Contra Costa’s S&P Rating Improves – County Scores “AAA” Rating

January 16, 2014 10:00 am · 17 comments

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has raised its credit rating to “AAA” from “AA” on Contra Costa County, a reflection on the County’s prudent management of finances as the bay area eases out of the recession. S&P credited the strong management of the County, and the capacity to meet ongoing financial commitments.

Board of Supervisors Chair Karen Mitchoff noted that the news reinforces the need to stay the course in order to maintain the rating. “Despite the improving economy, Contra Costa needs to remain vigilant against the temptation to start spending more than we have,” Mitchoff stated. “Both the public and our own county employees suffered during the recession with cuts in programs, services and pay for our workforce. We have made it a priority to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. It comes after years of hard work and tough decisions. Now we need to ensure we keep living within our means so that we can weather the inevitable ups and downs in the economy.”

County Administrator David Twa echoed the call to stay the course. “Cautious and thoughtful money management put us on solid economic footing with the ratings companies,” Twa said. “Continuing that approach will keep us there, and avoid future fiscal ups and downs.”

S&P forecasts a stable outlook for the County, expecting it to maintain strong reserves and a balanced budget over the critical next few years. The ratings agency also raised its long term ratings to “AA+” from “AA-“ on Contra Costa’s existing lease revenue bonds and pension obligation bonds.

Only a handful of other California counties have the “AAA” designation, which is the highest rating that S&P gives.

Overpaid Govt Workers! January 16, 2014 at 10:34 AM

…our own county employees suffered during the recession….

Really? Sounds like she’s starting to message about making that back up to the unions in the next contract negotiation…

RunnerDope January 16, 2014 at 11:01 AM

>> Sounds like she’s starting to message about making that back up to the unions in the next contract negotiation…

Really? That was your takeaway from her comments? Talk about cherry-picking part of one sentence.

jets January 16, 2014 at 11:19 AM

I vote for another pay cut to county employees and make retirement mandatory to it’s so called leaders who are over the age of 60 and can hardly walk down the hallways without a walker— p.k. sound familiar, hit the gym pork chop

Liz January 16, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Gov’t workers/County employees provide vital services to the citizens. I took a up to a 10% wage cut with the wage cut and benefits increases. I pay out the ass for Health Care and Retirement. Get the facts Jack, I mean Jet. Before you run you mouth. We are not over paid we are the working poor. Our average take home pay is less than $2500 a month. We shared in the sacrifice which contributes to this rating and we work harder with less. You should not believe what you hear in the media cause you are hearing about the highest paid and not the rank and file (working poor). We are the ones paying more for everything and WE are the ones effected the most by all the cuts and benefits increases. Ask your leaders Ask you Board of Supervisors what they get for retirement and what their salary is.

Anonymous January 16, 2014 at 12:31 PM

I’d rather see one of our Board members fake Millers place then DeSaulnier who helped put the county in a financial mess by giving everything away.

Anon January 16, 2014 at 1:20 PM

Liz, great points. Thank you for pointing out that EVERYONE did some heavy lifting to get the contra costa county back on track. Interesting how everyone quickly forgets about the rising cost of healthcare-which frankly is out of control and the lightning rod for escalating costs. Not the county or the employees have much control over this.

It is my understanding that leaders/supervisors also took a pay cut and have a very limited retirement. The Times database puts their salary around 95k a year. From what I understand they have a formula (2.5x multiplier) just like other county employees but the difference is for the most part their “career” is limited. Not to mention they have to “re-apply” for their jobs every 4 years. Taking an average of 4 terms/16 years is going to get them approximately 38k a year in retirement. That’s my understanding-what’s yours?

Elwood January 16, 2014 at 1:58 PM

Congratulations to county government for their prudent management!

A thought January 16, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Thanks to every county employee for taking a pay cut ,except for Mark Petersen our DA who simply refused because he could. No thanks to Mark DeSaulnier who gave away the store and almost bankrupted the county.

I agree with the poster who would like to see any member of the Board of Supervisors run for Millers seat.

Dorothy January 16, 2014 at 2:56 PM

May CCC stay prudent – at all levels.

Always Right January 16, 2014 at 6:28 PM

True, Mark DeSauliner is one of the main scoundrels responsible for the gross budget excesses last decade which almost put the county in bankruptcy.

