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Los Angeles employee salaries

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Los Angeles employee salaries are public record under the California Public Records Act.


The salaries of Los Angeles employees are available online via 89.3 KPC. The salary information was released August 6, 2010 by Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel.[1]

A full list of city employee salaries is provided by the City Controller's Office. The Los Angeles Times also published a list of city employee salaries. Information is only available for the most recent salary information in Los Angeles. The database does not list employees by name, only position.[2]

2011 salaries

According to a list published byThe Los Angeles Times, there were 82 city employees making more than $200,000 annually in 2011.[3]

  • Gina Marie Lindsey, the executive director of airport management, drew $326,856, the highest salary of a city of Los Angeles employee.[4]
  • William J. Bratton, the Chief of Police, earned $307,291.
  • The General Manager of the city Harbor Department earned $300,964 .
  • Two Chief Harbor pilots earned $262,482.
  • 13 Harbor Pilots earned $227,676.
  • The city's chief legislative analyst earned $256,803.
  • Fire Chief Brian Cummings earned $260,000.
  • Four deputy general managers of the airports earned $235,401.
  • Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa earned $232,426.
  • Jon Kirk Mukri, the General Manager of Parks and Recreation, earned $229,074.
  • The general manager of the Los Angeles Zoo earned $210,909.
  • The city librarian earned $210,000.
  • Two deputy fire chiefs earned $241,310.
  • The deputy police chief earned $256,072.
  • The city engineer earned $228,970.
  • The general manager of the LA Fire and Police Pension program earned $224,168.
  • Five chief assistant city attorneys earned $220,764.
  • 14 senior assistant city attorneys earned $205,724.
  • Two mayoral chiefs of staff earned $194,059.
  • 15 city council members earned $178,789.


Sunshine Review filed a California Public Records Act request seeking information from the city on benefits provided for employees. The city has not responded to the request.

According to the city Personnel Department, the city provides a variety of health and dental plans for the employee, spouses, domestic partners and eligible children. The programs available include both managed care and preferred provider options.[5] The city offers basic life insurance in the amount of $10,000 at no cost to most employees. Supplemental insurance may be purchased at low cost through payroll deductions.[6]

Employees are also eligible to participate in a public pension program.

Phone use

The city could save $1 million by optimizing cell phone plans and another $1.2 million by using stipends to pay for cell phones.[7] As of 2011, the city had nearly 11,812 cell phones.[7] There were seven departments included in the city audit.[7]

Department Number of cell phones
Water and Power 3971
Police Department 1525
World Airports 872
Fire Department 798
General Services 580
Building and Safety 494

Some of the findings from the audit include[8]:

  • Before the audit, nobody knew how many cell phones the city paid for.
  • 563 cell phones had no usage for two or three consecutive months.
  • Poor plan selection led to unnecessary cost of $28,000.

Car use

Sunshine Review filed a public records request seeking information from the city on automobiles provided for employees. The city has not responded to the request.

A 2009 audit of vehicle use in Los Angeles criticized the use of 1,100 take-home vehicles and 2,000 cars from other departments.[9] The take-home vehicles were originally purchased at a cost of $27 million and the 2,000 other vehicles for $50 million. The yearly costs were $3 million for the take-home vehicles and $7 million for the other cars.[10]

The city's 215 vehicle executive fleet for elected officials and their staffs costs the city $6,100 per vehicle. The average cost of the executive fleet vehicles rose from $20,923 in 2003 to $30,327 in 2008.[11]

Salary records project

In 2011, Sunshine Review chose 152 local governments as the focus of research on public employee salaries. The editors of Sunshine Review selected eight states with relevant political contexts (listed alphabetically):

1. California
2. Florida
3. Illinois
4. Michigan
5. New Jersey
6. Pennsylvania
7. Texas
8. Wisconsin

Within these states, the editors of Sunshine Review focused on the most populous cities, counties and school districts, as well as the emergency services entities within these governments. The purpose of this selection method was to develop articles on governments affecting the most citizens.

The salary information garnered from these states were a combination of existing online resources and state Freedom of Information Act requests sent out to the governments.

Importance of public employee pay disclosure

In July 2010, The Los Angeles Times uncovered that officials in Bell, California were making remarkably high salaries.[12] Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo was earning a yearly $787,637. It was later uncovered that Rizzo's total compensation after taking benefits into account topped $1.5 million a year.[13]

For comparison:[12]

  • Manhattan Beach, with about 7,000 fewer people than Bell, paid its most recent city manager $257,484 a year.
  • Long Beach, with a population close to 500,000, paid its city manager $235,000 annually.
  • Los Angeles County paid its chief executive, William T. Fujioka, $338,458.

Corruption solution

After this report was released, governments began to proactively disclose salary information of their employees. Before the end of the summer of 2010, more than a dozen cities in Orange County, for example, posted salary information on the front pages of their websites.[14]

The cost of transparency websites maintaining such information ranges from the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands. These websites also save money, and this often is not taken into account when measuring costs.

Citizens upset about the breach of trust and armed with information formed a group called the Bell Association to Stop the Abuse, which pushed for an independent audit of city salaries and contracts.[15]

Citizens, empowered with information, are key to keeping government free from corruption and efficient. A study published by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia revealed that the city of Philadelphia has a problem with the efficiency and costs of public employee pensions.[16] The amount that Philadelphia pays to pension recipients limits the city’s ability to use its budget effectively.

The report revealed that there were more individuals receiving pension benefits—33,907 claimants in 2006—than workers in the city—28,701.[16] The authors of the study recommend three steps towards addressing the problem of high costs in pensions.[16] First, improve data collection so that decision-making in terms of pension policies is more informed. Second, promote transparency for better accountability to citizens. Third, reduce costs and use the savings for developing Philadelphia.

Resistance to public employee salary data as public records

The idea of making public employee salaries is relatively new. In 2008, several local government employee associations and unions protested the posting of state employee salaries by newspaper The Sacramento Bee.[17][18] At the time, it was seen as a safety risk and invasion of privacy.

Sunshine Review aims in posting salary information

Publicly posted salaries often leave out important information. Salary schedules can be published as ranges, not as specific take-home compensation, and high-level, highly-paid positions are often not disclosed proactively.[14][13] Additionally, salaries leave out compensation received through health and retirement benefits, as well as benefits such as commuter allowances and cell phone reimbursements. This project aimed to close the gap and provide a more accurate picture of public employee salaries for the sake of public education and transparency.

See also

External links