Conversation piece: Are city employees paid too much?
This week, city officials released 2011 salary data for hundreds of city employees. Some 50 city employees earned salaries and benefits totaling $200,000 or more. Police and fire managers held nine of the top 10 spots on the earnings chart, taking home more in pay and benefits than the directors of any other city department.
The list was topped by Police Captain James B. Brock, who earned $409,879 in pay and benefits - more than Chief Mike Noonan, who held the second spot on the list by earning $361,583 in pay and benefits in 2011. Brock, who retired in 2011, earned $164,739 in leave/deferred comp conversation pay. Alameda Municipal Power General Manager Girish Balachandran was the city's only non-safety employee to make the top 10 in 2011, earning $240,812 in pay and benefits.
Heads of nearly every city department who worked throughout 2011 earned pay and benefits of over $200,000 (City Clerk Lara Weisiger was the exception, taking home pay and benefits of $158,588), though the city was without a permanent city manager, city attorney, fire chief or community and economic development manager last year, and it no longer has directors running its planning or finance departments. Former Recreation and Park Director Dale Lillard, who retired last year but kept working for the city under a different job classification, took in $210,574 in pay and benefits.
Overtime pay and retiree benefit contributions helped boost the total compensation of public safety employees; city contributions to some safety employees' retirement accounts were double and triple those received by top managers in other departments. Fire apparatus operator William E. Klump, for example, earned pay and benefits of $214,241 in 2011 on a base salary of $100,308, the city's records show - more than the city's library and human resources directors, who had higher base pay but no overtime and a little more than half the retiree benefit contribution Klump received.
So what are your thoughts on city employee pay? Do you think city workers make too much, or just enough? The list, the third annual one released by city leaders following public records requests, can be downloaded by clicking the link below.