Capitol Alert

Yee releases new database on California’s local government salaries

The city of Vernon has faced criticism for years about the oversized salaries it pays to city employees and the salaries fueled one effort in the Legislature to have it disincorporated. A new report from the state controller’s office says it has the highest average salaries of any California city.
The city of Vernon has faced criticism for years about the oversized salaries it pays to city employees and the salaries fueled one effort in the Legislature to have it disincorporated. A new report from the state controller’s office says it has the highest average salaries of any California city. MCT

State Controller Betty Yee has released a new searchable database of local government salaries, covering 602,377 positions with more than $36 billion in wages.

The compilation, based on 2014 data reported by 54 of the state’s 58 counties (San Francisco filed as a city) and 468 cities, revealed that average wages in cities fell by more than 3 percent from 2013 levels to $59,614 while those in counties increased by almost 3 percent to $60,993.

Santa Clara County had the highest average among counties, $78,808, while Vernon, an industrial city with few residents in Los Angeles County, topped cities at $103,601.

Yee said the survey also found that average retirement and health care costs per employee declined by about 1 percent in cities to $17,810 while increasing in counties by nearly 11 percent to $25,130.

Yee’s predecessor, John Chiang, initiated the local government salary database in 2010 and it has registered nearly 9 million page views. It now has information on more than 2 million jobs.

Not all cities and counties are filing the salary report, even though it is required by state law. For 2014, Monterey County did not file, while Modoc and Riverside counties either filed late or filed an otherwise non-compliant report, according to Yee’s office. Only seven cities failed to file, including the tiny Los Angeles County municipality of Bell, which has been roiled by scandal.

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