85% of Marin County’s special district workers collected over $100,000

Today, Transparent California released 2014 compensation data for Marin County’s 20 largest special districts.

The top 5 earners were:

  1. Southern Marin Fire Chief James Irving: $374,456
  2. Novato Fire Chief Mark Heine: $370,145
  3. Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit general manager Farhad Mansourian: $352,262
  4. Novato Fire Deputy Chief Adam Brolan: $340,874
  5. Central Marin Sanitation general manager Jason Dow: $333,590

For all 20 special districts, the average full-time employee received $153,204 in total compensation. 85 percent of all full-time employees received at least $100,000 in total compensation. The table below reports these values, and additional information, for each district.

Average compensation for Marin County’s 20 largest special districtsMarinSDs2

The far right column displays the district’s unfunded liability for their respective retirement plans, per resident served. This data comes from the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research’s Pension Tracker website.

To download the original Excel file, click here.

To view a specific district’s 2014 compensation report, simply click their name in the list below:

Belvedere-Tiburon Library Agency
Central Marin Police Authority
Central Marin Sanitation Agency
Kentfield Fire Protection District
Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District (Marin)
Marin/Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District
Marin Clean Energy
Marin Municipal Water
Marinwood Community Services District
North Marin Water District
Novato Fire Protection District
Novato Sanitary District (Marin)
Ross Valley Fire Service
Sanitary District No. 1 (Marin)
Sanitary District No. 5 (Marin)
Sausalito-Marin City Sanitary (Marin)
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District
Southern Marin Fire Protection District
Tamalpais Community Services District
Tiburon Fire Protection District

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 for their position.

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

For more information or to schedule an interview with Transparent California, please contact Robert Fellner at 559-462-0122 or

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

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7 replies »

  1. Wow! You must saved us months of research! I have no idea how we muddled along before you hit the scene! This is phenomenal. May I send it to the IJ and to the supporters? THANK YOU! JODY

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Robert, I finally got home (drenched) and could more clearly see that this is a blog you have already released, so I’m sharing it with everyone! Thank you again! Jody

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Its fantastic work. Thank you. May these fiscal bullies, posing as “public servants,” while making themselves millionaires at the public trough begin to suffer the consequences of their union enabling greed. Further, the Board members, Supervisors and Committees should all resign if they continue to take these bribes from the largest contributors to all our local races – the Public Employee unions. The multiple on stated salaries is approximately 2.5x – these clowns are making over a million a year as public employees. Lets see if the voters begin to take notice…. and vote these foxes in the henhouse OUT !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Quoting Mark Hill……. “The multiple on stated salaries is approximately 2.5x – these clowns are making over a million a year as public employees. ”

      I am certainly within the group of the strongest supporters of very material pension reform, but comments such as this …. which is incredibly inaccurate …. are not helpful to that end.

      I’m assuming that you are thinking of the 0.025 per-year-of-service formula factor which is about the average of those used in CA. YES, this (along with VERY young full/unreduced retirement ages, and COLA increases) results in grossly excessive Public Sector pensions (under any reasonable metric), but they do not ….. even remotely …. translate into …..”these clowns are making over a million a year”.

      Step through the math and it should become obvious.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wish we could see total compensation figures, including non-taxable perks like free meals and First Class travel where they exist, for private sector management jobs in order to make comparisons.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Robert,

    Quoting ….. “Compensation is defined as total wages plus the employer cost of retirement and health benefits. ”

    If you look at the AVERAGE line in your chart, you have (a) FT pay of $106,264 and (b) Total compensation (i.e. adding in pensions and benefits) of $150,758.

    Assuming MOST employees elect “family” healthcare coverage and $15,000 is the Employer’s share of the cost, that leaves $150,758 – (106,264 + $15,000) = $29,494 as the pension contribution, which comes out to $29,494/$106,264 = 27.76% of pay.

    You are counting as “Total Compensation” what is most assuredly the amount the Gov’t entity “contributed” toward these VERY generous pensions in the year (encompassing BOTH the Normal Cost AND an amount to amortize past service underfunding), NOT the true cost of the promises made (using reasonably conservative assumptions, not the extremely rosy ones that CalPERS uses to make the cost of these pensions appear to be much smaller than they really are).

    With Calpers funding level in the 60’s (if valued on the SAME basis as that REQUIRED by the Gov;t of Private Sector Plans), just about HALF of that 27.76% is needed JUST to amortize the unfunded liability, leaving less than a 15%-of- pay contribution towards funding the “Normal Cost” of ADDITIONAL pension service that accrues annually.

    But 15%-of-pay is FAR FAR lower than the true “Normal Cost”, the Taxpayers’ share of which is clearly no less than 20-30% for non-safety workers and 35 to 45% for safety workers.

    From this one element (and using the midpoint of those ranges), the shown “Total Compensation” figures are low by about 10% of pay (or 10% x $106,264 = $10,626) for non-safety workers and are low by about 25% of pay (or 25% x $106,264 = $26,566) for safety workers.

    But we’re not done ……… It seems likely that reported “healthcare” costs are (except in rare cases) the cost of gov’t entity contributions towards ACTIVE-worker healthcare coverage. Two studies have suggested that the cost of Public Sector retiree healthcare is a level annual 10%-12% of pay. Assuming that the Retirees pay 25% of that, the OTHER 75% adds an ADDITIONAL 75% x 11% x $106,264 = $8,767 that is not now included.

    Bottom line ……. the reported Total Compensation” figures are likely TOO LOW by almost $20K ($10,626 + $8,767) for non-safety workers, and by over $35K ($26,566 + $8,767) for Safety workers.

    In Private Sector Corporations, an executive hiding a significant portion of total compensation would (if uncovered) most assuredly get them fired, and perhaps sued. In the Public Sector, doing such is not only “business-as-usual”, but consider “Good Form” …. and even when everybody knows about it !

    Liked by 1 person