Madera mayor misleads residents in attempt to hide unjustifiable, excessive pay raises

In a recent commentary addressing residents’ concerns over rising employee compensation costs, Madera Mayor Andrew Medellin deceived readers by misrepresenting and dramatically understating the raise granted to city workers in 2015.

The mayor explained that the raise was approved in response to a city-commissioned study which found that the average Madera job paid 4.4 percent less in total compensation than the “market median” of 10 neighboring cities.

Specifically, the mayor claimed that the raise approved in FY2015 was merely enough to “meet the market median.”

While such a raise did occur, the mayor omitted the additional 11 percent cumulative raise provided on top of the increase to the market median.

In addition to increasing salaries to the market median, the FY2015 agreement also provided an immediate and additional 5 percent across-the-board pay raise to all employees, followed by a 3 percent raise in FY2016 and again in FY2017.

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The mayor’s omission of this fact is an implicit recognition of the excessive and unjustifiable nature of this pay raise, according to Transparent California Research Director Robert Fellner.

“The mayor’s misrepresentation of the true scope of the pay raises he voted for is just as troubling as the excessive pay raises themselves. As our report shows, the so-called market median was already inflated due to the fact that Madera is the poorest of all the cities used in the city’s commissioned salary comparison. But the 11 percent raise on top of that is particularly indefensible, something the mayor appears to recognize by his conspicuous omission of that fact.”

Upon learning that Madera residents were not being provided complete and accurate information by their elected representative, Transparent California, a government watchdog dedicated to improving transparency in government, today published a complete report detailing the full scope of the FY2015 pay raise approved by the Madera City Council.

That report’s key findings are:

  • The cumulative pay raise ranged from an 11 – 44 percent increase over 3 years, with a 20 percent increase for the average Madera job classification.
  • The city projects a general fund shortfall for each of the next five years, rising from an estimated $1.7 million deficit in FY2018 to $3.9 million by FY2023.
  • The estimated aggregate impact of the FY2015 pay raise is $1.835 million annually in additional salary and benefit costs.
  • The city-commissioned salary study was fundamentally biased in favor of higher pay and did not appear to take into account the fact that Madera, when measured on a variety of metrics, is poorer than all 10 cities used in the study’s comparison.

The full report can be read here.

TransparentCalifornia.com is used by millions of Californians each year and has received praise for its ability to successfully improve transparency in government by lawmakers and elected officials, government employees, the media, university researchers and concerned citizens alike.

For more information, 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 of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a nonpartisan, free-market think tank. Learn more at TransparentCalifornia.com.