City Releases Employee Salary List for 2010

The top salaries for city employees in 2010 were released Friday, and recently retired police chief Rob Davis topped the list at $534,576 in total cash compensation.

Of the top 15 on the list of 9,354 full- and part-time City of San Jose workers, nine are members of the police department and five are part of the fire department. Only two of the top 15—SJFD Battalion Chief Juan Diaz ($289,263) and City Manager Debra Figone ($269,662)—are active employees; the rest are now retired.

Former fire chief Darryl Von Raesfeld is second on the list at $430,108.a

Harry Mavrogenes, the executive director of the San Jose Redevelopment Agency, is listed at 19th with a compensation totaling $259,674, while Mayor Chuck Reed comes in on the lower half of the scale at $111,845.

Nicole Blade, a part-time office specialist in the human resources department, received the least amount of compensation in 2010, earning a whopping $1.

Click Here for the 2010 City of San Jose City Salary List.

Note: The original version of this posting contained an error in the number of full- and part-time workers employed by the city in 2010. There were 5,900 full-time employees in 2010.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.


  1. “Only two of the top 15 are active employees; the rest are now retired.”

    This is a situation that is intolerable, unAmerican, and just plain wrong. But with the help of the public employee unions and cooperative, compliant elected officials, we will right this wrong.
    Sometime in the next few years, thanks to the tireless and selfless efforts of the policeguys and fireguys associations, there will come a day when NO person, not 2 in 15, not 1 in 1,000, of stupid chumps who go out every day and actually work for a living, will get a larger paycheck than those who stay home all day watching TV and eating Doritos.

    • I think you misunderstand the data.  These 13 worked part of the year, took home some base pay, and got their unused leave cashed out when they retired.  They were not retired at the beginning of the year.  That’s why their figures were inflated (cashing out leave), and why they were included in the list (they worked part of the year).

      Look at base pay, for a more clear picture.  They are reporting their base pay (which is for those working, not retired).  Pensioners are excluded, and you won’t find pension anywhere near $500,000 (heck, their actual pay isn’t anywhere near that)—I promise you.

  2. How come San Jose has 9354 full and part time employees when we are told again and again city has less 6500 ? 

    1) Has anyone ever seen employee costs by department of actual numbers of employees and what they are paid ?

    2) Has anyone ever seen the actual employee costs totals:

    Total Cash Compensation,
    Base Pay,
    Sick and Vacation Payouts,
    Other Cash Compensation,
    Deferred Compensation, 
    City Paid Medical / Dental,
    City Paid Retirement Contributions ?

    So where can we see by actual department employee costs by category to understand where our taxes are going ?

  3. taken a look to see how much work the employees have to do in order to earn their salaries? Seems like no one is taking that into account. Many people are not willing to put their lives on the line, having to go into drug infested, gang infested areas and deal with people who normal, everyday citizens would not like to have to encounter on a daily basis. Salaries should take into account how difficult and dangerous a job is. People moan and complain about these salaries but if you ask them to do the work, they wouldn’t want any part of it. You get what you pay for. If you want people to do the job to keep you safe…then don’t moan about the salary. Yes, those upper limits are ridiculous and I agree with the outrage. They are actually outrageous and shameful. But don’t fault those making under 100K. They have to do a lot that you don’t even know about to earn their salaries, especially those who have to keep the communities safe and healthy. Many are doing the work of two employees and getting a single salary. But nobody is telling anybody about that. Don’t gripe about what you don’t know about. If you want to take out your outrage, take it out on the upper administration with the ridiculous, abusive salaries, not the little person who is worked to death.

    • Give me a break, when you have 4,000 people apply for 20 firefighter jobs don’t tell me that no one wants to do that job. We should be paying them half the salaries they are currently getting. When you take into account their work schedule and the fact that they are actually paid for sleeping on the job they are grossly overpaid. For the most part firefighters have just become glorified ambulances drivers and paramedics. Why we send a large fire engine with 4 overpaid firefighters on it when a smaller truck with only 2 on it will work even better. Times have changed and the city needs to think outside the box and begin to down size the fire department quickly. For too long they have taken too much from the tax payers and it needs to stop. You can’t get this kind of compensation in the private sector anywhere. When we are paying a battalion chief almost $300,000 a year (Battalion chiefs no longer go into burning buildings) the system is completely broken and the fire fighters are out of touch with reality. Here is a suggestion; how about a 2 man engine company and lets train a volunteer fire department for the fires when they actually happen. 70% of all the fire departments in the country are volunteer. Lets all find a better way and get rid of these 90% retirements at age 50.

      • Great idea…. We’ll start fighting fire from the sidewalk and watch all your possessions go up in smoke due to the lack of manpower and this little thing call 2 in/2 out (It an OSHA thing, I wouldn’t expect you to understand since you think we are glorified ambulance drivers…)

        Good luck with your volunteer department…..  ps. how about volunteer janitors and volunteer cops, that should be easy to get too…..

