Feb. 7, 2023 — Madera County Board of Supervisors
Documented by Hugo Galindo
What happened: At the Feb. 7 Madera County Board of Supervisors meeting, many citizens raised questions about the pay increase the supervisors approved for themselves in December, just before the county lost its only adult hospital, which employed 700 people.
On Dec. 20, 2022, the supervisors voted 3-2 to approve an increase to the annual salary for members of the board. Supervisor Robert L. Poythress and Leticia Gonzalez voted against it, while Supervisors Brett Frazier, David Rogers, and Tom Wheeler voted in favor of the ordinance.
According to the agenda packet, the salary of board members with up to five years of elected service are currently set at 41.2% of the annual salary for a Superior Court Judge, which would be increased to 50% for an annual increase of $20,343.
For board members with six or more years of elected service, their salary is currently set at 43.26% of a Superior Court Judge’s annual salary and with the proposed increase will jump to 55%, which reflects an annual increase of $27,140. Currently two board members would be at this level.
Opposition to increase: At the meeting, Madera County Resident Ron Montoya said the board is “corrupt” for enriching themselves using public funds and he asked citizens to sign recall petitions.
Another resident, Bruce Gray, asked for documentation of the raises approved in December and asked for a repeal of the ordinance, or a public justification for the necessity of a pay increase. “This is your cross to bear,” he said. “How would you feel if you were a citizen and the board raised their salary 20-30K? We cannot raise our salary, we get a 1 or 2% raise.”
Corey Valdez asked where Supervisor Rogers was and why he was not in attendance during the public comment portion of the meeting.
“Something is definitely wrong in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” he said. “We lost our hospital.”
To which, Supervisor Gonzalez said, “I have no intention of taking the increase.”
And also: At this meeting, the board also voted to increase the pay of corrections and probation officers in their K9 program, which currently are paid the same as sworn officers. The increase gives those in the K9 program assignment pay of 7%.
Up next: The Madera County Board of Supervisors will hold a special meeting Feb. 14 to discuss repealing the supervisors’ pay increases. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Feb. 28.
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