After several years of increases, the salaries of Palo Alto workers took a step in the opposite direction in 2010 as total pay dropped by more than $2 million.
The city paid out $101 million in salaries last year, the lowest year since 2007, when the gross salaries totaled $98 million, according to data from the Administrative Services Department. The number went up to $102.2 million in 2008 and to $103.4 million in 2009 before dipping by 2.2 percent last year.
Employees who took home the highest salaries included several department leaders who retired last year and "cashed out" their vacation pay. In fact, of the 13 employees with the highest salaries, seven are no longer with the city.
The list is headed by retired Fire Chief Nicholas Marinaro, whose $108,454 salary was supplemented by a "cash out" payment of $235,905 for total compensation of $348,078. Other retired officials near the top of the salary list are former City Attorney Gary Baum ($268,992), Public Works Director Glenn Roberts ($254,357), Human Resources Director Russell Carlsen ($212,794) and Library Director Diane Jennings ($202,239).
Of the city's current employees, City Manager James Keene (total gross pay $275,204), Administrative Services Director Lalo Perez ($220,601) and Fire Captain Jason Amdur ($220,290, which includes $86,515 in overtime) led the pack.
The slight decrease in overall salaries reflects recent concessions made by the city's labor unions over the past two years, as Palo Alto's revenues dropped. The city also eliminated 40 positions from the General Fund in the current fiscal year, which began last July.