75 percent of Bay Area city workers collected over $100,000 in total compensation

Today, Transparent California released 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.

A survey of 93 Bay Area cities, accounting for 96 percent of the Bay Area population, reveals the average full-time city worker received $101,675 in pay and $142,467 in total compensation last year — with 44 percent paid at least $100,000 and 75 percent having received at least $100,000 in total compensation.

Highest statewide

The top five cities with the highest average full-time compensation packages statewide were all from the Bay Area:

  1. Corte Madera: $181,945
  2. Mountain View: $169,078
  3. El Cerrito: $167,534
  4. Fremont: $166,183
  5. Milpitas: $164,757

San Jose’s $160,713 average compensation package was seventh highest statewide, $65,373 of which was for benefits — the most expensive benefits package of any city statewide.

The Bay Area also led the state in total cost of employee compensation per resident, spending an average $1,261 per resident. San Francisco’s $4,483 cost was the highest statewide.

To view a table listing the average wages for all Bay Area cities, click here.

The three highest compensated Bay Area employees were:

  1. Retired Richmond fire chief Michael Banks cashed in unused leave to boost his total compensation package to $561,278.
  2. Vallejo police lieutenant Herman Robinson took home $532,542.
  3. Retired San Francisco deputy police chief David Shinn cashed in unused leave to boost his total compensation package to $510,733.

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.”


The City of Oakland’s personnel expenses grew by 13 percent last year, the largest increase of any Bay Area city surveyed. Oakland police officer Malcolm Miller’s $463,553 compensation package was the highest of any Oakland employee, with over $280,000 coming from OT and “other pay.”

Alarmingly, overtime pay appears to be heavily consolidated within a select few employees at a rate suggesting average work weeks of 80 hours for at least the past three years.

Officers Eric Karsseboom, Malcom Miller and Huy Nguyen averaged overtime pay that was 41, 62 and 89 percent greater than their approximately $100,000 base salaries over the past three years, respectively.

Fellner warned that, “The public should be concerned that working an average of 80 hours a week for years on end is a recipe for disaster, particularly given the life-or-death situations police officers routinely encounter.”

Regional averages

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.