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Ventura County

Proposal Extends Pay for County Reservists


Ventura County government employees called into military service after last year's terrorist attacks would get an extra two months of supplemental pay and benefits under a plan before the Board of Supervisors.

Reservists and their families already receive full medical benefits and six months of supplemental pay under policies approved by supervisors last year. The latest proposal would cap the pay-and-benefit extensions at eight months.

The county has paid out $132,000 so far to ensure that 16 employees called up for reserve duty do not suffer cuts in pay while fulfilling their responsibility. Adding two more months would cost about $62,000, county officials said.

If the extension is approved, the reservists would receive the supplements through July 6, Human Resources Director Barbara Journet said.

"We figured it would be a good time to sunset the program at the end of the fiscal year," Journet said. "If the board wants to consider extending it again, they could do that during the budget process [in June]."

Supervisors agreed to provide supplemental salary after reservists and their families said they would not be able to pay their bills on military compensation.

The board had precedent for its action. Supervisors in 1991 approved a five-month extension of medical benefits for employees called to active duty in the Persian Gulf. But that board rejected a proposal that the county supplement military pay.

Cities across Ventura County approved similar benefits in response to the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. In recent weeks, some cities have also approved extensions.

Half of the county government employees who have been called up work in the Sheriff's Department. Glen Kitzmann, head of the deputies union, said the proposed extension would be good news for reservists and their spouses.

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