County pension costs are up more than 400 percent since 2000 and the average annual compensation on which pensions are computed has risen 75 percent during that time to nearly $92,000 for workers retiring in 2011. The Board of Supervisors, in charge of setting benefits for a retirement system they acknowledge is unsustainable, has made no changes despite public outcry that bloated pensions are compromising essential public services. But last week, they indicated add-ons like ones that boost pensions would be high on their list of fixes.
The field is becoming more crowded for candidates seeking the three Petaluma City Council seats up for election in November. Business owner and former software executive Jason Davies, who finished fourth in a race for three seats in 2010, entered the race this week. He joins Vice Mayor Tiffany Renee and Councilman Gabe Kearney, who seek reelection, and Alicia Kae Herries, a Planning Commissioner who announced her intent to run this spring.
In 2002, at the urging of labor and with the endorsement of management, the county Board of Supervisors approved a more generous set of pension benefits for all current workers. The change, fueled by salary increases and combined with other workforce trends, is now seen as driving the upward spiral in pension costs.
Calling 2012 “a year of change,” Assemblyman Jared Huffman today officially started his run for Congress with an online speech and roll call of current and former local elected officials supporting his candidacy. Watch the video of his announcement — and see who is supporting the San Rafael Democrat.
A little-known perk termed ‘administrative leave’ amounts to a guaranteed cash bonus or extra vacation for some upper-level government administrators and elected officials in Sonoma County.
Valerie Brown’s surprise decision not to seek re-election to the Board of Supervisors means Sonoma County will have seen almost a complete turnover in leadership over a four-year period. Change is good, but is this too much at one time?
It was a day of celebration at the Sonoma County offices Tuesday as two new supervisors were sworn in. But the question remains, who will emerge as the true fiscal leaders on this new board now that those behind the county’s last major reform attempt – the health benefits rollback – are all gone amid controversy.
The debate continues over the merits of a controversial land deal, tentatively approved Tuesday, involving publicly protected Sonoma County farmland. The 3-2 vote has fueled continued discussion over whether the deal provides public benefits and its policy implications for the county’s 20-year-old Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District.
A split Sonoma County Board of Supervisors gave their blessing Tuesday to a controversial land proposal that would use county-protected private ranchland to help developer John Barella replace rare tiger salamander and frog habitat that will be lost to his Roblar Road quarry project.