The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Who’s Getting Rich in California?

Posted on | August 2, 2011 | 36 Comments

Government employees, that’s who!

Orange County’s nearly-three-dozen city managers were paid a total of $9.6 million last year, according to data in a recent grand jury report on city compensation.
That’s 34 big cheese municipal executives earning an average $281,699 each, including $207,808 in salary and $73,891 in benefits.
A dozen of them earned more than $300,000.

The city manager of Santa Ana, for example, collects an annual salary of $262,272 and benefits worth $75,079; Anaheim’s city manager gets $258,351 in salary and $80,077 in benefits; Irvine’s city manager gets $250,307 in salary and $85,485 in benefits.

By comparison, a U.S. Senator’s annual salary is $174,000.

The Secretary of Defense gets $199,700 a year.

The FBI director gets $165,300 a year.

But city manager of Anaheim . . . that’s an important job!


36 Responses to “Who’s Getting Rich in California?”

  1. Ladd Ehlinger Jr.
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 1:50 pm


  2. DaveO
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

    Not a function of importance, but a function of value. If the voters in California place that kind of value in their public servants – good for them! So long as the rest of America doesn’t subsidize them.

    Given the track records at Defense, State, the FBI, and the Senate, there’s a strong argument for pegging their salary at minimum wage and reducing that to the 1983 level.

  3. Joe
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

    You could fill these jobs for salaries of less than $75K (I am being generous just because it is expensive in Orange County).   That is assuming they work part time, they will cause less mischief that way. 

  4. Steven
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

    Ah, public service!

  5. Mary Pat Campbell
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

    Well, if we federal taxpayers end up bailing out California pensions (I don’t think that’s going to happen), then yes, the Californians are only screwing themselves. And muni bondholders.

    But we’re also assuming these guys come by their salaries in honest ways. That’s a big assumption, especially considering the case of Rizzo and Bell, Ca. from a year ago:

    In many cases, the electorate had no clue how much was being paid to these public employees. In California, many groups have been dislodging that info over the past year and putting it out in public.

    So yes, going forward, ignorance will not be an excuse on the part of the taxpayers.

  6. Ladd Ehlinger Jr.
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

    It’s a function of their value to the SEIU

  7. Joe
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

    That is exactly right.  You can’t get the staff above $100,000 if you don’t have the managers up there too.  It is one big circle jerk. 

  8. Stan Greenberg’s Tin Ear « Politics & Prosperity
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 10:50 am

    […] government largesse, and are sheltered from competition and market evaluations of their outputs. (Here is but one example of the general condition of government-employee […]

  9. DaveO
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

    Not saying you’re wrong, but you may not be aware of the depths of ignorance and stupidity that can exist in the mind of man (and woman). This is California we’re discussing, after all.

  10. DaveO
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

    A self-licking ice cream cone.

  11. marfdrat
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

    I KNEW I shoulda taken that government job 25 years ago! I wisely said to myself “why would you want to work for the government? There’s no real opportunity there.” 

  12. ThePaganTemple
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

    I strongly suspect calls to bail-out California and maybe some other states will be the biggest issue of at least the 2014 campaign, if not by 2012. The Mexicans might be willing to take Cali off our hands. Oh wait, they already have.

  13. Liz
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

    But remember, Stacy, by the standards of Moochelle Obama, that’s not “rich”. She and Barry earned considerably more before he became POTUS (ugh, typing that still hurts) but she still felt she had the right to claim that they gave us prestigious careers in order to help people. And to advise others to follow their maganimous example.

  14. Anonymous
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 5:37 pm

    It would be interesting and instructive to put those salary levels up for a vote in a referendum. The justification for municipal managers salary levels as been that they need to be competitive with business leaders. Businesses provide earnings to investors, whereas government leaders manage or miss manage services to the tax payers. I submit that municipal managers are more similar to the manager of a McDonald’s than a fortune 500 company.

  15. Liz
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

    I have nothing of real value to add, other than “Bravo, sir”.

