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Gov. Jerry Brown gives raises to some aides, pay cuts to most

July 27, 2012 |  7:35 pm

GetprevGov. Jerry Brown has quietly handed out pay raises to three of his aides in recent months before pushing through pay cuts for most other state workers, including his staff.

Brown has asked employees in his office to take the same roughly 5% pay cut hitting other state workers, but a spokeswoman said raises were justified for three staffers because they were underpaid for the jobs they did.

"These employees received equity adjustments when it became apparent that their salaries were low relative to their duties and workload," said Elizabeth Ashford, a spokeswoman for the governor. "Even with their raises, these employees are paid less than their counterparts were paid in the Schwarzenegger Administration."

The latest disclosure comes a week after state legislators said they had given raises worth $4.6 million annually to more than 1,000 of their aides in the months before cutting the pay of most other state workers. The Legislature’s raises drew a storm of protest from taxpayer groups, who on Friday questioned the raises provided in the governor’s office.

"Any pay increase in this economic environment is suspect," said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. "Very few people in the private sector are getting raises."

He predicted the news of raises would make it harder for Brown to sell a tax increase measure on the November ballot.

Those who received raises are:

--Evan Westrup, a deputy press secretary, who was given a 26.8% raise in April 2012, and now earns an annual salary of $85,842. Like the other two who received raises, Westrup was subject to the 5% cut on July 1.

-- Erin Peth, a deputy legal affairs secretary, who was given a 7.1% raise in February 2012, and now earns a salary of $108,481.

-- Sue Johnsrud, the director of operations, who was given a 4.6% raise in September 2011, and now earns a salary of $135,435. Her pay goes back to close to what it was.

,Ashford said the other 74 employees in the governor's offices received the same roughly 5% pay reduction other state workers got starting July 1. Overall, the governor has cut spending on the governor’s office by about 45% from what was budgeted in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s last year in office, she said.  

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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown at a news conference on water issues earlier this week. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

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