Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency plans to increase salaries

Despite the economic crisis that has spurred drastic cuts in state and local government spending, the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency plans to boost salaries for professional employees by up to 127 percent in the coming fiscal year.

Executive Director Stein M. Buer called his proposed changes essential to fair treatment of employees and to future recruitment. The salary scales must be approved by the agency's board. Buer's proposal appears on the board consent calendar for today's meeting. Consent items normally are approved with little discussion, although the board is familiar with the proposal, he said. Buer's new annual salary, already approved, will be $210,000 – $56,746 above his current $153,254, a 36 percent increase.

In most cases under the proposal, employees would change job titles but retain the same duties.

According to an internal e-mail obtained by The Bee, John Bassett, a civil engineer at SAFCA, was offered a new job title, director of engineering. He would get a raise of $38,854, to $160,000, pending board approval of the salary scales and other negotiations. Buer declined to confirm the authenticity of the e-mail.

Base pay for the agency's director of planning, Tim Washburn, could rise as much as 67 percent, to $186,175. To reduce what Buer called an excessive workload, Washburn's job recently was split in two.

The new salary ranges were derived from a survey of similar employers commissioned by SAFCA and conducted late last year, after the economic meltdown began. The goal, Buer said, was to set more realistic, competitive salary levels.

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