        • Mr. Beginner,
          This is why you and your fellow union members are losing the battle for public respect and support.  When someone voices an opinion or their concerns,you respond by threatening to burn their house. Why don’t you construct an argument as to why looking into the other options that Myron suggests won’t work? 
          As a resident of Santa Clara, I know that they have a partial volunteer fire department. Are you telling me that the Santa Clara Fire Fighters will sit on the sidewalk and watch someone’s house burn? I do not think so. In fact, they work very hard at trying to save life and property. If this is truly how you feel you should look for another line of work, I do not believe your heart is in the right place if you actually believe what you are saying.
          When the City has to dole out a million dollars for a retiring Police and Fire Chief, who are both capable of still working and performing all of their duties, there is a big problem with the system. That is a million dollars for just two employees. I understand that a large part of these payments are for unused sick leave. This is a benefit that is only granted to employees in the public sector. It is very unlikely you would find a benefit like this in the private sector. Sick leave is to be used when someone is actually sick. It is not intended to be used as additional time off like the unions have negotiated with the politicians and management staffs. In the private sector if you do not use it you will lose it. That said, if you use it for something other than actual sick leave, you will likely find yourself in the unemployment line.

          I find it funny that the public sector was so into creating competing wages that were comparable to the private sector 20 years ago. Now that things have changed why don’t they work to keep things fair and start cutting like the private sector has been doing for the last 5 years.

          It would be great if you and all of your other fellow union workers truly could understand real budget problems and actually come to the table with solutions to make things better for all of the citizens of the cities. Instead, you seem intent on beating down others opinions and suggestions. Shame on you.

        • Ernest,
          Wow, I would have expected more from one of San Jose’s finest. As a retired Fire Fighter myself, I completely understand what your job involves. In fact, I would place a friendly wager that I have personally spent more time in burning buildings in my short career in Oakland than you have in your entire career in San Jose.  I do not mean this as demining statement, just as a point of reference when you want to talk about all the work Fire Fighters do today. The fact is that approximately 80% of a Fire Fighters calls today are medical. If you want to ignore that fact, rest assured many people on the outside are not. When the bell rings for a structure fire you definitely need all the help and man power available.
          As a result of the Volunteer program in Santa Clara I was able to gain some very valuable training and experience that truly helped me in my career in Oakland. The city of Santa Clara has used volunteers for a very long time and as a result they have been providing excellent fire protection with only a 3 man engine company and a 2 man Truck company. I know you and all the others will want to tell me that my house will burn down while you are on the sidewalk watching. I do not believe this at all. I know what it is like to arrive at a burning structure and I know the feeling of adrenalin that rushes thru you as you jump off the rig to truly help someone in need. So please spare the BS.
          What you and all of your fellow Fire Fighters need to do is wake up and realize that the politics of old will no longer keep the status quo. Things are going to change and they will change with or without your help. It is just that if you and your fellow workers would realize that it is in the best interest of all the citizens for you to work for positive and effective restructuring that more accurately provides the services needed today. In addition, a 90% retirement at age 50 is just going to make the cities go broke. When that happens who really wins? While 90% is great, it is not necessary in order to attract qualified personnel. Most of the current Fire Fighters began their career when the retirement age 55 or 60 and the maximum retirement compensation would have been 75%. One of the problem arises when people retire who never paid in the required amounts to pull out the 90%.
          My brother just retired from San Jose and I am familiar with how your union has operated in the past. If I were a member of your union,  based on what I saw, I would have quit the union in disgust. Management is not your enemy, while I know you probably do not like all of their suggestions you really should go to the table and work in good faith. I do not believe your union has done that.

        • concerned citizen,
          You misunderstand my post… It is difficult to inject sarcasm into an online rant…. I would expect that the retired firefighter, Myron (who just happens to be the very chiefs brother whom you reference in your post as being half of that million dollar payout)  would understand that we need more people on the scenes of fire and not less.

          If this city were to go to 3 person Engines, we would be forced to wait for another Engine to arrive before we may legally enter the burning building.  Maybe that’s not how he did it “in the good ol’ days” but that’s not how we do it now. 

          Volunteer’s will not work in a city this size and spread this far out and you never know how many people will show up if at all. The 10th largest city in the nation should not have a volunteer dept. to protect it.  There are too many different variables that require a professional department and professional training to manage (Highrise, HazMat, Airport…ect….  It works in Santa Clara because there is a Fire Station every square mile and that 2nd Engine is there much faster than it would be here in San Jose…

          Lastly, Yes I am a union member but I do not represent the union… I am simply a Firefighter expressing my opinion and not the Union or the City.  I would never intentionally imply that I would sit idly by and watch your house burn down, That is not who I am… 

          I am simply trying to paint the picture that there are many mitigating factors associated with whether we enter a burning structure or not, it is not simply based on who is braver or not, therefor, if my hands are to be tied by the fact that I cannot enter the structure and I do not have enough people to contain the fire to the room of origin.  Then I will be standing on the sidewalk squirting water on the building in an attempt to contain it and not let it spread to the next building….

          In every Firefighter you will find the same credo..  Risk a lot to save a lot, Risk very little to save that which can be rebuilt.

