Back in 1999, Humboldt County's In-home Supportive Services workers, who do in-home care for the elderly or impaired on Medicaid, were being paid minimum wage. At the same time, each member of the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors was being paid $46,563 a year.
Today, IHSS workers are still being paid minimum wage ($8 an hour) BUT the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors -- who last week voted against raising the IHSS worker's minimum wage -- have since raised their own salaries more than $35,000, and now earn a whopping $81,584 a year.
The ONLY requirement for a supervisor's job is to attend one weekly board meeting. Absolutely nothing else is legally required of them.
Even if they did put in a full 40 hours a week, they would earn almost $40 an hour. And they get health benefits and pensions! IHSS workers get no such benefits, and work for $8 an hour.
No one else working for the county is being paid anywhere close to this low of a wage. In fact, the other entry-level county jobs that require no special training or education are paid between 45 percent and 75 percent more per hour. For example, custodians get $11.49, stock clerks $12.01, airport groundskeepers $14.59 and roads maintenance workers $14.96. Even an animal shelter attendant gets $12.44 -- over 50 percent more for taking care of a stray pet than for taking care of a human.
None of these people is being overpaid; that's not the point. But IHSS workers ARE being grossly UNDERPAID
-- and the irony is that they save us taxpayers money by keeping Medicaid recipients out of nursing homes, which would cost the government much, much more.
Call the Board of Supervisors right now at 707-476-2396 and let them know their actions are shameful.

Richard W. Salzman resides in Arcata.