Average CA city employee compensation over $140,000/year!

Richard Rider, Chairman, San Diego Tax Fighters Richard Rider, Chairman, San Diego Tax Fighters 7 Comments


Okay, my headline may not be a true average for all California cities. But for the three cities that have been analyzed in detail below, it IS true.

Yet if you believe our state’s highly respected (respected by the MSM, at least) elected Controller, Democrat John Chiang, you’d think many public employees are one paycheck away from going Dempsey Dumpster diving.  That fiction is ably rebutted in the article below.  As the cliché says, this is a must read piece.

Here’s a quick comparison between the “average wages” used by Chiang and the more honest “average total compensation” cost to taxpayers.
Anaheim: “average wages” = $53,927.
Anaheim: “average total compensation” = $146,551.

Costa Mesa: “average wages” = $71,379.
Costa Mesa: “average total compensation” = $146,863.
San Jose: “average wages” = $61,308.
San Jose: “average total compensation” = $149,907.

Be advised — this comparison significantly understates both the average wage AND total compensation.  Chiang includes part-time workers in his average, and ignores “special pay” and overtime.  Plus the true cost of the benefits is understated.

Read the whole article.  Then go take out your aggression on a punching bag.


Union Watch

California State Controller’s Employee Pay Tracker Grossly Understates Actual Compensation

by  on NOVEMBER 14, 2012 · 4 COMMENTS
California state controller John Chiang has unveiled a website that tracks public employee pay. Unfortunately, the website provides grossly misleading information. The data compiled and summarized on this website report average wages that are literally one half to one-third the amount of total compensation actually earned by California’s state and local public servants. The impact of this will be to further obscure the reality of just how much California’s public servants really make. If you go to the state controller’s website and download the raw data spreadsheets several problems become immediately obvious:
(1) The records are not sorted by city or county, so it is impossible to look at the information – or extract the information for serious analysis – for any one city or county. Everything is mixed up.
(2) The records include columns for overtime and “other pay,” but there is ZERO data in them. Anyone who has reviewed public pay records knows that, for example, often the “other pay” is equivalent to 50% or more of the base salary, and overtime can also often equal as much as 50% or more of the base salary. The pay numbers summarized on this website are therefore grossly understated.
(3) If you read the State controller’s instructions to cities, it appears they are only asking respondents to provide the amount of pension withholding, i.e., the employee contribution, NOT the employer contribution, which is far greater. If you total the pension contributions showing in that column, they add up to 3.5% of city payroll and 2.9% of county payroll. If you still think that’s all the public employee pensions are costing us, I have a great deal for you on the Golden Gate Bridge.
(4) It is also clear from viewing the raw data that tens of thousands of part-time and temporary positions are included in the records. Including data for part-time workers dramatically distorts the averages downwards.
The casual visitor to this website will view the interactive map, click on their city or county, and see the “average wages” figure, thinking it is representative of what these employees make. But reporting wages while including part-time workers and while excluding the costs of benefits, overtime, and other pay, results in extremely understated averages. Total compensation, accounting properly for all these factors, is the only accurate way to assess how much an average worker really earns. Here is the data for three cities, comparing “average wages” as reported by the State Controller, vs. “average total compensation,” using actual payroll data obtained by the California Public Policy Center from the same three cities:
Anaheim: “average wages” = $53,927.
Anaheim: “average total compensation” = $146,551.
Costa Mesa: “average wages” = $71,379.
Costa Mesa: “average total compensation” = $146,863.
San Jose: “average wages” = $61,308.
San Jose: “average total compensation” = $149,907.
The state controller’s “average wages” disclosures can be viewed here:
The California Public Policy Center’s studies on total compensation, including actual downloadable spreadsheets provided by these three cities, can be found here:
Merely averaging base wages paid, without including the costs for overtime, “other pay,” and employer paid benefits, is not an accurate measurement of how much someone makes. And the much higher total compensation figures reported by the CPPC still do not take into account what’s going to happen to required pension fund contributions when CalPERS and their counterparts finally abandon the fraudulently optimistic projection of 7.5% annual returns on the pension funds. As it is, the state controller has, for example, mislead viewers into thinking the average worker for the City of Anaheim only makes $53,927 per year, when in reality the average worker for the City of Anaheim makes $146,551 per year in total compensation. This is shameful deception.
The fact that the State Controller has gone to this much trouble to produce an overwhelming mass of data that, in fact, understates the amount our public servants make by at least a factor of 2x, undermines the credibility of the office, to put it mildly.

Comments 7

  1. Thanks to RINOs like Jerome Stocks… our pension obligations are off the charts. In 2005 Jerome Stocks voted on a 35% increase in pensions for all City Employee and Council including himself. If thats not a big enough windfall for all City Employees, he also gave them a 14% raise over 3 years!!! Its RINOs like him that caused this huge problem.

    The first thing the GOP needs to do is cleans itself of RINOs like Stocks and Bilbray. Its a step to show the party actually has some integrity and is returning to follow its own platform of fiscal responsibility.

  2. Jack,

    You speak of fiscal responsibility as if this is something GOP leaders used to practice, but have recently abandoned. I believe you are longing for days that never existed as I cannot remember a time when any GOP leader representing San Diego (President, Governor or Mayor) has ever reduced the size of government.

  3. Post

    Jack’s point is quite valid. While I find that most of our STATE Republican Party representatives have been good to excellent on such fiscal issues, on the local level too often the GOP “nonpartisan” elected officials have been as bad as the Dems. Jerome Stocks is just one of many, MANY examples.

    The good news is that this sad situation seems to be in the process of changing — well, significantly improving, at least. Perhaps this new-found frugality religion is largely a consequence of folks finally recognizing that such public employee largess is simply unsustainable.

    But regardless of the reasons for the improvement in GOP officials, it’s been very good to see. It’s one of the reasons that I decided to come over to the GOP, after 35 years as a Libertarian Party activist.

  4. Mr. Rider, do you believe that professional public employees (such as engineers, MBAs or JDs) should be paid at the same rate as the private sector?

  5. Well, Jack, if you lean towards the Libertarian Party, good on ya!

    But FYI, the Libertarian PARTY is about to be banned in CA — along with most other third parties. After the 2014 election, all but the dormant American Independent Party will be ballot decertified.

    No longer will one be able to register by checking most third party preferences on the voter registration card.

    One can write in a party preference when one registers — there are literally hundreds of such political “parties” selected that way. Of course, it’s meaningless.

    It’s unlikely that we’ll ever again have a Libertarian Party candidate on the ballot for a partisan election from 1916 onward — except for President (which has a different set of rules).

    It’s the unintended consequence of our vaunted CA “top two” voting system. For a political party to retain ballot status, at least one of its candidates must get at least 2% of the vote in the November election — something the LP and other parties have managed in the past. But since no LP candidate will MAKE it to the “top two” November election runoff, that will be the end of the LP, Green and P&F parties.

    The AIP will likely retain ballot status due to its large number of voter registrations (a second criteria a party can meet to retain ballot status) — AIP registrations resulting from many people wrongly assuming that registering “American INDEPENDENT Party” is the way to register “independent.”

  6. Welp…. sounds like a broken system that the public will eventually wake up and change. Just like Stocks being out… next all the greedy bankers and Senators in Congress… time for jail time and worse punishment IMHO.

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