Policy: Labor

Examiner reports California local pay abuses; Santa Ana hires manager for $559K

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Watchdog Blog,Jobs,Labor,California,Waste and Fraud,Luke Rosiak

With this week's EXography feature, the Washington Examiner reported Tuesday that city and county employees in Southern California made astonishingly more money than their counterparts in other localities, in hard dollars and as a function of median income of residents.

It is no coincidence, but rather a fascinating cycle of pay that is pegged by consultants to the compensation packages of employees in neighboring cities. When one city doles out raises, the others follow, triggering yet another round.

But the city of Santa Ana apparently wasn't concerned with its place on the rankings: On Wednesday, the Los Angelese Times reported that the city has hired a new manager at $559,000 a year. The Times didn't note it, but that's on top of a six-figure pension David Cavazos will collect for life from his previous employer, the city of Phoenix.

That's still less egregious, though, than the many employees in the Golden State who retire and begin collecting a pension, then go back to work at a new job for the state -- a move that is allowed even under newly-enacted legislation intended to reign in California's payroll.

Santa Ana has "struggled with budget problems in recent years," the Times noted, but a city council member says "you get what you pay for."

In California, then, services such as trash pickup must be remarkably good, with the average sanitation worker earning $90,000 in Alameda County. In Orange County, where Santa Ana is located, the average transportation worker makes $93,000.

Those aren't the only surprising facts the Examiner's nationwide analysis of public employee pay uncovered, though:

* Look up public employee pay in your county in the Examiner's interactive map

* Look up your city here.

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