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County supervisors vote to increase their own salaries

SBC Board of Supes
Posted at 6:25 PM, May 19, 2023

The Board of Supervisors for both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties will be receiving a salary increase.

Earlier this month, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 in favor of a measure that would increase their salaries by 5%.

According to county officials, the annual salary for Santa Barbara County is approximately $107,000, but following their recent vote, that number will increase to about $112,000 starting in September.

Among the five Santa Barbara County supervisors, all but District 4 Supervisor Bob Nelson voted for the salary increase.

"I agreed to work for a certain amount of pay when I took the job as supervisor, so it feels a little disingenuous to raise my own salary," Nelson told KSBY. "I understand that is the process, but I also understand that for my constituents out there, people in my district are hurting."

Some District 4 constituents we spoke to say they support their supervisor's decision.

"I congratulate him for taking a stand going against what most people think is a good idea," said Pete Wulfing of Orcutt.

Other Orcutt community members say while they don't have an issue with the salary bump itself, they are frustrated by how the wage increases are put in place.

"When you are in charge of bumping your own salary up without anyone being able to vote on it... They are public servants. We should have been able to vote on whether that should happen or not," added Candace Hergenrother.

Meanwhile, in San Luis Obispo County, the Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to increase their salaries from roughly $107,000 a year to around $114,000 a year by June 2025. However, their vote also took future increases out of the Board's hands and tied them to the pay bumps of California Superior Court judges.

Supervisor Nelson says he would like to see his county change the process as well.

"In the future, if salaries need to go up for supervisors, I would rather see it be done by a citizens committee that made those decisions instead of putting that decision on the people who actually get those raises," he added.

The salary increases are expected to go into effect this September.

San Luis Obispo County District 1 Supervisor John Peschong voted against the pay increase for his county and said he would not be accepting the increase.