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Sentinel staff report–
The State Controller’s office last month updated its public pay website with most recent salaries and benefits paid to public employees across the state, including the City of Citrus Heights.
According to data posted on publicpay.ca.gov, Citrus Heights had 246 employees on its payroll in 2020, with wages totaling $18.65 million and an additional $5.1 million paid in retirement and health contributions. The total makes up more than half of the city’s General Fund budget each year.
So who’s earning what?
Three employees had total wages over $200,000. Topping the list in 2020 was the city manager with $289,182 in total wages reported, and an additional $74,000 paid in retirement and health contributions. His pay was followed by the chief of police, with $278,069 in total wages and $56,000 in additional benefits. The assistant city manager also had total wages of more than $200,000.
Of the top 10 highest paid positions, seven were in the Police Department, mostly for high level staff like lieutenants and commanders, although one officer had wages totaling $153,005 due to nearly $40,000 being paid in overtime.
Seventy-one city employees had total pay reported of more than $100,000, not including retirement and health contributions paid for by the city. When including benefits, that number rises to more than half of the city’s employees being compensated at over $100,000 per year.
Police officer compensation was mostly in the $70,000 to $100,000 range in total wages, with an additional $35-40,000 paid by the city for retirement and health benefits per officer. Most police dispatchers were also compensated in the same range.
Near the bottom of the list were elected City Council members, who receive $600 monthly stipends and also are eligible to be on the city’s health plan and receive life insurance benefits. Total pay for council members last year ranged from about $7-8,000 for the year, with an additional $8-11,000 paid in retirement and health contributions.
Top executive pay in the city was criticized as “enormous” last year by opponents of the proposed Measure M sales tax, which sought to raise the sales tax from 7.75% to 8.75%.
City Manager Chris Boyd has since retired and is now being paid $128.79 per hour, without any benefits, as interim city manager while the city seeks to hire a permanent replacement. Mayor Steve Miller has said the hiring of Boyd as an interim will likely save the city about $100,000, depending on how long it takes the city to hire a permanent replacement.
Boyd’s predecessor, Henry Tingle, was also criticized by some for rising to the top-paid public employee in the region in 2015. Then-mayor Jeannie Bruins defended the pay at the time, saying “every penny paid to Henry Tingle came back to the city a thousand fold.”
Salary comparisons with pay of other cities are difficult, due to different populations and varying levels of services, among other factors.
The neighboring city of Roseville reported its top paid employee as its Electric Utility Director, who was paid $306,627 in total wages and an additional $53,000 in benefits last year. A comparison with Citrus Heights can’t be made since a separate agency, SMUD, handles the electric grid for Citrus Heights.
Likewise, Roseville’s second and third top paid employees are a fire battalion chief and fire captain, also positions which Citrus Heights does not have, since fire services are provided by the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.
Roseville’s city manager was paid a comparable $278,398 last year, with an additional $58,433 in retirement and health contributions, but the city has a population of 146,875, compared to Citrus Heights’ population of 87,811. Folsom, which is more comparable in population to Citrus Heights, paid its city manager similar wages of $257,387 last year but also added $144,445 in benefits to their manager’s compensation package.
To see the latest pay for each position in Citrus Heights and other public employees across the state, visit: publicpay.ca.gov.
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