By Nicholas Grube
Triplicate staff writer
In what amounted to many moments of confusion and eventual clarification, the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors approved a 5 percent pay increase for county employees, but not for themselves.
The increase, voted on during a special meeting Tuesday, would offset the financial burden of a mandatory health insurance program for county employees.
As it stands, the new health insurance mandates a 5 percent payroll deduction from county employees. This payment would then be balanced by a 5 percent pay increase, essentially nullifying the financial impact of the mandatory deduction.
However, when the board voted on the same agreement for themselves, they could not reach a concensus, resulting in no deduction or pay increase.
"I have a personal priciple that I should not be voting myself a raise," said District 4 Supervisor Gerry Hemmingsen.
Even though he said he understands the pay increase only would cover the mandatory 5 percent deduction, thus making it a wash, the process of giving himself a raise is against his personal principles.
"I'm not going to vote for a raise, regardless," he said.
District 2 Supervisor Martha McClure used the vote as an opportunity to voice her philosophical opposition to the current board's practices.
"I felt the board has the potential of not following process this year," McClure said after the meeting. "And I'm not sure we deserve a 5 percent balance (of the health insurance deduction)."
Due to this dissension, the board will not have a 5 percent payroll deduction for health insurance. Nor will they receive the offsetting 5 percent pay increase.