‘$100K Minimum Wage’ For 220,000 Highly-Compensated California Public Employees Costs Taxpayers $35B

‘$100K Minimum Wage’ For 220,000 Highly-Compensated California Public Employees Costs Taxpayers $35B


Adam Andrzejewski 11/11/2016 Forbes


In California, according to data captured at OpenTheBooks.com, 212 city and small town managers out-earn every governor of the 50 states ($180,000).

In many states, public service has little to do with serving the public and everything to do with using the public’s money to serve politicians. Whenever we open the books, California is consistently among the worst offenders. Recently, we found ‘animal collection curators’ making $110,290; city librarians earning $222,320; public utility commission bosses at $550,028; and county hospital doctors making $1.274 million.

This spring, at Forbes, we exposed 50,000 Illinois public employees earning six-figure salaries who cost taxpayers $8 billion. In California the numbers are exponentially larger:  218,667 employees making six-figures who cost $35 billion. For example, Illinois has 72 ‘city managers’ out-earning every governor of the 50 states. But, in California, the salaries of 171 assistant city managers average $201,550!

Using our interactive mapping tool, quickly review (by ZIP code) the 220,000 California public employees who earn more than $100,000. Just click on a pin and scroll down to search the results rendered in the chart beneath the map.


  • 90012, Los Angeles – the #1 ZIP code in California with 42,007 six-figure employees costing taxpayers $7.5 billion per year. The highly compensated LA ‘Port Pilot’ John Betz earned $482,792 helping cargo ships navigate the harbor and ten other ‘port pilots’ were paid an additional $3.7 million in salary plus overtime. Union contracts mandate the overtime abuses.
  • 92502, Riverside County – the home of Lee Wagner, an Assistant Sheriff who netted $653,025. Wagner’s base salary was $234,584, but received a salary spike by cashing-in unused banks of benefits, i.e. leave. Also, the county highly compensated its ‘staff psychiatrists’: Charles Yates ($472,175) and David Dinicola ($433,422).
  • 92522, City of Riverside – two ‘assistant city managers’ each exceed $200,000 in salary- Deanna Lorson ($220,994) and Alfred Zelinka ($209,700). While in the utilities department, eighteen ‘power line technicians’ made $105,572 and their manager cleaned off $198,516.
  • 94102, San Francisco – William J. Coaker, Jr. netted $507,832 as the Chief Investment Officer (CIO) for the City of San Francisco. In contrast, the CIO at CalPERS (California Public Employees Retirement System) only made $456,877 last year – managing the largest pension fund in the United States with $301 billion in assets.  And, it’s good to be a truck driver in San Francisco. Thirty highly compensated drivers made $100,000 plus with Jeffrey Lamendola earning $184,767. Two city bricklayers made $106,681 and $101,460 respectively. Who knew that cities employed six-figure bricklayers?
  • 90210, Beverly Hills – 326 municipal employees earned six-figures including Art Director Aram Chobanian ($114,318) and Events and Filming Supervisor Benita Miller ($103,841). But topping the list are the fire and police staff: David Grate, Fire Battalion Chief ($349,449), Charles Ratcliff, Fire Engineer ($344,223), and Scott Dowling, Police Sergeant ($320,758).
  • 94538, Fremont – Levine Harvey, the City Attorney, cost taxpayers $419,394 with a $40,000 salary raise last year. 697 highly compensated staffers cost more than $100,000 per year with thirty over $300,000. Sixteen police and fire officers earned between $321,262 to $404,810. Even the ‘animal services manager’ cost taxpayers $186,422.

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