By KAREN VELIE
Less then one week after San Luis Obispo County administrators announced plans to eliminate 28 full-time positions because of a $26.3 million budget shortfall, the Board of Supervisors is set to approve a 21.38 percent increase in compensation for County Counsel Rita Neal from her previous contract.
On the consent agenda, county staff recommends a four-year contract extension for Neal, with an increase in salary and benefits of $66,000. The Board of Supervisors have already budgeted for Neal’s proposed raise in compensation, as well as the 28 positions they plan to eliminate.
The job cuts are being considered as part of $26.3 million in budget cuts due to a loss of revenue because of the coronavirus.
Neal, who has worked as County Counsel since 2012, is eyeing an increase in compensation from a $204,152 salary and $104,434 benefit package to $234,811 and $139,768 respectively, for a total of $374,579 a year.
Neal is responsible for overseeing the SLO County Counsel’s Office which is comprised of 14 lawyers and eight staff members. Her office provides legal advice to the Board of Supervisors, 26 county departments, and multiple outside agencies
In comparison, U.S. Attorney Nicola T. Hanna, the chief federal law enforcement officer for the Central District of California, oversees approximately 260 attorneys, and over 250 staff who serve over 19 million residents – half the state’s population. His salary without benefits is approximately $170,000.