So. Wow. So I sat here, speechless for a bit after I picked my jaw up off the ground. Sometimes I start pulling at a thread and build my story if I find enough. As I find information I kind of build it in my mind where it will go with each piece of information. Every once in awhile I find surprises, then sometimes I find information that turns the entire story upside down.
I laughed when I saw the story that started me writing tonight. It started with a chuckle, ending with a bang (no pun intended). I thought this was going to be the Bay Area News Group, tying itself in knots trying to both please and kick the sheriff at the same time and how someone finally noticed that the sheriff is always on vacation. Talk about unable to make a commitment and hedging their bets.
It started with this blog by the Mercury News — hey guys, I’ve been asking that since November 2013, you’re a bit late to the game. Then digging around a bit, I find another Bay Area News Group story here — with what appears to be an actual statement from the sheriff mirroring the information provided by the PIO in the blog along with the added benefit of including her in a “new push” to get the county to give her the “power” to do her job — Because apparently county ordinances override federal immigration laws and the board of supervisors could fire our sheriff… oh wait, they can’t — all with the by-line of a Mercury News reporter.
I was going to point out how interesting that Zoe Lofgren of, I won’t talk bad about the sheriff, she’s my friend, fame is involved in this. You all know by now that I always have a soft spot for a politician that puts their friends before doing the job for which they were elected.
Then I was going to point out how a highly paid executive in our county is finally being notice as the absentee employee she is… and this is where I got into trouble. Where I felt like I might have fallen down the rabbit hole for a moment, even.
A little backstory here first. We saw the county treat the DSA with extreme bitterness during negotiations for the new contract. Negotiations that went well past the end of the contract that was in place. They tried to tell everyone how broke they where. How they wanted more take aways and initially offered no raises.
Then just recently we watched them nearly drive the SEIU employees to strike — we can’t afford to pay this, we can’t afford to pay this and that… yada, yada, yada.
In all this I decided to go see if I could find more recent information on the sheriff’s salary to explain just how highly paid this person is who can’t be bothered to show up to do her job. The last information we were able to confirm fully was from 2012 – roughly $232,000 a year — when she tried to convince us how poorly the county treated her compared to the deputies.
So I had a little side bet going the sheriff was going to get a raise within a year of the election. I have to admit. I was wrong and when I found this page, I thought I’d won. But I found, I would have lost that bet in it’s literal wording. She’s had two raises this year alone. Let’s be fair, we don’t know what she received in 2013 and 2014. Maybe nothing, but however it was accumulated, she is being paid roughly 25% more than what she was confirmed to be making just over 2 years ago.
The sheriff, unlike most county positions, gets paid a flat rate. On March 16, 2015 a raise went into effect, paying our illustrious sheriff $10,772.85, biweekly. To help you out here, that is $280,094.10 a year. On June 22, 2015, she received another increase, now to $11,122.97 biweekly, a total of $289,197.22 a year. The F in the “minimum” column indicates that the sheriff is paid a flat rate, not a range over a period of years where she would “step up” over time like most county employees.
Here is the previous salary information we had for the sheriff. (blog post) that we dug up when she complained to the public that she received less in raises than the deputies.
So what this little journey has culminated in, is a sheriff who has spent maybe 5 months in the office total in the past 20 months, has no accountability for her time, who has been caught lying to the Board of Supervisors about cell phone equipment, refusing to speak to her own statements and actions (or lack thereof) during the election and now, and making an hourly salary of $139 an hour for a job she doesn’t bother to show up for.
She is so absentee that sources in the office that have been close to her called her presence “non-existent” in the office. Yet she gets 2 raises this year. Maybe now she can pay back all those loans she defaulted on that no one in the media believes represents an ethical dilemma.
You can find the detailing of other benefits such as expense reimbursements, county vehicle, county contribution of up to $18,000 per year to Deferred Compensation or more if qualified for the federal “Age 50 Catch Up Plan” (remember she received more than $22,000 in previous years, she is eligible for up to $23,500), and CalPERS payments in this document. Yes, she still gets employer contribution 401(k) AND CalPERS.