Most California cities paid at least one employee more than $200,000 in salary, overtime and bonuses last year, according to a Sacramento Bee review of new municipal pay figures from the State Controller's Office.
Wages for the highest-paid employee in each city ranged from about $10,000 for the city manager in the tiny town of Amador to about $510,000 for the chief investment officer in the city of San Francisco.
Big paychecks weren't restricted to big cities. Eighteen cities with fewer than 100,000 residents paid at least one employee more than $300,000 last year. About 50 cities with fewer than 25,000 residents paid at least one employee more than $200,000 last year.
The city manager was the highest-paid employee in about 285 of the 469 California cities surveyed by the controller's office. About 50 police department employees -- mostly police chiefs -- and 40 fire department employees -- mostly rank-and-file firefighters earning a lot of overtime -- made more than anyone else in their city.
These high salaries are, by definition, exceptional; the vast majority of municipal employees across California make far less.
The Bee's wage analysis includes regular pay, bonuses and overtime. It excludes 800 city employees across California who earned one-time "lump sum" payments of more than $50,000. Lump sum payments are usually associated with cashing out large amounts of vacation time upon retirement.
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Source: State Controller's Office | Notes: The controller's office does not list the name of city employees, just their job title. Figures exclude city employees across California who earned one-time "lump sum" payments of more than $50,000. Lump sum payments are usually associated with cashing out large amounts of vacation time upon retirement. Map excludes the tiny town of Vernon, which paid its city administrator $329,000 in 2015.