SANTA ANA — The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to make it possible to cut Assessor Bradley L. Jacobs' pay for refusing to apply for state loans that could relieve a backlog of property tax assessment appeals.
Saying that chipping at the assessor's $100,000-a-year salary is the only way to convince Jacobs to cooperate in seeking the loans, the board voted 3 to 2 to consider adjusting Jacobs' pay on an annual basis beginning in January 1999.
"If the assessor spent as much time keeping up with the county's tax appeals as he spent making excuses to me, he probably would have solved the problem," said Supervisor Todd Spitzer, who has spent weeks trying to persuade Jacobs to change his stance.
Existing county policy does not give supervisors the ability to cut the pay of county elected officials such as the assessor, even if the board believes they are performing poorly. The supervisors' vote changes that policy.
Supervisors Charles V. Smith and William G. Steiner have said the threat of a salary cut might be the only way to convince Jacobs to cooperate in seeking the loans.
Supervisors also passed a vote of no confidence in the assessor.
The votes were the latest parry in a more than four-year battle between the supervisors and Jacobs over whether to apply for $6.8 million in loans from the state to cope with a backlog of more than 36,000 property tax assessment appeals.
Jacobs did not return calls seeking comment. In the past he has said it would be risky to accept a loan the county isn't sure it could repay. He also has said he opposes borrowing state money to collect taxes.
Esther Schrader can be reached at (714) 564-1050. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.