    I spent a few seconds staring at the screen, trying to get my little lady brains around that, before bursting out laughing.

    So again, bravo. I now have a new phrase in my vocabulary.

  16. DaveO
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 5:53 pm

    Thank you!

  17. Is Civic Involvement the New Terrorism Pew Center… « The Rhetorican
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

    […] They know a thing or two about lack of civic involvement in California. That’s the only way you could get away with city manager salaries like these. […]

  18. Adjoran
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

    Think what they’d be earning if they turned in good results!

  19. Anamika
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

    This is California we’re discussing, after all.

    It’s Orange County we’re discussiing, you f***ing moron.

    A Republican strong hold, FYI.

  20. Sigh. This is Not New News, But It's Amazing to See it in Print | marfdrat
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

    […] am I talking about? Public-sector compensation. Where else, but California. Via The Other McCain, here’s a snippet about a report about city manager (and other public worker) compensation […]

  21. Anamika
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

    Why are we talking about Orange County – CA, instead of Los Angeles County – CA? Perhaps because…

    Five of the county’s six U.S. Representatives, four of its five State Senators and seven of its nine State Assemblymembers are Republicans, as are all five members of the County Board of Supervisors.

    Too bad, Stacy didn’t mention that part.

  22. Mark Goluskin
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

    Sorry, but these areas mentioned are governed by Democrats. SURPRISE! Even in the “Republican stonghold” of OC, there are Dems.

  23. Mark Goluskin
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 7:06 pm

    Again, the LOCAL OFFICIALS are Dems. Santa Ana and Anaheim are D E M O C R A T strongholds. Hello, Congressman Linda Sanchez is a Dem. Take a quick peek of the area she represents. FAIL!

  24. Proof
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 7:30 pm

    Stacy: Your post reminded me of a news story recently, where the SDSU president was getting a raise from $300,000 a year to $350,000 (plus $50,000 a year from the university’s nonprofit fundraising arm…university housing and a $1,000 a month car

    All while tuition was going up for the students 12%.

    Shameless link whoring here:

  25. ECM
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 7:33 pm

    Californians screwing themselves? I think I saw that movie…

  26. DaveO
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 7:36 pm


  27. DaveO
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

    Those may be facts, and you may be correct – but how do any of those folks, Republican or Democrat, set the salary levels of city managers and staff? There’s no connection there.

    Brava on doing research, boo for failing to connect your research to the assertions made in the post.

  28. DaveO
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

    Now, if you really want outrage, why not look at the salaries and bennies of the coaches of the top 20 college football teams?

  29. McGehee
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

    Shorter dungbat: LOOK OVER THERE!

  30. Anonymous
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 8:28 pm


  31. Anonymous
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 8:30 pm

    Too bad someone left the lids off the petri dishes again.

  32. Anonymous
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

    The question then becomes do those particular teams add “value” and revenue to those colleges. Perhaps it’s just because the press ignores searches for city managers but there appears to be a great deal more competition to enlist top coaches.

  33. Anonymous
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 8:55 pm

    He shoots! He scores! 😀

  34. Daily scoreboard « Don Surber
    August 2nd, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

    […] From Robert Stacy McCain: “Orange County’s nearly-three-dozen city managers were paid a total of $9.6 million last […]

  35. Robert B Lange
    August 3rd, 2011 @ 1:23 am

    I’m always curious how no one notices the real damage these bureaucrats do isn’t in the salaries they reap, however overpaid they are. If they were doing it for free, no salary or benefits at all, they would still be draining money, freedom and prosperity from us all. Their life’s work is mostly things that should not be done by anyone for any reason. They fill our lives with unnecessary laws, regulations, red tape and taxes. Forget their over-generous compensation; that’s the sizzle. The steak is the damage they do to our lives just by going to work.

  36. Roger Fortier
    August 3rd, 2011 @ 8:40 pm

    Linked at Milpundit: More Signs California Slides Towards the Abyss