Average striking Oakland worker’s pay was nearly $100,000 last year, data shows

In light of the ongoing strikes, many have been asking for accurate pay figures regarding Oakland city workers.

In 2016, the average full-time, year-round Oakland city worker received $112,787 in total wages and $164,460 when the cost of benefits are included.

When all employees of the police, fire and city administrator departments are excluded from analysis, the average wage drops to $96,134, and $138,863 when the cost of benefits are included.

The below table reports the average wages by individual job title:

Average wages for most populous non-safety Oakland employees, by job title

Job Title Count Avg Total Wages Avg Compensation (Wages + Benefits)
Custodian.Non Exempt 73 $98,335 $129,271
Public Works Maintenance Worker 69 $62,416 $97,209
Head Start Instructor 69 $40,194 $74,487
Custodian 54 $47,386 $80,658
Public Service Representative 44 $57,411 $90,765
Specialty Combination Inspector 34 $88,963 $135,890
Street Maintenance Leader 34 $83,438 $128,763
Engineer, Assistant II (Office) 31 $93,390 $142,405
Program Analyst II 30 $76,886 $115,935
Administrative Analyst II 30 $84,702 $126,820
Administrative Assistant II 30 $63,745 $100,381
Sewer Maintenance Worker 30 $68,336 $105,649
Librarian II 29 $79,627 $122,004
Library Assistant 27 $63,582 $100,278
Administrative Assistant I 26 $54,605 $90,206
Equipment Systems Engineer.Non Exempt 23 $132,519 $170,569
Sewer Maintenance Leader 23 $93,946 $139,532
Engineer, Civil (Office) 23 $156,519 $213,055
Street Sweeper Operator 23 $74,256 $116,445
Gardener Crew Leader 23 $64,440 $103,269
Office Assistant II 22 $45,594 $75,144
Librarian I 21 $70,347 $109,737
Program Analyst III 20 $92,500 $135,899
Program Analyst I 20 $67,958 $102,652
Semiskilled Laborer.Non Exempt 19 $102,992 $137,856
Public Works Supervisor I 19 $108,169 $157,018
Tax Enforcement Officer II 18 $86,870 $130,660
Early Childhood Center Director 17 $55,163 $96,329
Accountant III 17 $91,514 $138,123

The above analysis was conducted using raw payroll data that the City of Oakland provided to TransparentCalifornia.com and the California State Controller’s Office.

To see the city’s full dataset, please visit https://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/2016/oakland/.

To read more about the ongoing strike, click here.

Lawsuit update: Data provided

After filing lawsuits against the City of Hanford and the Los Angeles County West Vector Control District for failing to provide public employee salary data, we are pleased to announce that both agencies have since provided the data.

To view the 2016 Hanford data, click here and to view the Vector Control District data, click here.

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, Transparent California relies entirely on the generous support of its donors. If you value our work and would like to see it continue, please consider making a tax-deductible donation today.

And to all those who have already donated, thank you. We truly couldn’t do it without you.

Help keep government transparent!

This year Transparent California surpassed the 100 million mark for lifetime page views — and that wasn’t even close to being our biggest success.

But in order to continue the work that has produced the results described below, we are asking that those who value our work please consider making a tax-deductible donation today!

Our most widely read report was on a BART janitor who quadrupled his $57,000 salary to over $270,000 with overtime pay and benefits — which ultimately received international coverage. Shockingly, such large payouts for BART janitors had been occurring for years, but were largely unreported until Transparent California thrust the issue into the national spotlight.

In response, BART announced they had instituted a freeze on overtime pay for janitors earlier this year.  But that’s not all. State Senator Steve Glazer authored a bill to create a BART Inspector General, which he said was necessary because of issues like the high overtime pay uncovered by Transparent California, according to a local FOX news report.

Last month, the Governor signed Glazer’s bill into law, which will now give voters the chance to create an independent inspector general for BART!

That is the power of transparency — and the kind of impact you can expect from your tax-deductible donation to support our work.

But the tangible policy changes from our work aren’t limited to just BART.

