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Riley Backs Off Plan to Raise Pay Hike Issue

October 12, 1994|MATT LAIT | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SANTA ANA — Sensing a lack of support from fellow supervisors, Board Chairman Thomas F. Riley on Tuesday backed off earlier statements and said he will not ask his colleagues to consider giving themselves a pay raise.

"I feel it is warranted, and I would have to assume that others feel they deserve it too, but I'm not going to do it unless there is absolute unanimity, and it doesn't appear there is," said Riley, who is retiring in December.

Last month, Riley said he was considering proposing that members give themselves a 2.5% pay hike because the supervisors have gone nearly four years without a raise. But none of the four other supervisors publicly embraced his proposal.

"I would bring it up, but don't want to get involved in causing a problem," he said. Currently, the supervisors earn $82,056 a year in salary, plus another $15,000 in extra pay and benefits.

Recently, the board approved a county budget that provided for 2.5% to 3.5% pay raises for about 16,000 county employees. The board next week is expected to discuss similar raises for all management and executive management positions, including elected officials.

County administrators and department heads have gone without a salary increase for three years. Even though the supervisors have gone for a longer period without a raise, board members said it would be inappropriate to award themselves a pay hike during the county's current economic woes.

"That's not going to fly," said Supervisor Roger R. Stanton of the pay raise issue. "That doesn't mean in a good year the supervisors shouldn't have an adjustment, but this hasn't been a good year.

"There's no indication that things are getting better. You've got to reflect the up and down of your constituency and right now it's a real downer for the people of Orange County," he added.

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Supervisor William G. Steiner agreed. "These still are not very economically strong times for the county," he said. A raise for the supervisors "is not something that I've been pushing. I feel we need to exercise a lot of caution" economically.

Supervisor Gaddi H. Vasquez also said he thought it was not the right time for a supervisor raise. "I had no intention of supporting a pay raise at any time," he said. "I expressed that to my colleagues very early on. . . . We're still in a time of an uncertain economy and restraint is probably the best order of day."

Supervisor Harriett M. Wieder, who was seeing a doctor about lower back pain, could not be reached for comment.

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