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Los Angeles County employee salaries

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Los Angeles County employee salaries are public records.

The Los Angeles Times compiled county employee salaries for 2009. None of the five elected county supervisors made the list of highest-paid county employees. They earned $178,789.[1]

Salaries

See also: 2009 Los Angeles County employee salaries

There were 199 Los Angeles County public employees who made over $250,000 in 2009.[2] These were not necessarily employees with the county. The highest earner was the Senior Physician in the Harbor-Ucla Medical Center, who made $430,909 in total earnings. The top twenty earners' salaries totaled $7,642,969.

Top 20 LA County employee salaries, 2009
Employee name Job title Department name Base salary earnings Overtime earnings Other earnings Total earnings
Yang, Elaine C Senior Physician Harbor-Ucla Medical Center $280,626 $91,137 $59,146 $430,909
Holschneider, Christine H Chief Physician I Olive View Hospital $366,520 $1,557 $55,457 $423,534
Anderson Jr, Gail Medical Director Ii Harbor-Ucla Medical Center $365,573 $0 $56,076 $421,649
Mc Donald, John S Chief Physician I Harbor-Ucla Medical Center $361,113 $0 $52,694 $413,807
Fujioka, William T Chief Executive Officer (Uc) Chief Executive Officer $338,458 $0 $64,683 $403,141
Gruen, John P Chief Physician Iii Lac+Usc Medical Center $353,175 $0 $48,846 $402,022
Au, Anh H Physician Specialist, Mf Olive View Hospital $308,568 $45,190 $41,339 $395,097
Kwan, Wing-Fai Physician Specialist, Mf Harbor-Ucla Medical Center $294,799 $82,399 $17,459 $394,657
Dea, Stanley K Physician Specialist, Mf Olive View Hospital $278,530 $30,653 $76,123 $385,307
Loos, William Medical Director Ii Olive View Hospital $332,522 $0 $48,578 $381,100
Chen, Biing-Jaw Physician Specialist, Mf Harbor-Ucla Medical Center $265,544 $67,960 $33,568 $367,071
Splawn, Robert G Chf Dep Dir, Hs, Clin&Med Aff (Uc) Health Services Administration $323,451 $0 $43,380 $366,831
Schunhoff, John F Chief Dep Dir, Health Services (Uc) Health Services Administration $309,275 $0 $56,363 $365,638
Kwong, Louis M Physician Specialist, Mf Harbor-Ucla Medical Center $325,793 $0 $35,037 $360,829
Mirkovich Jr, Joseph N Mental Health Psychiatrist Mental Health $207,292 $122,666 $29,989 $359,948
Fielding, Jonathan E Director Of Public Health Public Health Program $309,494 $0 $48,917 $358,411
Thompson, Jesse Chief Physician Ii Olive View Hospital $330,818 $0 $23,868 $354,686
Derdemezi, Jeanette Physician Specialist, Mf Harbor-Ucla Medical Center $262,758 $58,740 $32,460 $353,958
Verma, Ramesh C Chief Physician I Olive View Hospital $296,548 $0 $56,898 $353,446
Mehringer, Charles Mark Chief Physician I Harbor-Ucla Medical Center $318,242 $0 $32,686 $350,928

Overtime

Four county employees –- all pilots for the county Fire Department -- made more in overtime than they did in base salary in 2009.[1] 99 of the 199 earning more than $250K made more than $10,000 in overtime in 2009.[1]

Los Angeles County city manager salaries

See also: Los Angeles County city manager salaries

The following information is based on a report from The Los Angeles Times in which the newspaper looked at salary data from 2009 to compare the trends across city manager pay.[3] The paper launched the survey amid public outcry over the salaries of Bell, California ex-city manager Robert Rizzo and other top city administrators in Bell uncovered in July 2010.

Top 10 earners: LA County city managers, 2009
City Name 2009 taxable compensation
Los Angeles Miguel Santana $262,000
Culver City Mark Scott $263,358
Torrance LeRoy Jackson $268,382
Lancaster Mark Bozigian $270,207
Pasadena Michael Beck $270,730
Palmdale Steve Williams $275,285
West Hollywood Paul Arevalo $285,496
Beverly Hills Rod Wood $301,688
Santa Monica P. Lamont Ewell $315,444
Bell Robert Rizzo $787,637

The average pay of a city manager in Los Angeles County was about $209,000 as of 2010.[3]

The total taxable compensation cities reported paying their administrators in 2009 -- including base salary and other routine, taxable components such as bonuses; housing, car and cellphone allowances; and cashed-out sick leave and vacation time -- ranged from $106,600 in tiny Bradbury to about $315,000 in Santa Monica.[3]

The top 10 city managers earned a combined total of $3,300,227, with Rizzo earning the most: $787,637.

Salary disclosure and safety

In 2010, the county was criticized for being reticent on releasing employee salary data along with names.[4][5] Following the Bell scandal, media began to request county salaries. The county asked for two weeks to gather information on what it would release, citing safety concerns for employees whose names should be kept private.[5]

County court salary disclosure

In 2009, California's judiciary adopted transparency rules allowing for the first time access to judicial-branch spending on personnel.[6] All judges' salaries have long been made public because they are considered constitutional officers and paid by the state controller's office. What the new transparency rules enacted in 2010 made clear for the first time in state history is that the pay of all other court employees, such as clerks, lawyers and administrators, is also public record.[6]

The county did not respond to a California Public Records Act request from The Contra Costa Times for county court employee salaries in 2010. A former spokesman for the Los Angeles court said that the court's top official, Chief Executive Officer John Clarke, held meetings where he discussed how to "stonewall as long as possible" the release of salary data. The spokesperson had previously been fired for allegedly leaking confidential information.[6] The spokesperson denied the allegations and stated his firing was due to his attempt to change the culture of secrecy in the court.

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.[7] 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.[8]

For comparison:[7]

  • 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.[9]

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.[10]

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.[11] 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.[11] The authors of the study recommend three steps towards addressing the problem of high costs in pensions.[11] 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.[12][13] 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.[9][8] 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

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