What City Employees in Piedmont Get in Salary, Pension and Benefits

State controller's office releases a list on public payroll. Alameda County has the second highest average salary among counties.

Piedmont has the 401st highest average employee salary among the 477 cities listed in a new public pay study.

The state Controller's Office has put together a chart of city and county employee salary, benefits and pension contributions for municipal agencies throughout California.

The 2011 salary list shows the average salary for municipal workers across the state is $61,059 a year.

The average salary for Piedmont city workers is listed as $27,549. The total amount spent on city salaries was $10 million.

Below are charts comparing the city with statewide averages as well as the top 10 Piedmont city employees in salary. That chart includes annual pay and what the city contributed to benefits and pensions.

The employees are listed by position only, not name. The wages includes salary, overtime, vacation payouts and bonuses.

Piedmont Statewide Average Population 10,726 64,930 Number of city employees 371 620 Ratio of residents per city employee 28:1 104:1 Average wages for city employees $27,549 $61,059 Amount spent on total wages $10 million Amount spent per resident $953 Source: California State Controller's Office


Employee position Total wages Benefits Pension City Administrator $214,140 $15,335 $14,975 Fire Captain $180,559 $20,470 $0 Police Chief $174,327 $20,470 $0 Fire Chief $172,641 $15,335 $0 Fire Captain $168,279 $15,335 $0 Finance Director $167,007 $20,470 $12,322 Fire Lieutenant $162,719 $20,470 $0 Public Works Director $154,633 $15,335 $11,040 Police Captain $153,903 $20,295 $0 Police Sergeant $152,924 $20,470 $0

Alameda County is ranked as having the second highest annual salary of the 57 counties listed.

The average county salary statewide for 2011 was $59,664.

Alameda County's average salary is listed as $69,386. The total spent on county employee salaries was $646 million.

Here are the top five county employees with wages as well as county contributions to benefits and pensions.

Employee position Total Wages Benefits Pension

County Administrator

$423,664 $25,332 $40,538 Physician III $305,163 $6,528 $62,683 Sheriff $287,187 $22,872 $165,329 Director, Information Tech $283,256 $16,439 $64,966 District Attorney $279,401 $16,086 $63,907

Chris McKenzie, the executive director of the League of California Cities, defended the municipal salaries.

He said high-ranking public employees oversee large departments, manage millions of dollars in funds and have to respond to a complex array of state and federal laws.

He also noted the administrators would be paid much larger salaries if they were doing comparable jobs in the private sector.

"These individuals are the chief executive officers of extremely important local government agencies," said McKenzie. "Would you want a low-paid surgeon to perform your next surgery? You can always go out and find cheaper employees, but you get what you pay for."

Officials with the California Taxpayers Association were asked by Patch for comment, but they did not respond.

Peter Wilson March 01, 2013 at 04:47 PM
These numbers are a bit misleading. Piedmont has a low average salary per municipal employee. However, it must use a high number of low hour, part-time employees which skews the average salary considerably. The most important comparison is not shown, which is the cost of municipal employees per Piedmont resident. You can back into it from the numbers: the State average is $587 while Piedmont is $953 (I actually calculate $932). I am sure that Piedmont has measurably more services than average, but should it be spending 60% more? Also, it would be good to see the per household averages.
Mike Henn March 01, 2013 at 08:15 PM
I would agree that Piedmont's generally excellent employees are not overpaid relative to the basis used in municipal government to set salaries: the prevaling wage studies of similar jurisdictions. What isn't mentioned and not generally understood is the overall flawed process of governmental salary setting. There is nobody on the other side of the negotiating table who clearly represents taxpayers in salary negotiations. A City Manager negotiates with his or her own employees at budget time. He/she wants to keep them happy. All employee groups indirectly negotiate with the local elected officials. The Councilmembers and Supervisors depend on the staff to help them do their job. In big jurisdictions, the elected officials depend on the public employee unions for campaign support. In other words, the salary setting process just marches along in only an upward direction, slowing in bad times and increasing in good times. In bad times, employees are cut but wages never go down. In comparison, companies in the private sector have uncertainty if they will survive bad times, motivating them to be demanding if necessary . The public sector has no such concerns about survival. The Vallejos, Stocktons and San Bernardino Counties bankrupted themselves not by drastically overpaying employees, but by being victims of the prevailing wage system, when their local economies tanked.
Tim Rood March 01, 2013 at 08:18 PM
Peter, you are absolutely right. The Rec Department in particular has a large number of part-time staff which makes the average salary figure pretty misleading. Actual salary figures for individual Piedmont employees can be found at http://www.mercurynews.com/salaries/bay-area/2011 (these data are a couple years old so there may be more recent figures available somewhere else).
garrett Keating March 01, 2013 at 09:27 PM
Tim is correct. The ball park number for Piedmont FTE's is 100, 50 Miscellaneous, 50 public safety. Basing our average on 371 gives a highly skewed underestimate of public employee salaries in Piedmont. Th 2011 Municipal Tax Review Committee did a great salary and benefits comparison of Piedmont and comparable cities - see http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/html/govern/staffreports/09-06-11/mtrc.pdf page 22 of the report.


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