Placer County Employee Adjustments
In response to recent press coverage of raises for Placer County employees I wish to provide additional information. The county workforce consists of 2,476 full time employees providing a range of services to approximately 350,000 residents. Over the past two years, the county has restricted hiring, and has only filled critical positions as vacancies occur, and restricted our workforce by some 231 positions.
The Placer County workforce is broken down as follows:
Management and Confidential: 321 employees consisting of managers and clerical serving in sensitive areas or dealing with confidential information. These employees are not represented by a labor organization. Placer County Deputy Sheriff's Association (USA): The DSA represents approximately 230 employees including deputies, welfare fraud investigators and district attorney investigators. Placer Public Employee Organization (PPEO): PPEO represents 1.924 general and professional employees that provide direct services in various departments.
Recent Labor Adjustments:
Earlier this year, the County Executive Officer (CEO) held a series of meetings with the unrepresented management and confidential employees to solicit suggestions to address an anticipated budget shortfall in excess of $18 million in fiscal year 2009/10. Among other cost saving measures, one outcome was to recommend twelve unpaid furlough days during the fiscal year in order to achieve approximately five percent payroll budget savings. In addition it was recommended that a cost of living increase would be reduced to 2.5 percent from the agreed upon 2.5-5 percent rate. It is important to note that the County Executive Office took the lead and recommended to the Board the furlough days and other labor concessions prior to the proposal being taken to the members of PPEO for consideration. The PPEO's union membership voted over 60 percent to accept the proposal in order to avoid layoffs. The combined unrepresented management and confidential employees and the PPEO represented employees' labor concessions will save Placer County taxpayers over $6.7 million in FY 2009/10 and preserve at least 150 jobs. More importantly, the County will be able to continue to provide a high level of services and programs to our community. Law enforcement personnel represented by the DSA receive annual increases mandated by the voter approved Measure F in the Placer County Charter. Measure F mandates that the salaries of certain Placer County law enforcement personnel be the average base pay paid by three other counties with similar employee classifications. Measure F is tied to the salaries of deputies in El Dorado, Nevada, and Sacramento counties. The base pay is reflective of the economy and is necessary to maintain an equity-based pay structure reflective of the region. The February 2009 raises received by those represented by the DSA ranged from 6.29 percent to 6.33 percent. The Board of Supervisors has no authority to deny, adjust, or delay Measure F raises; they can only approve them. Placer County employees represented by the DSA are exempt from taking furlough days as well as certain public safety personnel repre¬sented by the PPEO. They include staff members of the jail. juvenile hall, medical clinic, and certain employees of sewer maintenance districts, among others. It would be fiscally irresponsible to have public safety and emergency personnel take a furlough day and pay another staff member overtime to cover their shift.
The performance-based step increases that were recently discussed in a local newspaper went to managers in keeping with the Civil Service System parameters and County Code requirements. All employees, including employees represented by PPEO and DSA, receive a limited number of step increases over a series of years upon a successful completion of a performance evaluation. In keeping with County requirements, PPEO and DSA performance-based step increases are approved by the Civil Service Commission instead of the Board of Supervisors. According to the Personnel Department roughly 760 step increases were approved by the Civil Service Commission in fiscal year 2008-09. Many long-time county employees have reached the top step of their classification and are no longer eligible for these increases; however, they will be eligible for approved general wage increases.
I can assure the people of Placer County that the Board remains dedicated to following sound public policy to strike a balance between the continua¬tion of providing critical programs and services to the Placer County community while working with constrained fiscal circumstances.
Jim Holmes is the Placer County Supervisor, District 3, and can be reached at (889-4010)