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What, We Worry? While much of Silicon Valley weathered the sagging economy with pay cuts and layoffs, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors two months ago approved salary adjustments ranging from 3 percent to 13 percent.

County's Bounty

In the midst of one of the most severe cash crises in history, the county handed out raises as usual this past December, to the tune of $1.6 million

By Najeeb Hasan

THOUGH Santa Clara County has already pared more than $100 million from its budget, and though there's talk of perhaps having to cut $74 million more, the Board of Supervisors, with little discussion, approved an across-the-board pay increase for its executive management and board-appointed positions in December. According to county estimates, for the remainder of the fiscal year the pay increases will cost the county about $657,413. Meanwhile, the annualized impact on the county would be more than $1,220,911.

Also, reported the San Jose Mercury News in December after the increases were announced, the county's top three elected officials--District Attorney George Kennedy, Sheriff Laurie Smith and Assessor Larry Stone--were all up for additional bonuses totaling more than $70,000. Kennedy's package was slated to be $29,900, while Smith and Stone had $20,330 coming their way. County Executive Richard Wittenberg wanted to give the raises because, he said, those officials did not receive paid vacations. His effort, however, was thwarted 3-2 in a deferred vote by the supervisors.

For attorneys employed by Santa Clara County, the past year has been especially lucrative. Not only did they enjoy their 9.5 percent increase in pay last September, but they also received another 5 percent hike in December. For example, County Counsel Ann Ravel's pay shot up almost $28,000, from $185,906 to $213,746. Her three assistant counsels all received $23,309 increases. The six attorneys in the public defender's office divvied up a $144,281 pay increase among them. Further, the nine attorneys in the district attorney's office saw a total combined pay increase of $219,077 in the last year.

In all, 171 positions within the county's executive management group saw raises of at least 5 percent. Thirty-one positions within that group, because of compaction, market comparisons and internal adjustment, saw even more of a salary bump. Their additional adjustments ranged from 3 percent to 13 percent. Each of the salary increases was technically discretionary because the increases were based on performance (except for the elected officials and board appointees).

"The 5 percent adjustments are applied to the ranges of all executive management classifications," says Deputy County Executive Leode Franklin. "Movement of salaries only occurs based on individual evaluations. So, while the salary classification moves, the individual salary doesn't necessarily move unless the manager recommends it."

However, despite the uncertainties of individual evaluations and manager recommendations, each of the 171 positions up for a raise saw a raise. The last time the county did not grant these annual raises was during a three-year stretch in the early 1990s, says Franklin.

Franklin continues that, especially for the aforementioned 31 executive positions, the raises are both a reward for performance and a result of market and internal analyses. The county looks at other counties as well as cities to compare salaries. "What we do is we will conduct a market study and an internal alignment study to make sure managers are being paid fairly."

For 33 executive level positions for the Santa Clara County Health and Hospital Systems, salaries increased as well. Because the nurses staffing the hospital had earlier negotiated higher wages to match wages received by nurses in other, similar hospitals, much of the executive staff received pay increases of more than the across-the-board 5 percent. There's even a term for it. "As a result of the increase they received, the managers got an increase," says County Deputy Executive Leode Franklin. "There was compaction. A manager was only earning only a couple percentage points more than working nurses." According to comparisons of midpoint salaries proved by Santa Clara County, the raises awarded to executives in the health and hospital division will cost the county more than $300,000. The average raise a health and hospital executive received was about $9,138, the highest was about $18,541 and the lowest was about $4,133.

Board Certified

Warranted or not, the timing of the raises, in effect, raises questions. With a deflated economy and the threat of cuts in county services looming, should this have been one of those years, like the early '90s, when supervisors decided not to increase manager salaries?

"I'm sure the board had lots of concerns with the turn of the economy," Franklin says. "But they recognized that labor groups moved salaries last year, and they needed to show executive management parity. For example, all of the labor groups negotiate with the county for labor and benefits. They already had a wage increase of 6 percent last year. Because of that, the market showed that additional realignment was needed. The board takes into account what other labor groups receive, and keeps parity. The manager group isn't represented, so the board needs to do that."