        • Myron,
          I know who you are and hence the reason for my response…

          Really??? You want to sit down and compare penis size? How mature… I’m glad you got to do a lot of interior firefighting in your short career in Oakland but maybe that’s why your career was so short… Because you did things back then that were unsafe and didn’t make sense…  As far as being in a burning building more, Who cares..??  Look who’s still working and who isn’t…

          Take all the adrenaline you want, it still shouldn’t overcome common sense and safe fire operations because at the end of the day my goal is to make it back to my wife and kid ALIVE…  Your ideas are prehistoric and have no place in the modern fire service so spare me YOUR BS, you dinosaur. 

          By the way, how’s that disability retirement working out for you speaking of not paying your share into the system….  you know, pot, kettle, that whole glass house thing…

          Enjoy your day and Say Hi to your Brother for me…

        • Ernest Beginner,

          I will respond the unprovoked attack you made on my brother regarding his disability; he can respond to rest of your post when he gets back in town since he and I have differing opinions and I know he can defend himself.

          How dare you mock my brother’s disability which is a serious health condition which I am sure will shorten his life; he more than paid his “share”.  You know nothing about it to make such a crass comment.  If he had his option, he would still be working in this proud profession that you seem intent on minimizing based on your one sided, me first, mean spirited and anonymous posts. 

          There was also no disability offset to his modest retirement benefit as enjoyed by San Jose Firefighters which is one area of immediate budget savings without impacting direct wages that could be put forward with serious negotiations.  Also the 3% at 20 years retirement package that only the Firefighters enjoy and you would be hard pressed to find a comparable anywhere is another area that could save millions just by converting to what the Police have without impacting direct wages.  I hope those serious discussions can occur.

          Firefighting is dangerous profession and those that have been privileged to serve deserve respect.  Be safe.

        • Oh Darryl, don’t get your panties in a bunch…. He threw the first stone and if he or you can’t handle it then you shouldn’t be posting….

          You know that I know the dangers of the job and would advocate for anybody who is disabled from doing this job….  I was simply trying to point out that he shouldn’t be throwing such massive stones while sitting in a glass house.

          Anybody who gives their all in this profession or ultimately dies as a result of the job has been and always will be a hero.  Nothing less….

        • Ernest (who ever you are),
          You do not know me well enough and I do not know you well enough (don’t even know who you are) to know what you think.  And your postings are confusing; first you minimize my brother’s disability then in the next post call him a hero (I think).  My brothers post did not ask to compare genitals nor did he make any derogatory reference to your work; he was just making his points as a taxpayer in San Jose and tried to let you know he has a first hand understanding of the fire service.  You see his ideas as stones, but I am sure he believes in his ideas and is willing to stand up for them, regardless if others will throw stones.  As I said before, he and I do not agree on every issue but we do have conversations.
          I use this site to post accurate information and engage in meaningful dialogue, not say one thing and then say just kidding and post a different opinion.  And it is obvious the conversations related to the current budget challenges need direct and thoughtful discussion.  The culture is in the conversation and double speak just doesn’t help and delays action.


        • Darryl,

          The following are quotes from your brother’s post…

          “Wow, I would have expected more from one of San Jose’s finest.”

          “I have personally spent more time in burning buildings in my short career in Oakland than you have in your entire career in San Jose.”

          “excellent fire protection with only a 3 man engine company and a 2 man Truck company.”

          “So please spare the BS. “

          “What you and all of your fellow Fire Fighters need to do is wake up”

          “If I were a member of your union,  based on what I saw, I would have quit the union in disgust. “

          “I do not believe your union has done that.”

          All of the above statements, in my opinion, are attacks against me and my fellow firefighters…. I do know you Darryl, your the guy who drove this fire dept. into the ground and continues to claim that you did the best you could and that because of your actions it would be worse….  I disagree.

          The funny part is that you have 33 years in the Fire service and already you’ve forgotten what it’s like to have a typical firehouse conversation…. Speaking of double talk… your the king.  I’ve personally heard you say one thing to a group of people regarding a subject and shortly thereafter same something totally different to another group regarding the same subject…. So spare me the double talk speech.

          So here is a suggestion,  Grow some thicker skin and let your brother defend himself.  It’s actually cute that you came to your brother’s defense… 

          You have officially become a waste of time for me….. Enjoy your retirement and that hefty payout Mr. IGM.  (I Got Mine)

        • Ernest (?????), 

          It is obvious you do not know me nor have you taken the time to sit down for a one on one conversation.  My brother can defend himself, he is very capable.  My post to you was to bring to attention your demeaning of his disability, which you then tried to correct. 
          The quotes in your recent post are not all complete and do not fully capture my brother’s points and as I have said, my brother and I disagree on several issues the biggest being staffing.  As for your general and vague statement about my double speak, it would be good to provide an example if you have one.  My time as Chief provides much written and recorded statements all in public view so I’m sure there is plenty of material to review.  Your double speak is in many of your posts.


        • Ernest
          I would have responded to your ridiculous post earlier but I just got back in town. Darryl, thanks for trying to point out how absurd some of these guys are. I am really beginning to see firsthand how difficult it must have been for you to have managed individuals like Ernest. Ernest seems to be incapable of comprehending facts and instead can only argue with obscene and vile rhetoric. 

