Key Orange County executives and elected officials will be asked to take a 5% pay cut as part of the ongoing effort to slash more than $1 billion from the county's budget, supervisors decided Wednesday.
"We're trying to lead by example," said Supervisor Chris Norby. "The seriousness of the economic downturn has affected our budget. It is serious. People are hurting out there."
The proposed pay cuts are part of an ongoing effort to trim the county's budget by 18%, a reaction to the slumping economy and the decline in sales and property taxes. Two days of budget hearings ended Wednesday.
The pay cuts would affect slightly more than 100 county employees, including department heads but excluding a handful of social services managers who already face an 8% to 10% salary reduction through work furloughs.
Elected officials -- including the five county supervisors, the district attorney and the sheriff -- would have to agree to pay cuts because their salaries cannot be adjusted during the year, county officials said.
County supervisors are paid about $143,000 a year. The district attorney and sheriff make about $208,000 and County Chief Executive Thomas Mauk, who introduced the proposal on Wednesday, makes about $253,000.
The pay cuts would save the county about $628,049, only a fraction of the $1.2 billion county officials say they need to strip from the coming fiscal year's budget. Such belt-tightening is occurring across the state because of declining state funds, increasing retirement costs and concerns that local economies will continue to fall.
In Orange County, public safety agencies will take a big hit in the latest round of spending reductions. Supervisors recommended cutting about $28 million from the Sheriff's Department, $8 million from the district attorney's office and $6.5 million from the probation office.
The cuts come on top of steep reductions in the budget for county social services. In December, the county announced it would lay off hundreds of social services workers and ordered furloughs for thousands more.
Supervisors unanimously approved the salary cut recommendation but it will have to be adopted along with the final budget on June 23.