60 percent of San Diego-area city workers collected over $100,000 in total compensation

Today, Transparent California released previously-unseen 2014 public employee compensation data – complete with names, pay, and benefits – for 395 cities and 44 counties statewide on TransparentCalifornia.com, the state’s largest public sector compensation database.

The average full-time city worker for all 17 cities in San Diego County, excluding the City of San Diego, received $121,543 in total compensation, with 60 percent having received $100,000 or more. The average wage was $88,888, with 35 percent paid at least $100,000.

The three San Diego cities with the highest average compensation package for full-time, year-round employees were:

  1. San Marcos: $147,762
  2. Santee City: $143,917
  3. Chula Vista: $134,557

To view a table of the average wages for all San Diego County cities, click here.

Taxpayers have been kept in the dark about the full cost of public employees, according to Transparent California’s research director Robert Fellner.

“Government workers receive tens of thousands of dollars worth of benefits that have no comparison in the private sector. This bloat enriches special interests at the expense of both cities and taxpayers.

“Simply publicizing base salaries is inadequate given that city workers enjoy leave policies and benefit packages that dwarf what most taxpayers receive. Reporting full compensation reveals a shocking inequity between city employees and the taxpayers who must bear the cost.”

City of San Diego

The average full-time San Diego worker received $74,767 in wages. San Diego did not provide the cost of retirement benefits on an employee level; however the San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System reported an average contribution rate of 60 percent for the 2014 fiscal year, suggesting an average cost of nearly $40,000 per member.

“The failure of public pension plans is on full display at the City of San Diego, where retirement costs are a staggering 20 times greater than what that the median private employer pays,” according to Fellner.

The three highest compensated employees in San Diego were:

  1. Escondido attorney Jeffrey Epp: $507,409.
  2. Escondido manager Clayton Phillips: $490,699.
  3. San Diego County chief administrative officer Helen Robbins-Meyer: $419,302

Epp and Phillps each increased their total compensation by over $100,000 by converting unused leave into cash, according to city officials.

Overtime and other pay boosts earnings

The combined overtime and other pay at all San Diego cities was worth 22 percent of regular pay, as compared to the statewide average of 19 percent.

San Marcos, El Cajon and San Diego’s total overtime and other pay was the highest of any city in San Diego County at 27, 26 and 24 percent of regular pay, respectively.

San Marcos city workers’ pay more than double that of residents

San Diego city workers’ earnings soar above those of city residents, just-released data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals.

The median full-time, year-round San Marcos city worker earned $107,656 — more than double the $43,583 median earnings of city residents.

This information for all cities in San Diego County is here.


Average full-time municipal employee compensation for other regions in California was:


Compensation is defined as total wages plus the employer cost of retirement and health benefits. Full-time employees are defined as those receiving a salary equal or greater to the “annual salary minimum” reported.

To view the entire dataset in a searchable and downloadable format, visit TransparentCalifornia.com.

To schedule an interview with Transparent California, please contact Robert Fellner at 559-462-0122 or Robert@TransparentCalifornia.com.

Transparent California is California’s largest and most comprehensive database of public sector compensation and is a project the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a nonpartisan, free-market think tank. Learn more at TransparentCalifornia.com.

Categories: 2015, Press Releases

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