In May 2017 we reported that a Riverside utilities dispatcher tripled his salary to nearly $400,000 with state’s 10th largest overtime payout.

The following month, after covering our initial release, the Press-Enterprise announced that Riverside changed their policy after utility’s $257,719 overtime revelation!

Of course, we can’t take all the credit for that. The City of Riverside deserves praise for their willingness to enact policy solutions and address the issue, rather than reflexively  defend the status quo as most governments do when examples of waste are brought to light.

Finally, California’s Public Records Act — the state law mandating transparency from all governments — is rendered meaningless if governments are free to defy it with impunity. Which is why, in early 2017, we expanded our operations to include enforcing California’s Public Records Act via legal action, when necessary.

There is no question that litigation can be costly, but the harm from allowing governments to hide its affairs in secrecy is just too great. It is a near certainty that if a government is refusing to comply with our basic request that they are also stonewalling area residents’ requests as well. Indeed, we’ve received dozens of emails which attest to just that.

Of course, all of this is only possible because of the generous donations by those who support our mission of a more transparent and accountable government. If you value our work and would like to see more examples of positive reforms like the ones outlined above, please consider making a tax-deductible donation today!

To donate via credit or debit card, please click here.

If you prefer to donate via check, please mail a check made payable to “Transparent California” to:

Transparent California
c/o Robert Fellner
7130 Placid St. Las Vegas, NV 89119

As always, thank you for supporting our mission of a more transparent and accountable government. And if you ever have any questions, ideas for how we can improve the site or would like to chat about anything else, please feel free to email me at Robert@TransparentCalifornia.com.


California statewide ‘$100k club’ stands at 62,474

Transparent California is pleased to announce that we have now received the most current pension payout data from virtually all of California’s pension funds.

As an update to our previous release that found that there were at least 52,963 retirees who collected pensions of at least $100,000 last year, that number now stands at 62,474. This page will be updated when the few very small remaining funds report their 2016 data, but we don’t expect this number to change significantly.

Pension Fund # of $100k+ Pensions
CalPERS 22,826
CalSTRS 12,133
Los Angeles County Pension 6,687
University of California 5,315
SFERS (San Francisco Employees Retirement System) 2,665
Orange County Employees Retirement System (OCERS) 1,287
Los Angeles Fire and Police Employees’ Pension 1,195
Contra Costa County Pension 968
San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System 963
Alameda County Pension 831
San Jose Police and Fire Retirement Plan 823
LACERS (Los Angeles City Pension System) 778
San Bernardino County Employees Retirement Association (SBCERA) 770
San Diego County Employees’ Retirement Association (SDCERA) 750
Los Angeles Water and Power Employees’ Retirement Plan 714
Sacramento County Employees’ Retirement system (SCERS) 633
Ventura County Pension 512
Kern County Pension 386
Santa Barbara County Pension 284
San Mateo County Pension 279
San Joaquin County Pension 264
Marin County Employees’ Retirement Association 253
Fresno County Pension 192
Sonoma County Pension 156
East Bay Municipal Utility District Retirement System 153
San Jose Federated City Employees’ Retirement System 132
City of Fresno Fire and Police Retirement System 103
Stanislaus County Pension 86
San Luis Obispo County Pension Trust 77
Merced County Employees’ Retirement Association 66
Imperial County Employees Retirement System 44
Tulare County Employees’ Retirement Association 39
Oakland Fire and Police Retirement System 37
City of Fresno Employees’ Retirement System 18
Mendocino County Employees’ Retirement Association 17
Modesto Irrigation District Basic Retirement Plan 17
Long Beach Public Transportation Company Contract Employees’ Retirement Plan 6
Sacramento Regional Transit District Employees’ Retirement Plan 6
Turlock Irrigation District Pension Plan 5
Long Beach Public Transportation Company Salaried Employees’ Retirement Plan 3
Golden Gate Transit District Amalgamated Retirement Plan 1
Total: 62,474

Be sure to visit TransparentCalifornia.com to see the complete payout reports for all of the pension systems referenced above.

