Update: I’ve been hunting for any salary information prior to 2000 that I could find, considering Laurie Smith took office December 15, 1998. I knew that there had to be some kind of salary information prior to 2000, but a lot of older documents don’t necessarily make it to the web, or in places easy to find. I did find though that in August of 1997, the position of Sheriff receive a significant increase, boosting the 1997 salary to $131,560, a 24% raise at that time. We can probably safely extrapolate there was no further significant increase between then and just 16 months later, December 1998, when Sheriff Smith took office. So, our Sheriff, currently making $231,806, has received over $100,000 in salary increases in 16 years AND over $22,000 in increased retirement cash payments. That’s a 92+% increase. Have any deputies received a 92% pay increase over the same time period?
I’m sorting through some video this morning and just spot checking some of them as I go. I almost choked on my breakfast in this one where, around 1:20 in the video, the Sheriff claims her pay raises as Sheriff have been “less than received by the rank and file in the organization.” Wha…?! We know better! The Sheriff has seen significant pay increases over her tenure, including the addition of an employer-contribution 401k-style retirement plan that the deputies do not have (on top her PERS retirement). The ultimate in double dipping – taxpayers funding a retirement pension and a 401k when you’ve capped out your 30 years on your PERS – Nice!
In the meantime, deputies pay has been essentially stagnant for the past 10+ years, with a number of their contracts having 0% pay increases over periods of 2-3 years at a time to prevent the community from having to suffer lay offs in personnel (or so the threat went). With the exception of 1 or 2 years over this time, when they did get raises, they were not even significant enough to cover what other agencies were receiving as Cost of Living increases. Even the last contract, which accommodated the PERS changes at the state level years before necessary, left many deputies taking home less, not more.
While she’s taken raises and increased monetary benefits, the community has lost virtually all their community policing. Despite increases in population and crime since 1998, the community has seen no increase of deputies on patrol as staffing has also stagnated despite having our own academy now. Then we have other decreased services like Vice, which has been eliminated (oh yes, the coded positions are still there, technically) despite human trafficking being an increasing problem in the Bay Area, a problem that can directly impact our families. While other immediate surrounding areas continue to address the problem, Sheriff Laurie continues to ignore it. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why 19 of the major law enforcement agencies in our county have endorsed Kevin Jensen for Sheriff this time.
And she doesn’t get a “car allowance”? Well, that’s true anyway. She gets a car, not an allowance. And her admin all the way down to the Captains (Jails and Enforcement, these days) are driving fancy new Chargers and other pretty, new, fully outfitted cars. Oh, yes, and the one lieutenant who still gets a take home car for being the single vote that speaks for the entire office according to Ben Field of the SBLC. All while deputies are driving cars on duty that probably couldn’t get $1000 at auction.
It appears over the past 16 years, the only person who’s gained ground in this has been Sheriff Laurie. It certainly hasn’t been the communities or the deputies. Just more reasons to vote Kevin Jensen for Sheriff.