What El Cerrito City Employees Earned in 2011

The city's municipal employees, on average, earn less than the statewide average — but the ratio of city workers to residents is high.

The state Controller's Office has put together a chart of city and county employee salary, benefits and pension contributions for municipal agencies throughout California.

The website shows that in 2011, El Cerrito spent $702 per resident on its 364 municipal employees. El Cerrito didn't have a single employee topping $200,000 mark in 2011 (See second table at bottom of article).  

In 2011, the city's highest paid position was a batallion chief with total wages of $193,070, according to the figures on the State Controller's website.

The employees are listed by position only, not name. The wages includes salary, overtime, vacation payouts and bonuses.

The 2011 salary list shows the average salary for municipal workers across the state is $61,059 a year.

If you haven't explored it yet, the controller's new website has some nifty features for people interested in public employee compensation in California. 

El Cerrito Municipal Employee Compensation 2011 Snapshot El Cerrito Statewide Average Population 23,648 64,930  Number of City Employees 364 620 Ratio of Residents per City Employee 64:1 104:1 Average Wages for City Employees $45,608 $61,059 Amount Spent on Total Wages $16,601,354 N/A Amount Spent per resident $702 N/A Source: California State Controller's Office

Chris McKenzie, the executive director of the League of California Cities, defended municipal salaries statewide.

He said high-ranking public employees oversee large departments, manage millions of dollars in funds and have to respond to a complex array of state and federal laws.

"These individuals are the chief executive officers of extremely important local government agencies," said McKenzie. "Would you want a low-paid surgeon to perform your next surgery? You can always go out and find cheaper employees, but you get what you pay for."

The Top 10 Highest Paying Positions in El Cerrito for 2011* Position Total Wages Defined
Benefit Plan Employees' Ret. Cost Covered Deferred Compensation Health, Dental
& Vision 1 Bat Chief-Training $193,070 $41,569 $54,001 -- $20,084 2 City Manager $185,457 $33,209 $13,277 $8,768 $20,185 3 Police Chief $178,939 $49,689 $16,186 -- $1,358 4 Fire-Bat Chief $166,695 $38,913 $12,683 -- $20,185 5 Fire Capt/paramedic $165,268 $37,906 $12,342 -- $20,185 6 Fire Capt/paramedic $160,854 $37,919 $12,347 -- $20,185 7 Fire Chief $158,494 $48,957 $15,975 -- $20,185 8 Fire Captain $158,395 $34,483 $11,227 -- $14,513 9 Police Captain $157,222 $47,188 $15,306 -- $20,185 10 PW Director/City Engineer $154,678 $28,296 $11,296 -- $14513 * The wages includes salary, overtime, vacation payouts and bonuses.
David D. February 27, 2013 at 05:46 PM
All of them have take home cars, which saves them a fortune. A salary reduction is in order and it should be given to the city workers at the bottom, who are making 50,000 to 60,000 a year..
Jeff Lichtman February 27, 2013 at 06:55 PM
Why are the statewide averages for "Amount Spent on Total Wages" and "Amount Spent per resident" shown as "N/A"? Simple arithmetic gives the answer. Multiplying the average wages by the number of employees gives the total wages - in this case, $37,856,580. Dividing this figure by the population gives the amount spent per resident, which comes to $583.04 (rounded to the nearest cent).
Alvin Mabuhay February 27, 2013 at 11:30 PM
But in fairness, these numbers aren't anything but typical for city employee managers. There are also some very good people in these positions and you can't blame them for negotiating a good contract.
Alex Gronke (Editor) February 27, 2013 at 11:35 PM
Hi Jeff, The information wasn't provided by the Controller, and I didn't want to make any assumptions, even assumptions based on simple math.
Mark Kay February 28, 2013 at 06:26 AM
Not a fan of the bloated city staff. Really, I have been trying for five years to get help with tree issues (neighbor's crappy eucalyptus) which are a big issue in our city. The only workers who seem to improve conditions in our city are the people who maintain our parks. Why does our city need such a large ratio of staff to residents? I see no upside for us taxpayers.
Betty Buginas February 28, 2013 at 03:26 PM
The city’s child care program would account for some of those staff. Programs like child care and the swim center collect user fees, and some programs may be paid for by grants, so it probably isn’t appropriate to assume the staff is “bloated” based on that one statistic. An analysis of factors like the type of services offered and funding sources would be needed.
Kathy A. February 28, 2013 at 03:55 PM
The fired department can evaluate fire danger posed by trees on someone's property. I am not aware that the city has authority to deal with other neighbor issues. City workers do not trim trees except along the streets and on public land. Because of budget cuts, it is my understanding that removal of some of the eucalyptus in the nature area was postponed indefinitely.
Rich Bartke February 28, 2013 at 07:54 PM
I'm interested in the comment that "All of them have take home cars". I asked the city for a list. Eliminating big trucks, black-&-whites on 24-7 patrol, etc, I estimate the city has 32 vehicles which could be used to communte, (many of which are 15 to 22 years old). Those 364 employees must be doing some serious car-pooling!
Mark Kay March 01, 2013 at 03:04 AM
Thank you Kathy, for the tree info. I was mainly lamenting the fact that there are ordinances on trees, but when one calls to ask (namely height restrictions and multiplying eucalyptus) for help in dealing with a neighbor, they offer no help. Even if the eucalyptus exceed 75 feet! We were told the tree policies were on hold until establishment of tree committee when we asked for guidance a couple of years ago. I'll try the fire dept!
Kathy A. March 01, 2013 at 03:40 AM
We unfortunately had a giant eucalyptus -- around 100 feet, originally planted as a windbreak for the quarry operations. It was just inside our property line. It is very expensive to take a big eucalyptus down. We had some of the heavier limbs removed in earlier years, but it was still close to $8,000 to take out that tree, and that was a few years ago. The wood is very heavy and hard to work with -- that removal cost significantly more than a large dying pine tree we removed at the same time. So, I have sympathy with the neighbor bearing that cost. I really wanted our eucalyptus to be gone -- they are shallow-rooted and can fall over in storms, they litter the ground, and in a big fire (like the Oakland Hills firestorm) they go up like torches because the wood is oily -- but it was a major expense and we could not do it for a long time.
Kathy A. March 01, 2013 at 03:43 AM
Good checking of info, Rich!
David D. March 01, 2013 at 09:14 AM
The article is about the top ten highest paid employees. Nice try...
Kathy A. March 01, 2013 at 10:03 PM
David - -sorry, I misunderstood the context of your comment. Thanks for clarifying. Those top-10 positions pretty much require that persons in charge show up, any hour on any day, and any place, should an emergency arise. They also need to have communication equipment ready in their cars, for those emergencies. We often see fire trucks outside the supermarket, when the firefighters are shopping for groceries -- those trucks are expensive to run, but the firefighters need to be ready to go at a moment's notice, even during down times. So, I do not think that city-supplied vehicles + equipment are out of line for senior city employees who may have to respond to something at any time.
David D. March 02, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Kathy, I was merely pointing out that a take home car saves the worker a lot of money and the city workers making a lot less than the above mentioned need a pay increase. I have a take home car provided by my company, so I know the cost savings. P.S. I enjoy reading your posted comments in the patch.


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