Nearly 60% of Los Angeles-area city workers collected at least $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.

A survey of 69 cities in Los Angeles County, excluding the City of Los Angeles, reveals that the average full-time city worker received $129,194 in total compensation, with 59 percent receiving at least $100,000.

The four highest compensated city workers in Los Angeles County were:

  1. Santa Monica city manager Rodney Gould: $496,819
  2. Los Angeles Harbor chief port pilot II Bent Christiansen: $489,191, retirement benefits not included
  3. Los Angeles Harbor chief port pilot II Michael Rubino: $474,535, retirement benefits not included
  4. Beverly Hills city manager Jeff Kolin: $466,540

City of Los Angeles

Los Angeles did not provide retirement costs per employee. The average full-time city worker received $101,487 in wages, with 47 percent collecting at least $100,000. The average full-time Department of Water and Power worker received $118,115 in wages, with 64 percent collecting at least $100,000.

The top 5 City departments with the highest pay for full-time employees were:

  1. Fire: $156,651
  2. City Attorney: $124,598
  3. City Administrative Officer: $115,249
  4. Information Technology Agency: $107,065
  5. Police: $104,598

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 top five cities in Los Angeles County with the highest average compensation package for full-time employees were:

  1. West Hollywood: $148,858
  2. San Gabriel: $145,400
  3. Santa Monica: $144,780
  4. Downey: $141,702
  5. Inglewood: $139,381

Full-time Los Angeles County workers took home an average of $113,104 in total compensation.

Overtime and other pay boosts earnings

For all Los Angeles cities surveyed, overtime and other pay combined amounted to 22 percent of regular salary, slightly higher than the statewide average of 19 percent.

Torrance’s total overtime and other pay was worth 40 percent of regular pay — the highest of any Los Angeles city and third highest statewide. Overtime and other pay increased the average, full-time Torrance firefighter or fire captain’s regular pay by 123 percent.

Cost per resident

The cities of Beverly Hills and Santa Monica had the second and third highest cost of employee compensation per resident statewide at $3,242 and $2,914, respectively.

The cost per resident for the City of Los Angeles, including the Department of Water and Power, was estimated at $1,694 by utilizing aggregate retirement costs for the 2014 fiscal year provided by the Controller’s Office.

The average cost per resident for all Los Angeles cities surveyed was $1,203.

City workers’ pay double that of residents

The earnings of Los Angeles city workers soar above those of city residents, just-released data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals.

The median full-time, year-round Los Angeles city worker earned $97,876  — more than double the $39,096 median earnings of city residents.

This information for all Los Angeles cities 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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