El Dorado County district attorney, sheriff get pay raises
PLACERVILLE, Calif. — El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson will see a boost in his paycheck.
The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, on a 3-2 vote earlier this month, supported a raise for the DA, bringing his annual salary equal to that of the county sheriff, who also received a raise.
Human Resources Director Tameka Usher told the board that staff completed a comparative analysis of the compensation paid to the sheriff and the district attorney using eight other jurisdictions previously approved for compensation comparisons.
“This review identified the sheriff is currently compensated approximately 9 percent above the median and the district attorney’s compensation is approximately 11 percent below the median,” the staff report states.
“Human Resources also conducted a comparison of the compensation relationship between the sheriff and district attorney in 20 other counties. This review identified two counties that pay the district attorney approximately 3.7 percent less than the sheriff, three counties pay the sheriff and district attorney the same amount and the remaining 15 counties pay the district attorney anywhere from .68 percent to 27 percent more than the sheriff. El Dorado County currently pays the district attorney 12.3 percent less than the sheriff,” the report continues.
As of January, the sheriff’s compensation is $19,242 a month while the DA makes $16,870. The board’s action will bring their salaries up to about $19,723 a month.
Another compensation issue, Usher advised, is that at this time El Dorado County’s undersheriff makes more than the sheriff and in a year or two a lead investigator in the District Attorney’s Office, whose salary and annual adjustments to it are set by the county charter, will make more than his boss.
District Attorney Pierson told the board the salary issue is “a complicated problem” that he’s sought to address since taking office. He commended Chief Administrative Officer Don Ashton for finally bringing the discussion to the board.
If the board takes no action, he said, at some point a captain in the sheriff’s office would make more than the DA because of the way the county sets salaries for public safety employees via the charter.
While acknowledging the disparity, District 2 Supervisor Shiva Frentzen said she was uneasy about adjusting an elected department head’s salary in the middle of a term and suggested further study before any changes are made.
District 4 Supervisor Lori Parlin had a similar concern, saying that elected department heads knew what their salaries would be when they decided to run for office. She pointed out that the DA is only one of many county employees not fairly compensated.
“I think we have hundreds of employees out there.”
Parlin made a motion to revise the county’s salary and benefits resolution to include language confirming the DA and sheriff shall be compensated equally with no changes to the sheriff’s salary. District 5 Supervisor Sue Novasel seconded the motion but it failed on a 3-2 vote.
District 3 Supervisor Brian Veerkamp made a motion to increase the sheriff’s compensation one time by 2.5%, direct staff to bring back a revised salary and benefits resolution to include language confirming the district attorney and sheriff shall be compensated equally and direct staff to adjust the district attorney’s and sheriff’s salary immediately in order to address compaction issues.
The motion passed with Veerkamp, Novasel and District 1 Supervisor John Hidahl supporting it. Parlin and Frentzen voted no.