Employee compensation costs Santa Monicans more per resident than almost any other city in the state.
Santa Monica ranks third on a list of the top 10 California cities with a population of at least 10,000 for employee cost per resident. Locals spend $2,914 per resident on compensation for city employees. San Francisco ranked first at $4,483 and Beverly Hills came in second at $3,242.
Rounding out the list is Palo Alto ($2,202), Monterey ($2,063), Culver City ($1,968), Los Angeles ($1,694), Commerce ($1,669), Santa Fe Springs ($1,646) and Berkeley ($1,603).
This analysis was released by Transparent California, a website affiliated with the free-market focused Nevada Policy Research Institute. Transparent California gathers salary data from all California municipal organizations and provides a searchable database at http://transparentcalifornia.com.
According to Robert Fellner, research director for Transparent California, the statewide weighted average for cost per resident is $857 and the simple average for cities with at least 10,000 people is $560. The average cost per resident for all Los Angeles cities surveyed was $1,203.
While the City of Santa Monica spends more per resident, employee compensation in the city is far closer to the average resident’s salary than other cities in Los Angeles County. Santa Monica city employees make about 113 percent of the city’s average income. On average, City workers are paid $84,047 annually compared to $74,420 for residents. Of the 52 Los Angeles County cities ranked by Transparent California, 45 pay their workers more than 115 percent of the average or more. Only six cities paid their employees at or below the average resident’s salary (Hermosa Beach, Sierra Madre, Manhattan Beach, Malibu, San Marino and Calabasas).
Fellner said his organization recently received 2014 salary information and released results upon completion of their analysis. Salary information is publicly available but some cities only provide the information upon formal request.
Santa Monica’s salary information is publicly available via the City’s Open Data portal. Residents can visit https://data.smgov.net to access city information including several years worth of salary information for all permanent and temporary city employees.
According to Transparent California, Santa Monica’s top 10 employees for total compensation (regular, overtime, other and benefits) were:
City Manager, $496,819
Police Chief, $449,641
Police Sergeant, $434,367
City Attorney, $426,353
Deputy Police Chief, $420,098
Assistant City Attorney, $414,986
Fire Captain – Suppression, $404,546
Fire Captain – Suppression, $402,981
Assistant City Manager, $385,178
Fire Captain – Suppression, $382,149
Santa Monica’s publicly available figures differ slightly from the Transparent California figures and while the same individuals compose the top 10, they appear in a slightly different order.
According to the Open Data Portal, the top 10 for 2014 were:
City Manager, $485,912
Police Chief, $452,647
Police Sergeant, $434,290
Deputy Police Chief, $415,511
City Attorney, $414,195
Assistant City Attorney, $408,523
Fire Captain – Suppression, $397,000
Fire Captain – Suppression, $396,442
Assistant City Manager, $377,557
Fire Captain – Suppression, $376,645
According to Transparent California, the five highest compensated city workers in Los Angeles County were:
Compton city manager Glenn Duffey, $512,728, benefits not included
Santa Monica city manager Rodney Gould, $496,819
Los Angeles Harbor chief port pilot II Bent Christiansen, $489,191, retirement benefits not included
Los Angeles Harbor chief port pilot II Michael Rubino, $474,535, retirement benefits not included
Beverly Hills city manager Jeff Kolin, $466,540
The top five cities in Los Angeles County with the highest average compensation package for full-time employees were:
West Hollywood: $148,858
San Gabriel: $145,400
Santa Monica: $144,780