CAO Kevin Carunchio speaking to the Board in 2009, two years after he was hired.

In hard economic times, some Inyo citizens questioned the Board of Supervisors’ vote to give their County Administrator a roughly $1400 per month raise plus additional benefits.

CAO Kevin Carunchio went to work for Inyo County in 2007.  His contract allowed a re-evluation for more pay but he declined to take advantage of that stipulation.  This year, Carunchio did go for a pay raise.  The Board and Carunchio had met more than once in closed session.  Tuesday, the Board voted unanimously to raise Carunchio’s pay from approximately $11,787 per month up to $13,201. The Board also agreed that the County would match retirement contributions Carunchio makes up to 2% of his salary.

Supervisor Chair Susan Cash said Carunchio “has been working quite diligently for a number of years at the same salary we hired him in at as an inexperienced administrator.  He has proved his worth and then some,” said Cash.  She noted that Inyo County pays lower than surrounding agencies.  She called Carunchio a work horse.

We did speak with Carunchio who said the Board unanimously granted him what amounts to a 12% increase in pay and an additional retirement benefit. “Every dollar I put in,” he said, “they put in a dollar up to 2% of my salary.”

On the same agenda, the Board also considered creation of an Assistant County Administrator position and a Senior Deputy County Administrator with changes in job descriptions.  Carunchio explained that his own former Deputy CAO position has remained vacant and that current Deputy CAO Chuck Hamilton announced he will retire in April.  So, Carunchio said, he asked to recruit and fill just one of the two Deputy CAO positions. The job description will be broadened and Carunchio said he would look for people with the “strongest skill sets.”  The CAO also said that if he gets someone with ten years of experience, he would recruit for a high level position.

Asked to respond to public complaints about his raise, Carunchio said that he understands their perspective.  He said, “I consider myself extremely blessed.  I have a job I love in the place I love and work with good people.  I am also well compensated.”  The CAO said he appreciates the vote of confidence by the Board.

Asked about his benefits as CAO, Carunchio said he gets the exact same benefits as other county workers – medical insurance, 2% at 55 retirement, a life insurance package and deferred compensation.  Carunchio’s new yearly salary amounts to roughly $160,800, plus about 1/3 of that for benefits.  An amount, as others have noted, mostly lower than other administrators’ pay in the Eastern Sierra region.

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