          Earnest, hopefully the rest of the department is not as vile and crude as you are; you want to compare a person’s private genitalia, REALLY?? I have worked with many honorable and dedicated Fire Fighters and none of them would EVER address anyone in the private sector like you have. Rather than decending to your illiterate level I will keep the conversation on tract where it started.

          So let me get this straight. Your defense of an individual who retired on a disability, then went back to work doing the same job he just retired from (disabled) for another City, is to demean all the rest of our brothers that actually are suffering everyday for giving their all. UNBLEIVABLE!!!! And you want to make a crack at my Brother that he ruined your department. You sir, and others that share your twisted view are the problem. The sad thing is that you are incapable of seeing how bad you really are. Any honorable Fire Fighter would be appalled and disgusted at anyone who abuses the system like this, instead you support it.

          A disability Retirement should only be allowed when an individual has been injured to the point that they are unable to return to the line. You, like the retired BC from San Jose are the ones that are ruining the system for the rest of us. If you are able to still perform your duties you are in no way disabled, and therefore, should not be eligible for a disability retirement. Don’t be surprised if at some point in the future there is some legislation to the effect that if an individual on a disability is not truly disabled, then their entire retirement is at risk.

          By the way, how many San Jose Fire Fighters actually live within the city limits of San Jose? Are you one of the guys that take from this great City and chooses to live somewhere else?

        • Ernest,
          In one of your responses to my brother, you listed many quotes as attacks that you thought I made on you and our fellow Fire Fighters. I have one question, Are you capable of keeping things in context? I am beginning to believe that you are not even an actual Fire Fighter, just an angry want-a-be. I don’t know of a Fire Fighter that does not have a decent ability to comprehend plain English. In addition, when I post a comment I am not afraid to let you know who I am. I like to call this being accountable and responsible. Apparently with an alias like “Ernest Beginner” you are hiding from reality. So, you are either not an actual Fire Fighter or you are afraid of what your fellow Fire Fighters would think of you based on your pathetic comments and attacks on those that have a different opinion than yours.

          You even seem to think that the brave Fire Fighters in Santa Clara are somehow a threat to you. Is this because SCFD is able to do the same job you are supposedly performing for significantly less than what your Union is forcing the tax payers of San Jose to pay.

          In a response to my Brother you stated you personally heard him double speak to two different groups. What actually did he say that was double talk? It is really easy to make a baseless accusation, try backing it up with some facts. Something tells me you are just making all this up like your previous Union President did all the time. The troubles you and the rest of the department are experiencing are not the result of your previous Chief, they are self inflicted by individuals like you that are destroying what so many others have given so much for.

          If you truly are a representative of your union, I would encourage all of the respectable Fire Fighters to distance themselves from individuals like you. It is your hatred and horrible attitude that will hurt all of the great Fire Fighters that go to work every day and risk everything for folks they don’t even know.

          When you would like to actually have a respectable discussion about real issues regarding this City I will be happy to discuss them with you. In the mean time go and use your vile and disgusting bulling on someone who might believe your BS.

        • the term is public servant not slave we put our lives on the line every day that’s what we get paid for. the bad investments made by the city are not our fault but it’s typical while people like yourself were making money we agreed to take less money for retirement that the city is claiming that we are responsible for all the excess spending in this city you believe it to be a fact we all know politicians never lie. If you people really believe that Chuck reed is doing this for anything more that breaking the unions you are foolish. this is not the first time this type thing has occurred in 1989 the board of supervisors created the department of corrections because they couldn’t control the elected Sheriff. they claimed they would save millions the reality is they probably doubled their spending and destroyed the Sheriff’s dept.  well believe this I do my job because I believe in it and I will continue to work with limited resources until I retire or die. As far as Myron’s comments go I know a lot of officers and firefighters that wore the uniform but never did the job.We called them command staff. I have to wonder which he was if he can’t understand the anger someone feels when a city is trying to take a part of their future for something as ridiculous as a baseball stadium for a team that hasn’t even committed or any number of things they claim they need for the city. how come no one complains about the new city hall we needed that like we need a hole in the head. And the dino turd in the park that thing cost abut 1/2 million the list is endless

        • To Hmmm,

          Good call, it is my brother, had no idea he was posting until after I read the post and talked with him Monday.  He and I have different opinions on many issues such as my pension, staffing on Engines, I think 4 he thinks 3; I do think the Department needs to explore two person response units for the low priority EMS calls as I had been advocate for this during my tenure which is a little different form his take as I know that 2 person staffing will not work for fire emergencies.  And while we have not talked about volunteers in San Jose, I’m sure we will discuss it next time we meet.  The other thing we have in common we are both property tax payers in San Jose.  The goods thing is he and I talk almost weekly and are not afraid to talk about the difficult issues and while we may not agree on many issues, we do talk.  Something I wish labor would address through the negotiation process.  I almost fell out of my chair this morning when I read a statement in the Mercury News from the Union that stated “The negotiation process has just begun and we’re committed to working with the City…”  The good part is they are committed to working with the City; the bad part is the contract expired in 2009 and negotiations started way back then, two years ago while I was still the Fire Chief. 

