Santa Monica Lookout — According to Transparent California, a statewide watchdog group, police chief Jacqueline Seabrook’s total compensation of $478,120 for 2015 was the highest among police chiefs in California, Joseph Lawrence earned a total compensation of $442,414 in 2015, making him California’s highest paid assistant City Attorney, the City’s “farmer’s market supervisor” received $140,000 in total compensation, and the assistant city librarian received a pay and benefits package totaling $220,000.
Additionally, city bus drivers averaged $109,000 in total compensation and City Manager Rick Cole was hired in 2015 at $329,424 a year, plus health benefits and 21 days of immediate vacation.
The City of Santa Monica’s $1.1 billion biennial budget was among the highest in the state and is driven by “unbelievably excessive employee compensation,” according to Robert Fellner, the Las Vegas-based organization’s research director.
“While every incremental tax increase will point to a specific project — paving roads, affordable housing, more cops on street, etc. — the real driver for those taxes is the unbelievably excessive employee compensation,” Fellner said.
Asked to comment on the report’s findings, City officials said:
“Our City offers a competitive base salary to our employees. We aim to attract and retain excellent staff. The pay our staff earn is commensurate with the talent we are getting and for the caliber of services provided to our community.”
“Public pay at Santa Monica is obscene,” he said. “And at 72 percent of the General Operating Fund, it’s the main reason why they have some of the highest sales tax and utility taxes in the nation.”
Read full article here.