Capitol Alert

California Senate offers across-the-board pay raise

State Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, at the Capitol on Aug. 21, 2014.
State Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, at the Capitol on Aug. 21, 2014. The Associated Press

A year after laying off dozens of staff members due to a looming budget deficit, the California Senate is offering an across-the-board pay raise to its approximately 900 employees.

Senate officials refused to provide an overall cost for the raise, but based on an analysis of a recent payroll, it would amount to an estimated $2.4 million per year.

In a memo sent to all Senate staff on Monday, Secretary of the Senate Daniel Alvarez announced “well-deserved” and “long-overdue cost-of-living adjustments,” which he said would be the first in nearly eight years.

Senate salaries were frozen in 2007 because of budget cuts during the economic recession. In 2011, the upper house began offering “merit raises” of up to 5 percent for workers whose performance was reviewed during the month of their birthday. More than 500 employees received those increases before salaries were frozen again for a year in 2012 amid public criticism.

Alvarez credited “painful but prudent and necessary cuts to put our own house in fiscal order and achieve greater efficiencies in our delivery of services” for this year’s raise. In November 2014, new Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León cut 39 secretarial, bill analysis and research jobs, amounting to about 4 percent of the payroll at the time and nearly a quarter of the Senate’s administrative arm.

The raise, which goes into effect Dec. 31, will be 4 percent for employees making less than $12,460 per month, or $149,520 per year. That encompasses all but about 20 top staffers, mostly working in the president pro tem’s office.

Staff earning between $12,640 and $14,800 per month will receive 2 percent increases, while those making more than $14,800 per month, or $177,600 per year, will receive 1 percent bumps.

There are no plans for across-the-board raises in the Assembly this year, according to the Assembly speaker’s office. Employees in the lower house have been eligible for individual merit raises since 2011.

Here is the memo:

Editor’s note: This post was updated throughout at 1:03 p.m. with more context and an estimated cost of the raise.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff