Supervisor Pareira’s Decision Is … The Right Decision

By JOHN M. DERBY
Times Publisher
July 27, 2017

Right now, Merced County needs some movement toward correcting the salary imbalance of its Sheriff’s Deputies and other officials.
When Supervisor Lloyd Pareira refused an automatic pay raise; it sent the right message.
Now the other supervisors need to follow suit.
They need to admit their salaries are out of line with those of other county employees, and in fact, out of line with other county supervisors in the valley.
Their reply to this idea is that it’s automatic.
“Bull!”
It is automatic because they made the salary increases automatic by linking them to the same automatic increases which apply to judges.
Supervisors are not judges!
And this is not to undermine the importance of what they do, but it hardly gives them a free ticket to demand salaries higher than most of their counterparts in the Central Valley.
The County Administrator, and some department heads, also receive a higher wage than counterparts in surrounding counties.
This does not sit well when the Merced County Sheriff’s deputies are getting lower wages than other deputies in the area.
Keep in mind that wages are not the only thing involved. Employee benefits are also a big factor when competing with other counties for law enforcement personnel.
While we feel that our county deputies deserve more, we don’t want to make that the only factor in hiring.
People who live in Merced County want to live in Merced County. Pay won’t force people to stay in a place that they don’t want to live and raise their families.
Merced County is one of poorest counties in the state, and it cannot compete on a head to head basis with the salaries of many of the other counties in the state. But it can and does compete on affordability, quality of life, and the quality of people who choose to live here.
Now the county has asked for a professional review of the salaries of the Merced County Sheriff’s Department — something it should have done long ago. Our county is in a crisis situation where we can not afford to lose any more deputies.
If the message goes out that we are underpaying our sheriff’s deputies, and at the same time our Supervisors could care less — just as long as it doesn’t effect their pay — then that is not what we need.
Let’s change that attitude now that we have time.
Thanks Lloyd for taking the first step.


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