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Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

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State Controller John Chiang at the Capitol Bureau in 2011.

California Controller John Chiang releases new county, city pay data

Published: Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 - 3:53 pm

Question: What do a city manager, a city attorney and a police sergeant have in common? Answer: They occupy the top three spots on State Controller John Chiang’s city government salary survey.

The data is part of local government wage and benefit update that covers 637,435 employees who together earned about $38.9 billion in 2012. Chiang also has compiled this list of counties, cities and special districts that didn’t file salary and compensation reports. Chiang also keeps track of compensation paid to state employees and public college and university workers.

We’ve embedded below the Top 10 city and Top 10 county pay outs for 2012. You can download the raw data for cities and counties to delve more deeply into the particulars: regular pay, overtime, lump-sum pay and “other pay,” such as leave cash outs -- but no names. Last year’s highest-paid local government employee, an orthopedic surgeon in Kern County, received about $673,000 in regular pay and $367,500 in “other” pay.

SCO Report: Top 10 City and County Salaries 2012

Read more articles by Jon Ortiz

About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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Note: The State Worker blog switched blog platforms in October 2013. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.

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