Oliver Baines hopes to give two of his colleagues and two incoming councilmen a parting gift — a 23% raise.

Baines is headed into the last month of his council tenure. He is termed out, with his service concluding Jan. 8, 2019.

“It’s long overdue. I’ve had the privilege and honor of serving for the last eight years.  In know exactly what it takes to do this job.” Baines tells GV Wire. “I know it’s a tough political issue for colleagues of mine to sponsor something like this. I’m happy to do it on their behalf.”

The council on Thursday (Dec. 6) will vote on raising members’ salaries from $65,000 to $80,000. It would apply to any council member beginning a new term after Jan. 1, 2019.

Why $80,000? Baines said there was no particular calculation.

“It deserves more than that, but I thought $80,000 was acceptable. It was more of a political decision, a middle ground of what is acceptable to the public and fair to my colleagues,” Baines said.

Four Members to Benefit

Thus, Esmeralda Soria (District 1) and Luis Chavez (District 5), who won re-election in 2018, would benefit. So would incoming councilmen Miguel Arias (District 3) and Nelson Esparza (District 7).

The city council president would make slightly more, going from $70,169.50 to $85,000, a 21% raise. Steve Brandau (District 2) is next in the predetermined rotation to serve as council president in 2019. But, he would not be eligible for the pay bump because he is not starting a new term in office.

The council last gave itself a raise in 2006, a hike of 46%. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics calculator, $65,000 in July 2006 is worth $80,774.08 today.

Current Plan Tied to Supervisors

The plan as it stands now would tie future raises to 66% of what the Fresno County Board of Supervisors make. Currently, that amount is $124,454 (66% is $82,139.64). Those raises would be in effect with each new term.

The supervisors’ salary is pegged to the amount a state judge makes, 60% of that base salary, which is currently $207,424. That board policy has been in place since 1994.

In turn, judge’s salary increases are tied to the average raise of all state employees.

However, Baines said he’s likely to scrap that portion, and let future councils decide on their own pay raises.

Second Try

Baines proposed a near-exact measure in Dec. 2017, only to pull it at the start of the meeting. At the time he wanted the process to be more thought out and find a better way to explain it to the public.

The only change in the proposal is the tie-in with the board of supervisors. In Baines’ 2017 plan, it was pegged at 78%. Now, it is just 66%.

The item is scheduled for consent calendar, but is likely will be pulled for further discussion. Baines said its inclusion on consent, which usually does not merit extended debate, was a clerical mistake on his part.

The mayor’s salary will remain at $130,000.

Brandau Says He Will Likely Oppose Raises

Brandau tells GV Wire he is likely to vote no. He also plans to run for the Fresno County supervisor seat, vacated by Andreas Borgeas, who is being sworn in as state Senator today (Dec. 3).

Councilman Garry Bredefeld (District 6) told KMJ radio he has problems supporting the measure if it is tied to the Board of Supervisors.

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3 Responses

  1. Paul A. Dictos

    U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) advocates “equal pay for equal work)- I suggest that the City Council, leave the politics aside and tie their salary to that of the Fresno County supervisors. In the last eight years I called my city councilman about twenty times and never had a need to call my supervisor. We read in First Timothy 5: 18 ” For the scripture saith, Thou shall not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, the labourer is worthy of his reward”.
    There are more meetings held at city hall than at the Hall of Records. A second class citizen is a person who is discriminated against others, despite his/her status as a citizen. I am afraid that by underpaying our council we have relegated them to a second class of elected officials.

    Reply
  2. Peter Grace

    I guess economic governance is not an issue in broke Fresno!

    Reminder, the Unintended Consequences paradigm is alive, and it will bite you know where today and decades later, who pays for it?

    Reply
  3. Paul Dictos

    Just checked this: In 2019, city council will meet 33 times, while the BOS will meet 22 times. Applying simple math: if 22 meetings pays $124,000 then my Greek math says that 33 meetings should be rewarded for $186,000. I suggest the City Council settle for $124,000 tomorrow. Love my good friend Dariu’s article and I agree with his logic.

    Reply

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