But, if a tightening budget causes layoffs, will labor have a case to protest their managers' raises?

"All the employees got raises," answers Franklin. "If you raise the question, you have to raise it across the board. And, typically, labor groups know when there will be budget cuts. They're prepared to negotiate around that. If layoffs occur, we'll work around that. They don't look at salary adjustments. I think the board struggled with all that. I think they knew that they were entering into a financially difficult arena. But, again, other labor groups did receive a 6 percent increase last year. From that prospective, the board moved forward. I certainly don't want to say the board did it lightly."



Santa Clara County Senior Management Raises and Salaries 2003

Name Title 2002 Salary Raise 2003 Salary
Office of the Assessor
Lawrence Stone Assessor 140,098 10,508 150,606
Mary Solseng Assistant Assessor 112,740 5,758 118,498
Lee Kincannon Dir., Info. Systems 106,211 5,412 111,625
Robert Easley Chief Appraiser 92,196 4,611 96,807
Virginia Harnley Chief Auditor-Appraiser 92,196 4,611 96,807
Vacant Chief Assess. Stand. & Serv. 90,440 4,524 94,964
Rhonda Armstrong Assessor's Off. Admin. Serv. Man. 82,836 8,493 91,329
Clerk of the Board of Supervisors
Phyllis Perez-Sorensen Clerk of the Board of Supervisors 110,930 12,923 123,853
Ann Sloan Chief Deputy - Clerk of the Board 83,622 6,818 90,440
Office of the County Counsel
Ann Ravel** County Counsel 185,906 27,840 213,746
Debra Cauble** Assistant County Counsel 149,770 23,309 173,079
Laurie Faulkner ** Assistant County Counsel 149,770 23,309 173,079
Susan Levenberg** Assistant County Counsel 149,770 23,309 173,079
Alice Wheatley Administrative Services Manager 89,099 9,133 98,232
Office of the County Executive
Richard Wittenberg County Executive 232,788 11,641 244,429
Peter Kutras, Jr. Assistant County Executive 167,975 8,590 176,565
Jane Decker Deputy County Executive 157,431 8,048 165,479
Gary Graves Deputy County Executive 157,431 8,048 165,479
Sandra Nathan Deputy County Executive 157,431 8,048 165,479
Melinda Cervantes* County Librarian 130,256 6,656 136,912
Jesse Durazo Registrar of Voters 122,791 6,173 128,964
Leslie Crowell Budget Manager 111,623 5,699 117,322
Gwendolyn Mitchell Public Communication Director 111,070 5,670 116,740
Pat Love Special Projects Director 96,335 15,288 111,623
Jeffrey Davis Admin., Meas. B Improvement Prog. 101,152 5,059 106,211
Julie Farnsworth Deputy County Librarian 99,226 4,963 104,189
Elaine Larson Assistant Registrar of Voters 93,544 4,688 98,232
