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City employees exhorbitant salaries need to be cut down

Original post made by Shocked, South of Midtown, on Apr 1, 2010

City of Palo Alto 2009 gross salary data was recently published
Web Link
I find it absolutely shocking that it is so high, especially if you consider all the benefits, including retirement, job security and low stress 8-5 job schedule.
There was an earlier discussion about compensations of firefighters and policement, but look at other jobs that are compensated much higher than in private sector.
Director of Libraries made $170K in 2009
Open Spc & Parks Div Mgr- $170K
Building Serviceperson - $155K
Sr Resource Originator - $153K
Division Manager, Recreation - $149K
Mgr Envrn Compliance - $149K
Fire Inspector - $145K
Sr Resource Planner - $143K
Sr Mkt Analyst - $134K
Sr. Business Analyst - $132K
Mgr Budget - $128K
Business Analyst - $125K
Supv Parks - $117K
Arts & Culture Div Mgr - $117K
Sr Financial Anlyst - $112K
HR Business Analyst - $105K
And the list goes on.
Now this is truly shocking. Not only the city employees salaries are higher than in the private sector, they also get outstanding retirement benefits. For comparison, I work in HP, I have MBA from top UC school and my salary as a manager with 15 years work experience is $115K and I get a $3K yearly company match to my retirement contributions. Stock options are no longer given out, instead we get a little bit of restricted stock, but it won't be enough to ensure the level of retirement benefits that city employees get. So I propose a 20% across the board cut in salaries for everybody who is making more than %100K. This will save $20M a year in city budget. It can then be redirected to schools and aging infrastructure. What do people (not city employees of course) think about this proposal?

Comments (10)

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Posted by Jim
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 1, 2010 at 4:15 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


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Posted by VoxPop
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 1, 2010 at 4:43 pm

The school budget is not the city budget.
I don't think those salaries are out of line, and I'm not an employee of the any governmental entity.

These salaries were probably arrived at by negotiation, and may be under contract, so I'm not sure you could just order a 20% decrease, or even vote one in.

Any employment lawyers who can comment on that?


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 1, 2010 at 8:54 pm

A reduction will never happen, that much we know. Still, good to shine daylight on these figures.


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2010 at 9:19 am

As as well-known, wages and salaries are downwardly inflexible. In times past, there was an extreme shortage in some areas of expertise, and the city was forced to pay more. Now, those salaries are locked in until inflation pushes them down (and, we have been deflating for about 1-1/2 years). Hard to do anything short-term. In the long run, public agencies need to find a way to pay retention bonuses, just as the military does, and, as private industry does also, rather than lock in big pay raises. I may be wrong, but, "shocked" may have received some hefty bonuses in 1998-2000-- certainly plenty of people did-- and got paid far more than the equivalent city employee at that time. Now, the public employees have a good deal. In general, I think public and private employers need to find ways to compensate well during good times without locking in too-high salaries that create big problems during bad times. For private employers, that was the whole idea behind profit-sharing and stock options that, in fact, (the old) HP was one of the pioneers of.


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Posted by College student
a resident of another community
on Apr 2, 2010 at 9:24 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


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Posted by I dont get it
a resident of another community
on Apr 2, 2010 at 12:30 pm

The only thing out of line is that 99% of the City of Palo Alto's Employees do not have a high enough income to qualify to buy a house in Palo Alto. If you want to lower their pay, then also lower property values, (and we know that will never happen!).


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Posted by cityworker
a resident of another community
on Apr 2, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Since you make over $100k, are you willing to take a 20% cut too? That's $23,000 PAY CUT for you.

SEIU already took around 8-10% cuts to benefits. You want cuts? Jim Keene will give them to you. There is going to be a significant amount of layoffs and service cuts coming in the next few weeks.

The sad thing is the positions listed above most likely won't be touched. They are all management. The cuts will be 90% SEIU.

Don't complain that it takes longer for PAPD or PAFD to respond to your emergency, or that the Library is open for shorter hours or there is a longer wait at Revenue Collections.

You all should be happy. You got what you wanted.


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 3, 2010 at 7:59 am

Thanks for posting the link to the salaries. Except for some of the top managers, most of the salaries don't seem that out of line.


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Posted by Add the extras
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 4, 2010 at 3:45 pm

The salary for the top managers above should add in the benefits they receive and the bonuses. The numbers above don't begin to describe the money they make.
The Library Director probably makes closer to $240,000 than the number above.
Plus generous vacation and sick leave.
What was the reason for the bonuses anyway?


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Posted by lifetime jobs?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 4, 2010 at 4:22 pm


I agree with Add the extras, Total compensation is more relevant than salaries alone,

can you make salaries plus extras available?

also, how many positions are there with similar responsibilities - for example what's the difference between a business analyst 125K +and a financial analyst 112K+, and how do they connect with the budget manager 128 K+ and the HR business analyst 105K.

And all this analysis still ended up resulting in a "recently discovered" $4.8 million budget hole that was reported in December.

Plus when you hear about all the automatic raises, and that these also seem like lifetime jobs?

it's not personal against the employees, just fair questions



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