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Ventura County

Board's Extra Pay Is Assailed

Report: Ventura County Grand Jury recommends that supervisors no longer get additional money for serving on two committees.


The Ventura County Grand Jury has recommended that county supervisors be stripped of extra pay for serving on outside boards and commissions because such jobs should be considered part of their regular duties.

The finding runs counter to a current policy that allows supervisors who serve on two committees--the tax appeals and retirement panels--to receive extra money. Supervisors earn $104,127 a year, which includes a base salary of $89,633 and benefits.

But the panel's finding is just a recommendation, and the Board of Supervisors is not required to do anything about it.

"I disagree strongly with the grand jury," said Supervisor John Flynn, who served on the tax appeals board for 25 years and earned $400 a month to attend weekly meetings until earlier this year. "I don't think the grand jury has an understanding of the knowledge a person on the assessment appeals board has to have.

"To deny $100 for attending a meeting when sometimes you're dealing with millions and millions of dollars, it doesn't make any sense."

An effort led by Supervisor Steve Bennett to strip county officials of all such supplemental pay was blunted last year when Flynn sponsored an amendment that allows supervisors to continue collecting extra pay for service on the two committees.

Flynn argued that work on the tax appeals and retirement boards requires a high degree of knowledge and experience, and that the payments were not a big drain on the county budget.

But the grand jury wrote in its decision that "the amendment ... should be removed."

"If attendance at these exempted boards is so onerous," the panel wrote, "it would be better to alternate membership on the two boards among all supervisors on an annual basis."

Bennett said that he would not revive the idea in the near future.

"I was on the losing side, so I can't revisit it soon," Bennett said. "Sometimes you have to lose gracefully and go forward. But I was pleased the grand jury took the exact same position. It increases the odds of it being successful sometime. I think the grand jury reflects public opinion."

Flynn retired from the three-member tax appeals board in January, saying he wanted to give others a chance to serve. He was replaced by appointee Dave Eaton of Ventura, a retired contractor and former county supervisor.

Supervisor Frank Schillo collects $200 a month as a member of the retirement board, which meets twice a month. He and Supervisor Judy Mikels supported Flynn's amendment last December to continue the supplemental payments.

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