Peter Ng Administrative Services Manager 89,099 9,133 98,232
Gay Strand Administrative Services Manager 89,099 9,133 98,232
Terry Gitlin Dir. of Emergency Preparedness 89,563 4,478 94,041
Mary Patterson Special Asst. for Children's Serv. 89,099 4,455 93,554
Mary Patterson Special Asst. for Children's Serv. 89,099 4,455 93,554
Department of Child Support Services
Peter Dever Dir., Dept. of Child Support Services 149,770 23,309 173,079
Vacant Dep. Dir., Dept. of Child Supp. Serv 120,881 33,438 154,319
Idell Hunter (acting)* Administrative Services Manager 89,099 9,133 98,232
Department of Correction
James Babcock Chief of Correction 144,852 7,244 152,096
Edward Flores Assistant Chief of Correction 118,498 6,050 124,548
David Gottlieb Correctional Captain 107,266 5,474 112,740
Sandra Padget-Miles Correctional Captain 107,266 5,474 112,740
Robert Bravo Correctional Captain 107,266 5,474 112,740
Toby Wong Correctional Captain 107,266 5,474 112,740
Vacant Correctional Captain 107,266 5,474 112,740
Jonathon Wolin Administrative Services Manager 101,152 5,059 106,211
Office of the District Attorney
George Kennedy** District Attorney 191,628 30,794 222,422
Paula Kuty** Chief Asst. District Attorney 161,404 25,120 186,524
Marc Buller** Assistant District Attorney 149,770 23,309 173,079
Thomas Fahrenholz** Assistant District Attorney 149,770 23,309 173,079
William Larsen** Assistant District Attorney 149,770 23,309 173,079
Karyn Sinunu** Assistant District Attorney 149,770 23,309 173,079
Alvin Weger** Assistant District Attorney 149,770 23,309 173,079
Vacant** District Attorney 149,770 23,309 173,079
Thomas Brewer Chief Investigator 109,423 11,458 120,881
Benny Del Re Director of the Crime Laboratory 96,335 4,817 101,152
Chau Trinh Administrative Services Manager 89,099 9,133 98,232
Employee Services Agency
Leode Franklin Deputy County Executive 157,431 8,048 165,479
Luke Leung Human Resources Director 129,609 6,623 136,232
Maria Dupras Dir., Equal Opp. and Empl Devlpt. 101,152 10,471 111,623
Janet Moody Director, Risk Management 101,152 10,471 111,623
Joanne Cox Human Resources Oper. Man.r 89,099 9,133 98,232
Sheila Mohan* Financial and Admin.Svs. Manager 89,099 9,133 98,232
Ken Phillips Labor Relations Manager 89,099 9,133 98,232
Thelma Zuniga Man., Workers' Comp. Division 87,805 4,391 92,196
Karen Rixman Admin., Exec. Recruitment Services 86,133 4,307 90,440
Office of the Medical Examiner/Coroner
Gregory Schmunk Chief Medical Examiner/Coroner 158,217 8,089 166,306
Diana Hunter Adminstrative Services Manger 82,836 8,493 91,329