Taft complies, two more suits filed

After years of refusing to provide an accounting of city workers’ names and salaries, Taft fully complied with our request just a day after our lawsuit was filed. 

For more about the nature of that dispute, be sure to check out the fantastic media coverage from Bakersfieldnow.com. And to view the pay data itself, head on over to TransparentCalifornia.com.

Unfortunately, two more lawsuits were filed last week against non-compliant agencies: The Fresno Council of Governments and the City of Hanford.

I suppose when you are requesting data from over 2,500 unique agencies there are going to be a few that play hardball!

You can learn more about those cases by checking out the media coverage below:

ABC30 Fresno Action News

California labor union influence kills public records bill

Well, my earlier op-ed arguing that California needs to put some heat in its sunshine law went spectacularly unheeded, with the bill being gutted entirely last week!

In an exclusive op-ed for the San Diego Union-Tribune, I explore how this modest bill designed to improve governmental transparency was killed:

Sadly, this is how the California Legislature works these days. Neither the overwhelming public support for governmental transparency nor the fact that 99 percent of Assembly members voted to make AB1479 law was enough to overcome the union veto.

Be sure to read the full piece by visiting the San Diego Union-Tribune website or picking up a copy of tomorrow’s paper!


LADWP: The information we told you was correct is “extremely misleading and incomplete.”

In response to our earlier press release on the publication of the LADWP’s pension data, the LADWP issued the following statement (condensed to the relevant claims, you can find their full release here):

A press release issued by the Nevada Policy Research Center (aka Transparent CA) today includes extremely misleading and incomplete information about an LADWP retiree that is used to attract interest in the story and is falsely represented as indicative of the LADWP retirement system.  The information about an Engineering Associate omits key information…

[Transparent California] cites the [$363,000 annual] retirement payment of an Engineering Associate who was 87 years old when she retired, having made contributions to the Plan for over 47 years.  Her pension amount was calculated by annuitizing the balance in her account over her life expectancy.

The first thing to note is that the LADWP does not dispute a single factual claim in our release. They acknowledge that a retired engineering associate receives a $363,000 annual pension, as we stated. They are correct that it should have come with some note indicating its unusual nature, particularly as it appears hers is the only case out of the over 7,000 retirees that this applies to.

Yet, the LADWP did not include any such note in the data provided to us. Furthermore, we asked for clarification prior to publication, as shown below:

From: Robert Fellner [mailto:records@transparentcalifornia.com]
Sent: Thursday, July 13, 2017 12:48 PM
To: Mendez, Veronica C.
Subject: Re: Nevenka Ubavich CPRA R17-16

Hi Veronica,

For Nevenka Ubavich, there is a $363,000 annual pension amount report[ed], which is much too high to be the regular, annual amount — as it would be 300% of final salary!

Is it okay if I add a note indicating that it likely includes a one-time payout of some sort?

Thank you.


Robert Fellner
Research Director, Transparent California
7130 Placid St. Las Vegas, NV 89119
Phone: 702.222.0642 F: 702.227.0927
E-Mail: Records@TransparentCalifornia.com

From: Mendez, Veronica C.
Sent: Friday, July 14, 2017 2:50 PM
To: ‘Robert Fellner’
Subject: RE: Nevenka Ubavich CPRA R17-16

Please don’t. It is not a one-time payout. The information is correct.

The entirety of the LADWP’s response to a request for clarifying or contextual information about this pension payout was that we should not add a note as “the information is correct.”

It is thus particularly ironic that the LADWP today declares the reporting of this “correct” information as “extremely misleading and incomplete,” given that the LADWP was given the opportunity to provide the necessary contextual information, but refused to do so.

Absent this isolated case, the LADWP did not dispute a single claim in our release. If we ignore the case of Ubavich’s $363,000 pension, the next highest pension was nearly $357,000. The average pension and benefits package for a full-career retiree remains at nearly $85,000 and the cost to ratepayers was still a staggering 50 percent of payroll last year.

Given these facts, it is understandable that the LADWP would prefer to deflect attention elsewhere.

To view the entire dataset, please click here.