San Jose released its annual list of city salaries late last week, reminding us once again where the bulk of the municipal budget goes. Like most municipalities, payroll accounts for the city’s single highest expense. San Jose shelled out $596 million, or 62 percent of this fiscal year’s budget, on payroll for its 5,500 employees. That doesn’t even count non-general fund personnel who work in utilities, such as Mineta San Jose International Airport or other city-run enterprises, says David Vossbrink—whose total 2012 pay, since we’re on the subject, was $135,638.
Here is the full list of City of San Jose Employee Salaries for 2012.
Retired Sgt. John M. Seaman topped the list, receiving total compensation in the amount of $308,345: $144,480 in vacation and sick leave payouts, $103,872 in base salary and $51,294 in overtime. In fact, five of the 10 highest earners retired last year, and six are police.
Recently retired Police Chief Chris Moore, who received the fifth highest amount in compensation, likely would have taken the top spot had he walked away from the job before the New Year. Not including full sick leave and vacation payouts, Moore received $255,791 in total compensation in 2012.
City Manager Debra Figone, coming in fourth, was once again was the highest-paid, non-public safety official and the most well-compensated active employee on the list at $255,8546. Her base salary is highest on the list.
Mayor Chuck Reed ($111,577) again managed to see several of his staffers earn more money than he did. Public safety advisor Jose Salcido pocketed $119,393 in total compensation, and he was followed by Pete Furman (118,6543), Reed’s chief of staff; Jeff Janssen ($116,186), a policy advisor; and Armando Gomez ($113,603); the mayor’s budget director.
Michelle McGurk, the mayor’s spokesperson, made more than any councilmember with $96,722 in total compensation, as did Joseph Okpaku ($94,250), a chief of staff for District 2 Councilmember Ash Kalra ($83,740).
Councilmembers from highest paid to lowest were as follows: Pete Constant ($89,736); Madison Nguyen ($89,287); Rose Herrera ($86,487); Peirluigi Oliviero ($86,284); Kansen Chu ($85,139); Sam Liccardo ($84,640); Kalra ($83,740); Xavier Campos ($83,449); Nancy Pyle ($83,449); and Don Rocha ($83,449).
No one came close to touching Rob Davis in 2011. San Jose’s former police chief ended his career with nearly $535,000 in total compensation for the year, $300,000 of which came from vacation and sick leave payouts.
Years of inflated PTO payouts have prompted some councilmembers to call for ending the lump-sum giveaways, or at least limiting them. A second-tier system has already been designed for a few unions, including anyone top-level administrators hired in the future.
City Attorney Richard Doyle, 10th on this year’s list, clocked in at $230,014. Senior Deputy City Attorney Brian Doyle, ended 2012 with $238,526 by cashing out $92,650 in sick leave/vacation payout.
Fire Battalion Chief Ivan Lee was seventh, earning $242,602 last year, about half of which came from overtime. Acting Police Chief Larry Esquivel ($230,376) came in ninth and Fire Chief William McDonald ($218,889) was 14th.
Of the 70 workers listed under the City Manager’s employ, 18 made more than six figures; four, obviously including Figone, made $200,000 or more.
The lowest-paid city staffer, Environmental Services plant operator trainee Timothy Carroll, made all of 30 cents last year.