          I understand that with new Union leadership the old philosophy of the former Union President of delay, delay, delay may be changing and I know that is a good thing.  I wish the best to the new Union President and know that with honest dialogue, not subjective snippets, both labor and management can find equitable solutions.

          One other irony from my brother’s post is that Ernst Beginner responded his post.  The funny thing is if Ernest (never identified himself in our exchanges on this site) is who I think he is he and my brother both worked as Fire Engineers, my brother in Oakland until he was forced to retire with a serious lung issue back in the mid 1990’s.  I think they would enjoy sharing work stories, I know I was impressed with the work my brother did in Oakland.

  4. I find it interesting that the city releases salary lists in an effort to be ‘transparent,’ yet they won’t make many of the negotiations with unions public.  Why?

  5. The city of San Jose should have salary caps at all branches. 185,000.  No council “power” for special reasons.  we can find people in this valley willing to perform at an acceptable level for this figure.  City Council should be a part time position with “NO” benefits.  After all the city hires professionals to determine decisions with spending.
        Police and fire should have No overtime above the rank of hiring.  First line Supervisors working in the field would be exempt.  A review of any and all supervisors overtime.  Seems like the people gaining the most from overtime are the supervisors of these organizations. This is proven in the salary report.  Not the line level.
        A five year plan going backwards.  This includes the City Manager.  What was the average pay of the Managers office when the current Manager took over and what is it now.
        My understanding of the Pension system should reflect returns and loss.  As a charter city the pension is based on returns of the stock market.  The city does not have to put in as much during the good years of the market and have to fully fund it during the lower returns.  Any MONEY not required because of good return years SHALL be placed in a fund for future lower returns.  This fund should be fully protected and allowed to grow.
        We have to tackle this debt not on the backs employees filling the pot holes, removing downed trees or responding to emergencys. It’s the people who stand around with hands in pockets as supervisors.

    • If a supervisor is *not* granted overtime but the employees under him or her *are* granted overtime, how are they supposed to supervise their subordinates to ensure that they are actually working the overtime?

      The salaries and benefits paid to public employees were agreed upon by the City years ago.  At times when people could make more money in the private sector, a certain few people looked to public service for a living a wage and decent work helping the City provide services so that the rest of us could work our higher paying private industry jobs.  Now that times are lean public service salaries and benefits seem outrageous, but are they really that far out of line salaries and benefits seen by dot-com entrepeneurs and real estate execs of only a few years ago?  And don’t forget that even though police officers get a good retirement, they pay for it by putting over 20% of their pay directly towards said pension.

      The work that public service employees do is the stuff that most of us don’t want to do.  Who wants to work the graveyard shift, or weekends (or both!), and miss their children’s activities – baseball, soccer, wrestling, drama, music, you name it?  They should be fairly compensated for their sacrifice.

      Yes, the city could pay certain workers less.  We could follow the example of New Orleans – pay our cops under $35,000 a year.  That would save a ton of money.  Until the corruption and mediocrity set in.

      Or look at how the San Jose Police Department is over supervised.  We should increase the ratio of supervisors to officers like the Los Angeles Police Department… oh wait… that was how the whole Rampart scandal happened in the first place. 

      No, I think the City is just fine where we are at.  Sure there is room for change – paying out unused leave should be capped (but be careful – if it comes down to use or lose it, who isn’t going to use it – leaving fewer public employees doing the job day to day?). Pension payouts should be reformed moving forward. 

      But the City needs to understand that it is their past practices that got us into this mess.  The City needs to focus on BRINGING JOBS AND INDUSTRY to the City – the kinds of things that generate REVENUE.  They need to move away from making the City even more of a bedroom community than it already is.

      Be mindful of the knee-jerk reaction to go overboard, since it isn’t the City Council that will suffer if the City can’t attract highly qualified public service employees; it is you and I, the average “Joe” who suffers when our kids can’t go to the park or the library during their reduced hours because there are not enough cops on the street to keep us safe while we go there.

  6. I’m very impressed the city actually published this data rather than having the press do freedom of information requests.

    After going through a few departments, I’d have to say it was clear what was being reported and at most levels the city employees enjoy very competitive wages that offer a decent standard of living.  Its clear that wages are a little high in some areas.

    In a labor market, you want to offer wages sufficient to attract and retain good workers.  Don’t have to be the best (though some argue so), as in a high-performing public organization raw talent can be molded into ever greater performance.

    The pensions system actual trumps wages as a retention tool.  I suspect its also a big selling point on recruitment, but younger workers are notorious for valuing take home pay more than distant retirement pensions. 

    So can wages be adjusted over time without losing out in the so-called competitive south bay labor market?  Can we freeze wages for a few years and let inflation bring them back to earth (deflate them about 10-15%)  Nah…too many hurt feelings and too hard politically.  What’s the most politically expedient way to deal with a systemic financial problem?

    BTW – high wages = high pension costs which are calculated on highest 3 years annual wages averaged.

    • Blair, you make so much sense. Why can’t they just freeze salaries for the next 5 years and let everything fall back into place? My only thought is that Chuck is so anti-employee that he enjoys the havoc he has created. To reduce an employees pay and benefits and expect them to want to continue to be high performers is going to bring some surprises. Mediocre performance for mediocre pay. The City is digging its own hole.

