Elected officials benefit boost on table

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By SCOTT PESZNECKER

After months of studies and discussions, Calaveras County elected officials might finally get a boost in their benefits.

When county supervisors meet Monday, they will consider approving post-retirement health benefits for elected officials and a monthly car allowance while officials are in office.

Elected officials are the county supervisors, assessor, sheriff, treasurer-tax collector, auditor-controller and clerk-recorder.

Under the proposal, elected officials at least 55 years old would be eligible for county-paid health care after retirement. Each official could use the benefit until he or she turns 65. After that, the official can get supplemental insurance through the county at his or her own expense.

While in office, elected officials would also get a monthly $350 car allowance to be used for car payments and in-county travel.

At a study session last month, elected officials also discussed whether their Public Employee Retirement System contributions from the county could be counted as income for their final year in office. Doing so would increase their retirement contribution from the state.

However, Francine Osborn, the county's director of Human Resources and Risk Management, said that's not part of this ordinance; the issue hasn't been settled.

"We've had different responses from PERS on that," she said. "I am waiting for a telephone call about it."

Last October, supervisors approved an ordinance to improve elected officials' retirement packages 3 percent at 60 years old, up from 2 percent at 55 years.

However, the county administrative office then learned state law prohibits increasing county and state PERS contributions only for elected officials.

Talks about the increased benefits surfaced last year after the county hired a consultant to study the salaries and benefits of Calaveras County managerial employees such as department heads and elected officials. The study compared Calaveras County's compensation packages with those in similar-sized counties.

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