Administrators, managers and executives at the Kern Community College District received a pay bump totaling more than $545,000 Thursday.

Four of those administrators at Bakersfield College, the district's flagship campus, are also getting stipends on top of their regular salary. Those employees' pay rates were the same as their counterparts at the district's smaller campuses, Cerro Coso and Porterville, despite taking on a heavier workload, an independent consultant employed by the district said.

“The roles at Bakersfield College were larger in scope and complexity primarily due to the budgetary requirements and the span of budget control for the particular role,” said Stephen McGillivray, a principal at Korn Ferry Hay Group, an independent consulting firm that reviewed the salary schedules.

Those four individuals are Athletic Director Sandi Taylor, Vice President of Instruction Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Vice President of Student Services Zav Dadabhoy and Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Anthony Culpepper. They all earn between $138,000 and $160,000 and will receive stipends worth 5 percent of their salary annually, averaging roughly $7,400.

Trustees voted in favor of the pay hike 5-1, with Romeo Agbalog dissenting. 

The across-the-board raises are based on a market analysis survey, stacking up job duties and pay rates against those in comparable districts. Since September, the district's 130 managers have received roughly $1.2 million in pay increases.

“We've been very diligent about being equitable across the district,” Trustee President Dennis Beebe said after the meeting, noting that managers had not received a pay raise since 2009 when they got less than a half percent bump to compensate for being overcharged for health benefits premium contributions.

The raises, however, are not without some controversy. Trustees altered the salary schedule in September for the 2015-2016 school year after performing an in-house analysis. At least one government watchdog group, Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government, cried foul and filed an ethics point complaint with the district.

The district compared its management salaries to those in areas with higher costs of living and didn't form a review committee, said Lauren Skidmoore, executive director of Kern Citizens.

“We were concerned with the transparency in the process,” Skidmoore said. “Numerous KCCD staff were a part of the research and discussion of this item, and they themselves benefitted from the salary increase.”

The district hired an outside consultant, Hay Group, to review the salary schedule, which is effective retroactively from July 1 through 2019.

When asked about any complaints from watchdog groups after the board meeting Thursday, Trustee Dennis Beebe said he hadn't heard of any.

“I'm not aware of any allegations,” Beebe said.

An assistant to the district's general counsel said it's routine for trustees to be made aware of those types of ethic points complaints.

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