      • “To reduce an employees pay and benefits and expect them to want to continue to be high performers is going to bring some surprises.” Fine, let them quit and see how much less they’d get in the private sector.

        Myron, above wrote:“Give me a break, when you have 4,000 people apply for 20 firefighter jobs”  I don’t believe his numbers, but I’d bet you could fill all those public employee jobs in a heartbeat with new folks at lower compensation and WAY lower retirement packages.

        Now is the time to do it, when we have high unemployment.  I’d kill to get the benefit package that most public employees have—virtually free healthcare and a defined benefit plan.  Who has that in the private sector?

        Ask a contractor how difficult it is to get a project moving with the terminally slow “process” at City Hall.  They keep jerking you around…because they can, and you have no real relief.  They “process” you to death, and take their damned slow time doing it, too.

        • …..these are such sad times.  What has this come to?  The classic “haves” vs. the “have nots”. Instead of a press to figure out why business is not working (like outsourcing ALL of our labor over seas and pressing the city of San Jose to be more business friendly), we continue to attack the public employee.  So, what happens after we all hit rock bottom? Who do you go after next? Just saying……

        • “Fine, let them quit and see how much less they’d get in the private sector.”

          Is that the best you can do? Tell somebody to quit? You know they aren’t going to take that advice so why even say something so asinine? I’ve worked in the private sector and I made da-n good money and had great benefits. Go practice law or something.

    • “BTW – high wages = high pension costs which are calculated on highest 3 years annual wages averaged.”

      Actually Blair for the SJPD their retirement is calculated on the highest 12 consecutive months worked during their career.  The CalPers model uses the last three consecutive years averaged.  Also, keep in mind that when you see these figures they are usually reflecting the city employees final year inclusive of their sick leave, vacation, and compensatory time buyout.  When many city employees leave the city has to pay them for hours accumulated that are still on the books. Hence the large sums.

      It is easy to forget that those hours are obtained by not calling in sick, not taking a vacation day off, or by working overtime.  Somehow people seem to think this is a freebie or hours handed out gratis by the good will of the city.  This is not that case as each hour of vacation or sick time not used means that city employee was at work doing their job instead of taking the time off.  Compensatory hours accumulated are acquired by a city employee working overtime in order to meet the demands of their assignment.

      I’m always amazed that some people think this is a scam or some kind of benefit.  Trust me when I say that there are many city employees who would just as soon spend more time with their families or their friends than work overtime. There are many city employees who have a strong work ethic and try not to call in sick needlessly thereby accumulating large sick time balances as they are dedicated workers.  Many city employees cannot use their accrued vacation time due to their heavy work load and I know several who actually lose vacation hours as they cannot roll over what is on the books at the end of the year.

      Another thing to keep in mind is that the City of San Jose agreed to a sick leave buyout for employees based upon the conditions years ago when the city mirrored private industry with the “use it or lose it” method for sick time.  I think anybody in private industry has seen this policy in effect.  If you are given X amount of sick hours during a year and you cannot accumulate additional hours most people find a way to use up whatever is on the books rather than give it back.  The city was no different years ago.  However, particularly in public safety staffing issues became so critical that the city needed to do something about maintaining minimum staffing levels each day.  As a result, the current method of allowing public safety employees to accrue sick time to be paid off later encouraged employees not to call in sick rather than lose that time each year. Fewer employees called in sick each shift knowing that their sick time was going to be rolled over.  This helped the city out since they did not have to hire more employees to cover shifts left vacant through people off for sick time, vacation, training, etc.

      The city has nobody to blame but themselves on that score.  And, if they go back to the old method commonly used in private industry, people will call in sick rather than give back the time just like their private industry counterparts.  Hell, city employees are already calling in sick now because staffing is so bad they can’t get a day off even when requesting it months in advance.  I think many city employees could care less which method the city chooses to use.  If the city decides that any sick or vacation time is erased at the end of the year city employees will just make sure they use it up during the year.  The city will have to grant them time off as it would be illegal to preclude them from using earned time off.  Staffing will be far worse than it would be otherwise but that is the trade off.

      As for overtime, the city is already trying to significantly curb overtime now.  Most employees don’t care if overtime is reduced, it just allows them to go home on time for a change.  Having a compensatory time balance is nice but having a normal schedule is also great for the home life.  The problem is the city is trying to do both.  They want to take away the sick, vacation, and compensatory time buyout but not maintain or increase staffing to cover the absences caused by the reversion to old policies.

      • “Compensatory hours accumulated are acquired by a city employee working overtime in order to meet the demands of their assignment.”

        If they wroked smarter and didn’t spend so much time dickin’ around, they wouldn’t need to work OT.  The public employee work rules negotiated by the various unions mean they waste a lot of time.  Their slow pace would not be tolerated in the real (private sector) world.

        I watched a young man the other day picking up trash in St. James Park.  If he moved any slower, he’d go back in time.  The work rules probably give him all day to pick up the trash in the park.  A private sector employee would have an hour to get the same job done, and then move on to another park.

