Editor:

Kudos for starting a dialogue on the pay levels of different departments in the city. I have made additional comparisons to Pasadena.

• Legal department: Santa Monica, 17; Pasadena,1

• Fire department: Santa Monica, 29; Pasadena, 1

We lose. Forty-six people in Santa Monica’s legal and fire departments made more than $200,000 in wages in 2011 to two in Pasadena.

The Santa Monica legal department reported 44 employees, including 24 attorneys, 17 of them earning over $200,000. Remember these are wages alone. Total wages for the department was $6,362,415.

Pasadena, with about 50 percent more residents than Santa Monica, had only 30 employees, including 16 attorneys. The department head was the only individual that earned over $200,000 in their legal department. Even that one individual’s salary was $60,000 less than Santa Monica’s head attorney. Total wages for their department was $3,303,716. Santa Monica paid 92.6 percent more in salaries to its legal department than Pasadena.

The wages paid to the 17 highest paid attorneys in Santa Monica were about $3,535,000; in Pasadena it was $1,890,000. This is a difference of $1,645,000, about $100,000 a person.

Comparing the fire departments shows similar disparities. Santa Monica’s five divisions in its fire department show a total of 147 employees; of these 29 made over $200,000.

Pasadena has 178 employees and only one made more than $200,000 and that was the chief.

Santa Monica is paying the top 29 employees in its fire department about $6,000,000; Pasadena pays its top 29 fire department employees about $4,800,000. This is $1,200,000 less, $41,000 a person.

The disparity in wages for both the legal and fire departments is striking and they need to be fully explained by the city.

City Manager Rod Gould said the county grand Jury report was flawed on its report of wages in the legal department. It would be interesting to learn how it was flawed. The numbers shown in that article are the same the city sends to the state controller.

Have there been any audits done on various parts of the city administration? I note there is no controller or auditor listed in the city finance department. Are audits being done and by whom?

All numbers are from the State Controller’s Office Report, Government Compensation in California for 2011.

Keep up the good work, Daily Press; shine light on other major city departments, the pension plans, the self-funded health plan, etc.

 

Bob Wolff

Santa Monica