction refers to the pay relationship between managerial or supervisorial employees and subordinates.
County Executive Officer Minh Tran also addressed the issue of the Board of Supervisors salary.
“It is very low compared to the other comparable county boards of supervisors,” Tran said. “I know times have changed and the demand on the (Napa) Board has been greater than years past.”
Staff will do a study and come back to the Board at a future date, he said.
Yolo County supervisors earn $67,064 annually, Solano County supervisors earn $106,020 annually and Sonoma County supervisors earn $154,384 annually, according to those counties. That doesn’t necessarily include raises made this summer.
According to Transparent California, more than 300 of about 1,400 Napa County employees have higher base salaries than county supervisors. For example, these higher-paid workers include some -but not all—county planners and deputy sheriffs.
Among elected Napa County positions, the district attorney earns $227,884, the sheriff-coroner earns $227,531, the assessor-recorder-county clerk earns $190,320, the auditor-controller earns $188,364 and the treasurer-tax collector earns $183,019.
The median annual household income in Napa County is $74,609, according to the American Community Survey.
Napa County supervisors a few decades ago had to vote for each salary hike. At times, that proved contentious with the voting public. In 1989, supervisors decided to set their salaries – then at $26,000 annually—at 40 percent of a Superior Court judge’s salary.
The percentage varied in following years, with supervisors lowering it during the early 1990s recession and then raising it during the economic boom of the late 1990s.
The most recent of the formula adjustments came in 2005, when supervisors settled on 47.09 percent. Various other county boards of supervisors also base their pay on Superior Court judge salaries. Solano County has done so since 1997 and presently uses 53 percent.