*Denotes officials who did not receive compensation from Santa Clara County last year at that position.

**These attorney salaries include a 9.5% increase given in September and a 5% bump in December.



Santa Clara County Senior Management Raises and Salaries 2003

Name Title 2002 Salary Raise 2003 Salary
Finance Agency
John Guthrie Director, Finance Agency 157,431 8,048 165,479
Dave Elledge Controller/Treasurer 119,088 6,082 125,170
Cheryl Johnson Tax Collector 111,070 5,670 116,740
George Rixman Fiscal Services Manager 108,339 5,531 113,870
Bruce Overoye Info. Sys. Mgr. - Tax Collector's Off. 106,211 5,412 111,623
Brenda Davis County Clerk/Recorder 98,744 4,938 103,682
John Lernes Chief Internal Auditor 96,335 4,817 101,152
Herb Wiley Investment Officer 90,884 9,316 100,200
Bob McGrath Director, Revenue Collections 93,554 4,678 98,232
Jim Sadtler Chief Accounting Manager 89,099 4,455 93,554
Lesha Luu Controller - Treasurer Div. Man. 89,099 4,455 93,554
Vinod Sharma Controller - Treasurer Div. Man. 89,099 4,455 93,554
Gina Alcomendras Assistant County Clerk/Recorder 85,297 4,266 89,563
Wendy Beadle Tax Apportionment Manager 82,432 4,123 86,555
General Services Agency
Kevin Carruth Dir. of General Services Agency 146,083 7,469 153,552
Larry Jinkins Facilities Director 126,422 6,455 132,877
Ken Rado Manager, Capital Programs 111,623 5,699 117,322
Rita Hamilton Director of Procurement 109,970 5,614 115,584
Dueane Williams GSA Communications Director 107,266 5,474 112,740
Nancy Fowler Man., Property Management Div. 101,152 5,059 106,211
Steve Black Manager, Building Operations 97,756 4,888 102,644
Bert Hildebrand (acting) Administrative Services Manager 89,099 9,133 98,232
Probation Department
John Cavalli Chief Probation Officer 131,560 6,725 138,285
Kathy Duque* Deputy Chief Probation Officer 101,152 5,059 106,211
Gerald Neary Deputy Chief Probation Officer 101,152 5,059 106,211
Vacant Deputy Chief Probation Officer 101,152 5,059 106,211
Delores Nnam Adminstrative Services Manager 101,152 5,059 106,211
Office of the Public Defender
Jose Villarreal** Public Defender 173,122 25,925 199,047
David Mann** Chief Asst. Public Defender 161,404 25,120 186,524
Grant Armstrong** Assistant Public Defender 149,770 23,309 173,079
Mary Greenwood** Assistant Public Defender 149,770 23,309 173,079
Ronald Norman** Assistant Public Defender 149,770 23,309 173,079
Position Deleted** Assistant Public Defender 149,770 23,309 173,079
Alayne Bolster Chief Public Defender Investigator 97,280 9,986 107,266
Donna Prochazka Administrative Services Manager 89,099 9,133 98,232
Roads and Airports Department
Michael Murdter Dir., Roads and Airport Department 137,596 7,037 144,633
Anthony Arata Adminstrative Services Manager 89,099 9,133 98,232
Office of the Sheriff
Laurie Smith Sheriff 170,823 10,250 181,073
Vacant Undersheriff 127,687 6,521 134,208
Darrel Starnbaugh* Commander 116,740 5,961 122,701
Dennis Bacon* Commander 116,740 5,961 122,701
Naomi Tsururnoto Dir. of Sheriff's Admin. Svc. 116,740 5,961 122,701
Ernest Smedlund Captain 107,266 5,474 112,740
Robert Dixon* Captain 107,266 5,474 112,740
David Tomlinson* Captain 107,266 5,474 112,740
Peter Rode* Captain 107,266 5,474 112,740
John Hirokawa* Captain 107,266 5,474 112,740
Edward Perry* Captain 107,266 5,474 112,740
Joseph Kirby* Captain 107,266 5,474 112,740
Lindley Zink* Captain 107,266 5,474 112,740
Steve Angus* Captain 107,266 5,474 112,740
Gary Aslanian Director, Information Systems 106,211 5,412 111,623
Social Services Agency
Will Lightbourne Director Social Services Agency 144,633 7,396 152,029
Cliff O'Connor Chief Deputy Dir., Social Services 119,683 6,111 125,794
Norma Doctor-Sparks Dir., Family and Children Services 110,519 9,164 119,683
Dorothy Smith* Director of Information Systems 110,519 5,641 116,160
Vacant Dir. of Employment and Benefits 108,339 5,531 113,870
Onita Spake Chief Fiscal Officer 104,701 8,603 113,304
Betty Malks Director, Adult and Aging Services 103,682 5,198 108,880
Christine Sorensen Baucus Chief Administrative Officer 100,200 5,011 105,211
Doug Southard* Children's Shelter Director 99,715 4,986 104,701
Zonia Beecher-Waldon Asst. Dir., Family and Children 99,715 4,986 104,701
Ken Borelli Asst. Dir., Family and Children 99,715 4,986 104,701
Hector Garza Administrator of Benefit Services 94,964 4,751 99,715
Alette Lundeberg Administrator of Benefit Services 94,964 4,751 99,715
Robert Cecil Public Administrator/Guardian 94,964 4,751 99,715

Editor's Note: These salary amounts are approximations based on biweekly salary information provided by the county and rounded to the nearest dollar.

*Denotes officials who did not receive compensation from Santa Clara County last year at that position.

**These attorney salaries include a 9.5% increase given in September and a 5% bump in December.


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From the February 13-19, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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