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Santa Clara Supes Approve $76M In ‘Hero Pay’ Bonus Checks To Practically All County Staff – CBS San Francisco

SAN JOSE (BCN) – The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has approved the American Rescue Plan Act stimulus fund allocation to provide up to $ 2,500 in bonuses to county employees for their work during the pandemic.

In Tuesday’s vote, approximately $ 76 million from the county’s first tranche of the $ 187 million ARPA funding will be used to make one-time payments to nearly all of the county’s 22,000 employees through December 3 of this year Afford.

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The county is expected to receive its second tranche of $ 187 million in ARPA funding in May 2022.

The only district employees excluded from receiving the rewards the district calls Hero Pay are the five district managers and the district executive Jeff Smith.

That means senior positions like the sheriff, district attorney, and county assessor – who each earned between $ 330,000 and $ 460,000 in total compensation for fiscal 2019 – also receive a bonus of $ 2,500.

This is an idea that apparently made Supervisor Otto Lee uncomfortable and could explain his decision to abstain. Had he voted for it, the Hero Pay would have been unanimously approved by the Board of Directors.

“I have concerns about how this came about … I don’t want to vote for a $ 2,500 bonus for myself as an elected officer,” Lee said. “I think for so many reasons the amount that has been allocated here seems very generous, but in some ways it is too generous.”

After Lee raised reservations, Supervisor Cindy Chavez made a change to exclude the five district managers from the bonus payment – a move that was supported by all district managers.

Lee also urged employees to create a way for county employees to opt out of Hero Pay for those who are uncomfortable or who don’t need the $ 2,500.

CEO Mike Wassermann attempted to extend Hero Pay to Smith due to his “Herculean” efforts during the pandemic, but Smith graciously refused to accept it.

As of this writing, full-time workers and county part-timers will receive a prorated amount based on the full-time equivalent status of the part-timers and the additional hours worked by the employee.

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Independent In-Home Supportive Services providers receive a $ 500 bonus from the county to match the additional $ 500 they receive from the state.

Ellenberg found that $ 2,500 is double what other similarly populated counties give in Hero Pay.

Smith said the reason for the amount was because he believed it was what superiors wanted, and joked that the board was “twice as progressive”.

“We had a strong feeling that everyone in the county was indeed as vigorous as possible in responding to the pandemic,” said Smith. “So administratively, we didn’t feel that we could take on a group or a particular job or activity, and that made more money than any other.”

Smith also pointed out that ARPA funding calls for some to be used for Hero Pay, so providing these bonuses is in line with the federal government’s idea of ​​using those dollars.

“We’re just pursuing the intent of the bill,” said Smith.

The district also decides on the granting of bonuses for the approximately 3,000 “additional workers” who did not have a regular schedule and instead supported the district’s efforts at times.

Additional assistants, often referred to as shift workers, can be found in “pretty much any department that does a variety of things,” including nurses, clerks, secretaries, and social workers, Smith said.

“We still have a formula to work out,” continued the district executive. “We couldn’t agree on what we would agree on.”

Smith said the county will have to consult with several unions to ensure everyone is on board with Hero Pay before the money is distributed in December.

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