        • “If they wroked smarter and didn’t spend so much time dickin’ around, they wouldn’t need to work OT.  The public employee work rules negotiated by the various unions mean they waste a lot of time.  Their slow pace would not be tolerated in the real (private sector) world.”

          Really, so the detectives who have case after case dropped on their desk on a daily basis should just work faster right?  Your mother or daughter who is the victim of a sexual assault should just have a quick perfunctory investigation done on their attack so the detective can move on to the next case.  If they call a witness who can’t meet for another week, toss that case in the trash and find another one to work on.  If the traumatized victim isn’t willing to drop everything and jump through hoops the detective should jettison that victim for one that might have a thicker skin despite the horrendous attach they have suffered.  Just work faster and close cases. 

          As for working conditions, most unions have little say on the day to day work environment of city employees.  The unions sign agreements, emphasis on agreements, with the city as to hours, seniority, pay, benefits, etc.  The unions don’t get to tell each department what a job description is nor do they get to determine what the evaluation criteria is for workplace performance evaluations.

  7. > . . . recently retired police chief Rob Davis topped the list at $534,576 in total cash compensation.

    Wow!  I guesss this explains why Oakland Chief of Police Anthony Batts was tempted to leave Oakland and take the San Jose job.

    For $534,576, Batts could probably bring the entire Oakland Police Department with him.

  8. 120k in gross earnings and 43k in retirement contributions. Yeah, I am living it up with a huge salary that is undeserved and a pension that is unsustainable. (can you hear my sarcasm??)

        • Officer X,
            Have YOU forgotten that those fat salaries, cushy benefits and 90% retirements at age 50 are paid for by San Jose taxpayers, whose median household income is around $75k? And that’s typically with TWO wage earners in the household!
            Many of these taxpayers have also been laid off, had their salaries cut and benefits reduced…yet you expect them to pay Officer Z’s $120K salary with it’s $34k in annual benefits contribution?
            Good luck selling that!

        • I applaud your statement and agree wholeheartedly. I am done. I am not giving up a cent. I am tired of this game. If they want decent work, they are going to have to pay for it and that is that. And, no, I am NOT quitting as some citizens will suggest. I earned my position and I have been a darn good employee. I will quit when I am ready, so get use to it. You want good service, you pay for it.

        • So what you are basically saying Hymer is that since people in the private sector have it bad, then public sector workers should suffer also? Isn’t that kind of a socialistic philosophy there?  When there is wealth we should redistribute that wealth from the have’s to the have nots.  Then when there is poverty or the tables flip flop, apparently we are supposed to redistribute that also.  Are you going to follow this philosophy when times are good again?  I certainly hope when the economy bounces back that you will take some of your stock options, your pay raises, and your benefits and come over to the public sector and share.

          Isn’t it interesting that 5-7 years ago nobody in the private sector was using terms like “fat salaries and cushy benefits” when it came to describing public sector compensation.  In fact, I remember the looks of disdain from people in the private sector when I told them how much I made.  When I described my retirement benefits I would hear “not bad but considering my annual salary is double yours, I can afford to put away just as much for my retirement too.”  In 5-7 more years public sector salaries will have dropped off the front burner and private sector employees will once again cast looks of pity on public sector workers.  You private sector people of a serious case of ADD.

        • Hymer Wizen:

          Have you forgotten, this is not Oklahoma City, OK or Modesto for that matter?! That said, you had your say with V&W. Now, if your advocates on the council have their way, you’ll see 100+ officers layed off in July and wait an hour when you can 911. And when a Norteno or Sureno challenges your manhood, prowls your home, or you need police because you can’t handle a problem…GOOD LUCK. Via con dios mano, via con dios.

        • Actually I survive, but living within my means. Unlike the City. I do not give out free money to my friends. I do not have a personal piggy bank funded by tax payers and most importantly, if I am unable to pay my bill I do not blame other people.
          I actually enjoy my job. I am grateful to have a job. I am full of pride on how well I perform for the citizens of San Jose. I am not however anyones door mat, nor will I allow myself to be treated as such.
          You want top notch policing services? You want me to come within a reasonable time. You want me to be professional with making you feel good. You want personal attention to crimes that affect you or your family, then guess what, you are gonna pay for it. Similar to how you pay more for Filet Mignon and a good bottle of wine.
          If you want crappy police service, then the citizens as a whole need to get used to eating Quarter pounders and drinking flat coke.
          I am tired of the political rhetoric on why everything that is wrong with our city fiscally is the fault of it’s workers.
          I will not vote for further concessions. I will not give up a dime. I earn every bit of what I get paid and I will fight for it, for my family.
          The citizens as a whole do not have to like it, nor do they have to like me. I am used to being cussed out and spit on, but I will not open my wallet for you.

        • Umm… not all of it is paid by the taxpayer… over 20% of a police officer’s check is paid into retirement… the officer doesn’t see it until he or she retires. 

          And as for the 90% payout, there are actually VERY few payouts at that rate (only like four in the last few years).

          And as for them retiring at age 50 or 55… when I call the police I surely don’t want the “old guy” coming to my rescue… send me the young, strong officer and let the old ones go to YOUR rescue!

    • > (can you hear my sarcasm??)