Then he moved on to State Government and did the same thing. DeSauliner is owned by the monopoly government unions, and will do their bidding. Period.

jets January 16, 2014 at 6:57 PM

@ liz
eat my shorts you tubby, you should have went to college. don’t blame me because u had to many kids you can’t afford. As for the the waddleing county leaders I am talking about admin dinosaurs who waddle side to side when they walk down the hallways at their county worksites

BCuzItzClaycord January 16, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Always Wrong – this county has never ever ever been close to “bankruptcy” but it is going to be very difficult for them to recruit top talent with the things they have done to wages and benefits. The residents of Contra Costa will reap what Mr Twa and the current BOS sow and it’s aint gonna be pretty. Thank God I will be about 1800 miles away from here when you have no services because you will not be competitive with the rest of the Bay Area.
Jets – but an F’n cork in it. Your jealousy of county workers is a very pathetic thing. Figure you either failed any and all entrance exams or were fired for being an incompetent twit. Either way nobody wants to read your pathetic whining. Now run along before you are late for your shift at McDonalds

Anon January 16, 2014 at 10:14 PM


How do you really feel?
Wow. Angry much?

Love the doom and gloom and your exit strategy. You are a real charmer.

BCuzItzClaycord January 17, 2014 at 9:21 AM

Anon – it is fact that currently the county is having difficulty recruiting. They have had a recruitment notice out for months for a Fleet Manager with no takers. This could be a great opportunity for an assistant manager at another agency but they are not willing to give up their current salary and benefits to come to CC County. They are also having difficulty with the current recruitment for a county librarian which is considered a department head for the same reason. So jump a head a few years when CC county will be looking for a Dir of Social Services, Health Services, Animal Services, Probation or Public Works. All are major departments that require skilled experienced people to run them. But the salary offered will be that of an assistant director somewhere else and the health care benefit cost to employee is high and there is no retiree health (not even a cost share). Nobody of any quality will apply. Face the fact the being the lowest paid agency in the bay area with the worse benefit package will have a cost. The citizens will pay the price I have a masters in public policy and I can see what is coming and it is not good. The “home growns” are leaving the county for other agencies as pay and benefits are better elsewhere so that eliminates that pool. So the county will have to bump directors pay $50,000 – $100,000 a year due to the lack of benefits to get anyone to take the jobs. And where will they get the money???? By cutting the pay of the lower paid workers that perform the actual service thus cutting services in an indirect way

Like I said I really don’t care as I will be gone but those of you that plan on staying here better think about what the current honchos have done with your future. Twa got his and the BOS have their and they really don’t give a crap about the taxpayer. They are just into political posturing as they know they can make a “career” being on the board for 20 year and retire as nobody runs against them and if some does run against them they can get the Garaventa’s, Seeno’s and Chevron to eliminate the problem

Liz January 17, 2014 at 9:23 AM

@ Anon,
As far has health care…. the county has forced its lowest paid members to pay the most for health care. Most County employees pay ALL the increases for healthcare but NOT all do. AND not all County employees pay 100% of the employees’ cost for retirement but I can tell you the lowest paid ones DO. This is NOT fair and unacceptable. Your county leaders DO need to re-apply for their positions but I think the 38K a year in retirement might be under estimated. THEY can still add their vacation sells to boost their retirement regardless of the new retirement law. Their retirement is based on a formula of (years of service X Final average salary X age rate at retirement). The age rate at 55 is 2% of your final average salary for most general members of CCCERA who were hired prior to the new Pepra laws. When you consider the board of supervisor’s salary, years of service and the way they can still boost their final average salary…I think it will be above 38K but I could be wrong. I support ALL county employees and the work they do, I think it’s unfortunate the media has portrayed them as the responsible ones for the financial mismanagement of our leaders. They seem to be the escape goat. Working people need to band together not go against one another. Let’s work on retirement security for all working people and stop the abuse from the TOP down not from the bottom UP.

VikingPrincess January 17, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Good to read your take on it and good for you getting your Masters. Sorry you are leaving. So they still haven’t filled those positions? Geeesh.

On the outpt side, things are not too good either. When someone is hired with the sole purpose of working for and in their community they are treated in a way not in alignment with retention. I mean, why would you want an employee that cares? Silly. Very splintered.

For those you mentioned that are leaving for greener pastures? I wish them luck because the wrapping can look nice but when they open the package they may find a new definition to splintered. Hope I am wrong, but I have seen it.

jets January 17, 2014 at 11:14 AM

blah blah blah stop all the whining and move to hawaii

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