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Analysis of 2012

 

public employee

 

salary database


By Robert Schussel, Ph.D

1/13/14



Purpose

To provide a detailed analysis of selected cities in the 2012 California Public Employee salary database to determine average wage of City of Vallejo employees compared to other city employees in the state.

 

 

 

 

Background

Each year the California State Controller’s Office conducts an employee salary survey of local and state entities. By aggregating the data, wage comparisons across the 479 cities in the database can be made.


For many years the Vallejo City Employee Unions have claimed that their members were not well paid or just average in pay.

 

However, for 2012 the State Controller survey found Vallejo having the fifth highest average employee wage ($87,362) out of the 479 cities listed. If Vernon (population 121) and Sand Hill (population 338) are eliminated Vallejo would be ranked #3 in the State behind Hayward ($96,122 average employee wage) and Los Angeles ($90,217).


The remainder of this article will focus on the number of employees in other cities compared to Vallejo and whether City of Vallejo wages are really much higher than comparison cities.


Caveats

  1. The Controller database contains unaudited data which means it may not be 100% accurate.

  2. The data contained in the database include:

    1. Name of city

    2. County city resides in

    3. Number of residents of city.

    4. Average wage for the city’s employees

    5. Total wages paid to city employees

    6. Average number of residents per employee

    7. Average health and retirement cost for employees

    8. Total health and retirement costs paid by city.

  3. The job mix included in the average wage calculation varies from city to city. While not totally comparable, most cities have similar functions that must be fulfilled by their employees.


Findings

  1. The average wage paid to a City of Vallejo employee is 56% to 221% higher than any of the other cities in Solano County. Vallejo pays its employees significantly more than the other cities in Solano County (see table 1).

  2. Other Solano cities have 20% to 327% more employees per resident than Vallejo. This suggests that the other Solano cities are providing their citizens more services.

    Vacaville and Fairfield have about twice the employees per resident as Vallejo even though their total wages budget is about the same size as Vallejo’s. Vallejo’s average cost per employee ($87,362) is significantly higher.

    Other Solano cities have 20% to 327% more employees per resident than Vallejo. This suggests that the other Solano cities are providing their citizens more services.


3.Vacaville and Fairfield have about twice the employees per resident as Vallejo even though their total wages budget is about the same size as Vallejo’s. Vallejo’s average cost per employee ($87,362) is significantly higher.

 

 

TABLE 1

Solano County Cities

 

 

 

 

Another way to understand the number of employees and wages paid by Vallejo, is to compare Vallejo to similar size cities throughout the state. There are 33 cities in the State of California with populations between 100,000 and 150,000. Vallejo would be considered average in size (57th percentile) among these cities with a population of 117,112. (see table 2)

 

 

Table 2 Cities with populations between 100,000 and 150,000

 

 


 

Population

# Employees

Avg Wage

Santa Maria

100,306

674

$50,710

El Cajon

100,460

576

$59,386

Rialto

101,275

458

$66,097

Daly City

103,347

725

$62,271

Temecula

104,879

358

$41,158

Burbank

104,982

1,754

$66,053

Antioch

105,117

596

$39,567

Richmond

105,562

1,035

$81,765

Murrieta

105,832

368

$75,639

Norwalk

106,093

556

$35,577

West Covina

107,248

576

$63,477

Fairfield

108,207

894

$52,904

Carlsbad

108,246

1,146

$51,628

San Buenaventura

108,294

1,131

$46,247

Costa Mesa

111,358

657

$69,156

Downey

112,761

864

$46,922

El Monte

114,436

515

$52,261

Berkeley

115,716

2,300

$56,057

VALLEJO

117,112

543

$87,362

Santa Clara

120,284

1,412

$73,206

Victorville

120,368

427

$44,692

Roseville

123,514

1,853

$50,900

Concord

123,812

757

$47,642

Simi Valley

125,558

620

$69,909

Thousand Oaks

128,143

643

$48,856

Visalia

128,443

880

$45,929

Fullerton

138,251

918

$55,777

Orange

138,792

894

$64,146

Pasadena

140,020

2,403

$65,069

Escondido

145,908

1,213

$49,944

Sunnyvale

145,973

1,406

$61,168

Torrance

146,860

1,992

$60,447

Hayward

148,756

863

$96,122

 

 

 

 

Median

114,436

863

$56,057

Average

118,664

970

$58,729













 

 

4) Vallejo was ranked 2nd highest for average employee wage ($87,362) among cities with populations between 100K and 150K.. Hayward was highest at $96,122.

 

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5) 80% of the cities with populations between 100K and 150K have more city employees per residents than

does Vallejo—Vallejo is understaffed compared to most of these cities.

 

moneybag_2012_2.jpg 

                                       

  1. Despite having significantly more residents per employee the total amount of wages spent by Vallejo ($47,434,451) is similar to the 50th percentile for the 33 cities--$$45,435,699.

The above suggests that Vallejo’s overall budget for city employees is similar to the other cities. The reason Vallejo has fewer employees per resident is due to Vallejo paying its city employees significantly more than most of the other 33 cities.



  1. Vallejo’s cost per employee ($23,543) for healthcare/pensions is 13% higher than the middle h value for all 33 cities ($20,894). Not only does Vallejo pay higher wages but its health/ pension cost are also somewhat higher than most of the 33 cities .



Comments

The findings from this analysis shows why the City of Vallejo employee unions are willing to spend large sums of money to elect city council members who will not rein in their contracts. Despite all of the union protests and denials, City of Vallejo employees earn significantly more than city employees in most of the other cities in California. In 2012 Vallejo had the 5th highest average city employee wage out of 479 cities in the State of California.


The analysis also revealed that Vallejo has fewer employees for it size than comparable sized cities throughout the State. In 2012 Vallejo had 543 city employees while the typical city of our size had 863—Vallejo is understaffed by comparison.


It also should be noted that the amount of money Vallejo spends on employee wages is consistent with other what cities of similar size throughout the State spend. The problem is not a lack of money, rather Vallejo City employee wages are excessive compared to most of the other cities. The big loser is the Vallejo taxpayer who receives fewer services because the city cannot afford to hire more of these high priced employees.


The publishing of individual employee wages caused the public to demand more accountability from the City Council. It is my hope that the Controller database will help the public to pressure City Council to implement more contract reforms so that additional employees can be hired.