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More than 30% of Palo Alto Employees Make > $100K

Original post made by JFP on Sep 13, 2007

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Comments (14)

Posted by JT, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2007 at 12:22 pm

This information may come as a shock to many PA taxpayers; however, Palo Alto actually cuts down on its payroll by having so many of it's public safety personnel do hours of overtime.

If our police and fire department personnel did not put in so many hours of overtime Palo Alto would have to hire many more staff which would, in fact, increase the City's payroll with all the added benefits (paid vacation time, health insurance, pensions etc).




Posted by Anna, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 13, 2007 at 12:51 pm

Why should it be a shock that a lot of city employees earn a lot of money? It's been apparent (and common knowledge to anyone looking at the situation) for a long time that the city's union and the management employees are looting the city - which is why we have no money for infrastructure repair, diminished service levels and calls for "bonds" to make up the difference.

Until we get a Council that can stand up to the pressure, we'll continue to see stories like this while the city crumbles.


Posted by Lois, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 13, 2007 at 1:00 pm

So we'er building BMR units for Police Officers and Fire Fighters because their salaries are so low they can't afford to live in Palo Alto!!! Are BMR units supposed to be for people earning over $100,000?


Posted by Anna, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 13, 2007 at 1:06 pm

A family of four earning up to around $122,000 can qualify for PA's BMR units. No one has ever presented that any Palo Alto police officer or firefighter lives in a BMR, or that any have even expressed an interest in BMR housing in Palo Alto. The Police/Firefighter rational for BMR housing is an stalking horse argument used by the BMR activists - nothing more. If we really wanted to have Police and Firefighters to live in PA, there are many more targeted ways that don't involve building 3500 housing units to accomplish the task.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 13, 2007 at 3:15 pm

Any city job should be up for bid. See what competition, the reason given for high wages, can do to fill the same jobs for less. Anyone who does not want his job bid for could avoid the hastle by agreeing to accept no more that 120% of the private equivalent job.


Posted by Ed, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 14, 2007 at 8:16 pm

I dont believe most of the fire/police personnel even live in this city, much less in a BMR unit. The PAHC does not even give preference to city employees..even though they say they do. It is all a lottery system anyways.

And sure the fire/police personnel may earn $100K, but they give up their weekends to work overtime and special events. An like most other jobs, I bet if other people worked overtime on their weekends, they would make significantly more as well.

And show me what you can buy in Palo Alto (not including the mobile park) on a salary of $100K before taxes.....


Posted by Fireman, a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2007 at 8:46 am


The overtime statement is true. It is cheaper to pay overtime then to hire for some work that needs to be done. It is how the City works that is corrupt. Who and how they keep tract of this money and work that needs to be done.The budget gets picked apart for money once it is signed. Money taken from one project to pay for a differant one.One that was not budgeted for or under funded. Then the real project falls short and the problems begin.Begin to add up. How can the FD pay/send hundreds of thousands of dollars for a program that it does not have. Then how do they cover this great loss up. Where do they hide this in the budget. Most of the time they try to make the employees look bad. Shift the blame and expense to cover up GROSS MISMANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC FUNDS. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

When you look at the truth you will see that many Firefighters work very long hours. A standard work week is 56 hours for them. Then add overtime, which is a fact of life and you will see that many average 60,70,or more hours a week of work. So who compares a worker making $101,???.00 , $103,???.00 working an average of 60 or 70 hours a week for a year to Upper Mamager working 40 hours a week on paper. With no one checking to see if they are at work in the first place. Like I said before we had a chief who we almost never laid eyes on at work. Telecommuting I think the benifit is called. So someone like this makes $140,???.00 a year for 30 hours a week work?{I think I am being KIND} Which one would you pick. Remember it is not what you know it is how low you will go that makes you a productive manager in the CPA. This does not go for all there is/was good managers in the City. It is time that the Grand Jury takes a walk around the City of Palo Alto. Just do not let the ones with everything to hide show them around,which seems to be the way things are done in the EVIL EMPIRE know as THE CITY of PALO ALTO. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Tim, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 15, 2007 at 2:33 pm

Tell you what- if i did'nt make over $200,000 a year, I couldn't live in Palo Alto. $100,000- no big deal.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2007 at 2:48 pm

Don't knock telecommuting. One reason I left the corporate life was the facility so many developed to goof off under the gaze of the boss. Telecommuting requires the ability to evaluate work product by management. The old formula of fannies and elbows won't work.
I assume firefighters are still allowed to sleep on shift.


Posted by Frank, a resident of Ventura
on Sep 16, 2007 at 11:42 am

Tell me why we should expect excellent or even good city staff unless we're willing to pay them what their worth?

$100,000 is on the low side of a reasonable salary for a professional career around here - except prehaps school teachers which is another problem. It's a fact, we live in an expensive place.

If you have complaints about the quality or the city staff why not improve the pool of applicants by offering the same salaries industry offers?


Posted by Agree, mostly, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2007 at 2:08 pm

Agree with Frank 100%, except for the teacher part.

I would love to pay are dedicated and excellent teachers twice what they make on merit, but not the ones who are just coasting. (And there are some). On a per hour basis, the salaries and benefits of the experienced teachers is great if you are a teacher who works only during school hours, period. But, for the many teachers who work Sundays and after school is out individualizing curricula and meeting with parents and other staff to help a child succeed who is struggling..I wish there were a way to circumvent "Union" and pay you what you are really worth.


Posted by Mike, a resident of Ventura
on Sep 16, 2007 at 10:32 pm

Wow! Talk about sour grapes! Who cab begrudge a professional making $100K around here - that's not really very much money. Very Scrooge-like, if you ask me.


Posted by JFP, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 17, 2007 at 9:00 am

I don't necessarily begrudge them. However, I work in high-tech, and I guarantee you that even in that industry, with a lot of salary pressure right now, the proportion of people making 100K or more is not that high.


Posted by Donn, a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 17, 2007 at 9:35 am

JFP is right. A year or so ago, someone posted links to very good government figures on this very issue in this forum. It turns out that the median pay for Palo Alto workers is about 10,000 above the median pay for all workers in Silicon Valley. When you combine this fact with the extraordinarily generous benefit package, and pensions that are totally ridiculous (and unavailable) by private sector standards - and take into account that they don't work on alternate Fridays, it's hard to make the case that Palo Alto city employees are under-compensated. (I haven't heard that they're having trouble hiring at city hall.)

Whether we're getting value for the 85% or so of the budget that we spend on salary and benefits is of course something individual residents (and voters) will need to decide.


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