Spendthrift County Supervisors

Contra Costa County Administrator David TwaReckless spending has become the hallmark of the Board of Supervisors of Contra Costa County. According to the Contra Costa Times (Feb. 17), County Administrator David Twa is to receive a huge pay raise on July 1.

The Times reported that Twa’s annual pay will go from $243,000 to $260,000. In addition, according to the Times, Twa will receive an additional two weeks of vacation per year, and the county will contribute $23,000 per year into Twa’s retirement fund. Overall, Twa will receive a 16.5 percent increase in wages and benefits.

Twa has received strong support from several county supervisors, including Federal Glover, John Gioia, and Candace Andersen. Andersen represents the communities of San Ramon, Danville, Alamo, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, and part of Walnut Creek.

When this reporter wrote Supervisor Andersen on February 18, asking for her views on Twa’s compensation increase, Andersen replied: “I don’t want to lose a very good CAO [County Administrative Officer].” Twa, she said, “has been approached by other communities who would like to hire him away.”

While Twa has generally received high marks for his work as the county’s administrator, his compensation increase can be expected to spur other county employees to seek additional compensation.

The county has a history of recklessness with money. A few years ago, the county had unfunded retirement liabilities of $3 billion. In late 2006, county supervisors voted themselves a 60 percent pay increase.

If Contra Costa County has to increase taxes to pay for more government, then the country will be imitating the state and federal governments.

On January 1, California’s sales tax went up one-quarter percentage point. Before that sales-tax increase, California already had the highest sales-tax rate in the nation.

California also now has the nation’s highest top personal income-tax bracket: 13.3 percent. Hawaii used to have that distinction. Hawaii’s top bracket is 11 percent.

At the federal level, there will be, for individuals with incomes over $200,000, a special investment tax of 3.8 percent of income. The investment tax applies to income from rent, interest, dividends, and capital gains.

The big question is: How long will it take for citizens to rebel over massive tax hikes?

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  1. rich eber says

    As Richard Colman elequently stated the Board of Supervisors and the country staff are “Fastasy Land” when it comes to allocating tax payer dollars to provide needed services for its constituents.. Pay raises, extra vacation, and other fringe benefits (howver well deserved) for the County administrator glosses over the fact that Contra Costa , with its 3 billion dollar deficit of unfunded pension mandates, is stairing at bankurptsy sooner than later. Perhaps it would be better if the county goes “Bust” because it would be possible to have a judge reorganize the out of control debt that has accumulated over the years.

  2. Wendy Lack says

    It has been my observation that David Twa has integrity, professionalism and is highly effective in the county administrator role — far moreso than his predecessors. He clearly and consistently presents the cold, hard financial facts-of-life to elected officials. Even county employees acknowledge that, without Twa’s influence, many of them long ago would have been subjected to layoff.

    One cannot fault staff for the decisions of Electeds. The County’s current financial problems are the result of decades of colossally stupid and irresponsible decisions by Electeds, often done without cost/sustainability analysis. Twa was hired to help the organization navigate these self-imposed troubled waters — which, for some organizational units, could (and arguably should) end in bankruptcy (e.g., ConFire).

    The shocker to me is the fact that Twa’s compensation ranks lower than some Contra Costa City Managers, per the Sacramento Bee salary data base at http://bit.ly/11VQGku. What’s up with that?