The State Worker

Insights from California state pay data

What do you think of these numbers?

Last year, full-time state workers’ average total wage rose 6.8 percent to $73,776, according to The Sacramento Bee’s analysis of the latest state payroll data. Negotiated pay raises and the end of furloughs in mid-2013 had a lot to do with it.

The figure, sifted from state payroll data obtained each year by The Bee, includes overtime, supplemental earnings for skills or certifications and lump-sum payments such as leave cash-outs. It doesn’t include part-timers or the cost of benefits for employers or employees.

The number is often questioned by workers who don’t make nearly that much or criticized by those who think state workers are overpaid.

It might help to break the figure down, since it includes what bosses earn.

Average total pay for union-represented full-time employees last year rose 6.7 percent to a $69,027. Managers’ and supervisors’ pay increased to $92,345, a 7.75 percent hike.

Of course, there just 33,103 managers and supervisors in state government and 173,145 rank-and-file workers last year, a 1-5 boss-to-bossed ratio.

This column’s companion blog is in the midst of a series that looks at state-employee pay data by union. So far, the data have revealed that CHP officers’ average total pay rose 11 percent last year to $114,749. A raise of nearly 5 percent, the end of furloughs that held down hours and pay the first part of 2013 and increased overtime accounted for most of the increase.

Meanwhile, the number of officers fell nearly 2 percent – 117 left the department and were not replaced. At the end of last year, the number of officers was down 3 percent from 2012.

Wages for the CHP officers’ traditional rivals, prison officers, also grew last year, but not as much. Average total pay for members of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association increased 5 percent to $87,855. Furloughs’ end, a negotiated pay increase for top-tier staff and increased overtime drove the pay trend.

Although CCPOA members on the payroll grew slightly from 2013 to 27,477, their numbers were still about 250 fewer than in 2012.

Highest-paid state employee who’s not a college coach? CalPERS Chief Investment Officer Ted Eliopoulos, who pulled down $744,616 last year. Largest department? Corrections and Rehabilitation with 52,648 employees, nearly as many staff as Tuolumne County has residents.

Of course, the governor and unions bargain wages. The Legislature votes on the agreements. What they think about the numbers is what matters most.

Call Jon Ortiz, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1043. For more columns, go to Sign up for State Worker email alerts at