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Committee to review superintendent’s pay

Placer County shouldn’t try to keep up with others, local chairman says
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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A new committee is planning to research and review the Placer County superintendent of school’s pay, and could help make decisions about any potential future raises. Thursday night the Placer County Board of Education discussed the salary of Superintendent Gayle Garbolino-Mojica, but no action was taken, according to Trustee Ken Tokutomi. “Basically Gayle showed the policy for compensation for the superintendent,” Tokutomi said Friday. Garbolino-Mojica is currently making an annual base salary of $160,934. She also receives $8,760 in benefits, an annual $7,800 car allowance and an annual $800 for holding a master’s degree. Her total annual compensation is $178,294. She also has a $95,000 life insurance policy. If Garbolino-Mojica were moved up to the next step in the county superintendent salary plan, she would be making an annual base salary of $168,894. If all other compensation items stayed the same, she would be making a total of $186,254 annually. The board decided Thursday to set up a committee to review Garbolino-Mojica’s pay, including researching what other superintendents are making in counties similar in size to Placer and noting whether or not her salary is in line with theirs. Trustee Pam Robie-Hart said the board would continue to review Garbolino-Mojica’s pay every year, as is dictated by its Board Bylaw 9600. Any pay increases would be based on several things, Robie-Hart said. “I think it’s important to review it every time,” Robie-Hart said. “There are different review criteria: the economy is one, performance might be another.” Tokutomi said the review committee would be made up of two or three board members who haven’t been selected yet. Board members won’t receive any additional compensation for serving on the committee, and any information the committee gained would be brought before the rest of the board, according to Robie-Hart. Robie-Hart said she thinks it’s necessary to annually review Garbolino-Mojica’s pay, because while teachers and other administrators get automatic raises, the superintendent doesn’t because she is elected. Tokutomi said he doesn’t think the board will be increasing Garbolino-Mojica’s pay any time soon. “I told her she wasn’t getting a raise to begin with … and she understood that,” he said. “I really quite doubt a raise will be offered in the next couple of years. Education is just being hammered. Until they get it together in Sacramento, we are going to have a huge problem in education.” Robie-Hart said it’s hard to say when and if Garbolino-Mojica could receive a salary increase, because the educational economy could change. “Who knows what is going to happen two years from now?” she asked. Attempts to reach Garbolino-Mojica were unsuccessful as of press time Friday evening. Auburn resident Rob Haswell, who spearheaded the Measure L effort for Auburn Union School District, said he wants to be better informed before he offers an opinion about Garbolino-Mojica’s pay. “If we are going to go down the path of reassessing salaries, then I want to see the data,” Haswell said Friday. “I’m not going to comment on whether or not she is overpaid, because I don’t know.” Haswell said he thinks the superintendent should get some credit for not taking a pay increase in the last two years. “She could maybe afford to give up more pay, but still there are a lot of rich people who don’t give up a penny,” he said. Michael Otten, chairman of the Placer County Library Advisory Board, said he thinks rather than focusing on the superintendent’s salary, the board should be looking at the big picture of what areas are lacking funds and how those areas can be covered. “I just think the way they approach their priorities is a little off kilter,” Otten said Friday. “The money doesn’t go where the need is. Everything is so compartmentalized that some areas get Cadillac funding and other areas might get bicycle funding.” Otten said he thinks the salary review committee is a bad idea, because it will force Placer County to compete with what other county superintendents are making if the committee finds others are making more than Garbolino-Mojica. “I think it’s a bad idea,” he said. “It’s like … we have got to keep up with the Joneses, that type of thing.” Simply put, the Placer County Office of Education needs to spend within its means, Otten said. “I’m a big believer in that, and I think when we don’t it’s a form of child abuse, because we are passing on a debt to our children, and grandchildren and future generations,” he said. Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com