Despite an ongoing lawsuit regarding his alleged employee abuse, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted last week to extend County CEO Mike Brown’s contract until 2011.

In a closed meeting held June 15, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to extend Brown’s contract by two years. Brown, who receives an annual salary of $220,000 and serves as the County Executive Office’s administrator, will also receive an extension to any future severance package from four months’ to nine months’ worth of pay.

The vote came after an annual review of Brown’s performance by the County Board of Supervisors. In the meeting, the board discussed many facets of his performance and weighed the pros and cons of extending his contract.

After consideration, Supervisors Janet Wolf and Salud Carbajal voted against the extension. Supervisors Brooks Firestone, Joni Gray and Joe Centeno voted in favor of Brown, and the contract was extended based on majority vote.

The extension comes at a controversial time in Brown’s career. On May 18, former Santa Barbara public defender James Egar filed a lawsuit against Brown and the county.

The lawsuit, in which Brown is accused of assault and battery, states that the CEO abused employees and created a negative work environment. The suit also accuses Brown of discrimination, harassment and retaliatory behavior.

Egar, who now works in Marin County, alleged that Brown threatened him with termination and that the CEO continually swore and spit at him. Egar said he tried for years to counteract Brown’s abusive behavior and create a better environment for all of the employees before he filed the lawsuit.

When the lawsuit was filed last month, 3rd District Supervisor Brooks Firestone defended Brown and the entire county government. In a statement, Firestone said he had confidence that, due to Brown’s professionalism and competence, the matter would come to a close soon.

As of yet, no one has issued a decision in Egar’s case against Brown. Brown’s CEO contract extension is effective immediately.