SAN DIEGO — Paula Whitsell, Chairwoman of the Republican Party of San Diego County today issued the following statement in response to the County Board of Supervisors considering hazard pay for all county employees:
“San Diego County went into lockdown in March of 2020, ostensibly to flatten the curve. We have seen our neighbors lose their jobs, our local bars and restaurants shut their doors to never reopen, our neighborhood businesses shuttered, and the unemployment rate skyrocket from 3.4% a year ago to a staggering 8.1% in January 2021. Without a doubt, many have suffered enormous economic and emotional hardships due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors, led by Chair Nathan Fletcher, has formulated a proposal to establish a framework for the distribution of stimulus funds provided by the Federal Government’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. These funds are intended to assist local governments in dealing with the profound impact of Covid-19 on residents who suffered the brunt of the pandemic and the distressed local economy.
However, San Diego County staff appears to be in line to receive hazard pay to the tune of $40 million.
County employees have not missed a single paycheck and many have been able to work from home throughout the pandemic. All employees have received all retirement and full benefits during the pandemic as well. San Diego County employees have been able to avoid the severe hardship experienced by many this past year. According to data from County staff, the average cost of a San Diego County employee (salary and benefits) totals $124,640 annually.
The question becomes: Is it fair to provide San Diego County employees hazard pay while so many others are in desperate need of assistance from local authorities?
Grocery store employees, fast-food workers, delivery drivers, medical staff, and countless others worked in-person throughout the pandemic, putting their lives at risk each and every day. Where is their hazard pay?
The Board of Supervisors will be voting on the authorization to distribute these funds during the first week of May 2021. We call on Chair Nathan Fletcher and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to direct these stimulus funds to those who desperately need them, the most unfortunate among us who did not receive a paycheck during 2020. It’s just not fair to give San Diego County staff a financial windfall.
It’s just not fair.”