      Officer Z:

      Just tell your f***ing union that you want to reduce your retirement contributions and have more spending money in your paycheck.

      Can you hear MY sarcasm?

      • You are a angry and pathetic person. Tell ya what, solve your own problems and never call 911. Intervene when you observe and police officer doing their job and make the city a safer place. Then, if you survive, go to city hall and see if Reed will gave ya back your tax dollars dedicated to police services. For that matter, fire too. I’m sure all you’ll need is a fire extinguisher right? You are classically angry simpleton. Enjoy yourself. Happy Valentine’s Day =D

  9. Speaking of “unsustainable” pensions, is anybody paying attention to the state of the Social Security System? Once we’re done abusing the public employee unions, we get to do the same to ourselves!

  10. Bronco Bum-

    Wow. Does using foul language make you feel better? I will tell my union to tell the city to take any offer of further concessions and place it where they sit.

    How is that? No sarcasm there. That was plain talk for you.

    • > I will tell my union to tell the city to take any offer of further concessions and place it where they sit.

      > How is that? No sarcasm there. That was plain talk for you.

      You’re fantasizing that you have some awesome power over the people of San Jose and their government. 

      The technical term for this is “psychosis”.  It basically means “detached from reality.”

      We here in America don’t like police states run by psychotics.

  11. Honestly, can we not put this position out to bid for 150K annually? 

    In these difficult times…how often do we read about thousands of applicants for a single job?  My guess is hundreds of qualified applicants for 150K per year.

  12. Does anyone have hard facts backed up by reliable information – Are government employees overpaid or not based on total compensation ?

    There are many large differences between private vs government employee compensation that have been ignored by those on San Jose Inside talking about city employee compensations

    1) Management employees in private industry typically managers and above do not earn overtime or compensation time since it is part of their compensation and put in 55-60 or more hours per week with no additional pay or additional time off for overtime

    San Jose and most government managers and above are paid overtime or given compensation pay or time off which significantly increases mangers total compensation especially in jobs over $100,000 and also significantly increased pensions costs

    Comparing private company management without overtime vs government management pay with overtime without adjusting for paid overtime results in bad comparisons and possible overpayment of government managers

    2) Private industry has mostly changed personal time because of problems with seperate vacation and sick leave abuse

    No one will argue about giving sick people time off

    Using sick leave as personal time off or vacations time is both wrong, illegal and increases employee ( overtime ) and pensions costs since other employees have to do work for sick time abusers and overtime is commonly paid to do work for sick leave abusers  

    It is also unfair to employees only using sick time when they are sick that the sick time abusers get additional time off

    Sick time abuse is very common in both companies and government and vacation and sick time should be merged into personal time off

    3) Private companies have significantly less holidays than government employees especially California government employees who have more that federal employees and many other states

    4) Many governments do not use total compensation to do valid comparisons or like San Jose do not make available total compensation so valid comparisons can be made for both other governments and private companies

    It look like went Comparing total compensation – California governments pay more than most private employers when looking at typical employees not the often used example of very few who hit the stock option jackpot vs those who are granted stock options and either never collect or collect little

    If you are going to comparing high risk stock options tech employees many have long periods of unemployment between jobs and in high tech after 50 years old many are unemployed, unemployed for months / year for years or underemployed having taken lower paid regular jobs working without benefits or pensions

    5) Some governments like SaNJose require employees to contribute very large amounts 20 + or more % of their salary to benefits and retirements which needs to be adjusted to get valid total compensation comparisons

    Will someone clear up doubts and have San Jose and other governments publish private / public employee total compensation comparisons using US Government Labor information to show everyone.

    IS IT TRUE OR NOT that government employees are excessively paid compared to private employees – like many in public believe relying on partial or little information not whole picture

    IF not it will become a increasing nasty political fight and public will vote down most taxes increases if they continue to belief new taxes will go to pay overpaid government employees

    • 1. Check out the study that UC Berkely released regarding public employee compensation. Here’s an article on the subject: Mayor Reed et. al. are very quick to cite studies which conveniently support their positions and equally quick to disregard relevant scholarly work on the subject.

      2. Last year, I got denied a day off to celebrate my daughter’s birthday, my birthday and half of the vacation time I bid for. Some of that got approved a few weeks before the arrival of the days off I requested, but who can plan a decent vacation in two weeks time when plane tickets have to be purchased and custodial issues must be resolved. I honestly don’t care about the ‘ethical issues’ surrounding my decision. All I know is that I am going to take time off to celebrate my daughter’s fifth birthday in whatever way I can. BTW, this is largely a result of having too few officers. If we were appropriately staffed (and here, even Pete constant got it right: we are 500 officers short, realistically), vacation approval wouldn’t be an issue and neither would ‘sick time abuse’. In the private sector, taking PTO isn’t the issue that it is in public safety.

      3. I don’t know what you mean about ‘significantly fewer holidays. I worked Christmas and New Years, as I’ve done most years I’ve been an officer. Where have you been on those days? I get 3 weeks paid vacation off. This seems pretty close to how it is in the private sector, too.

      4. Again, refer to the UC Berkeley study.

      5. Again, refer to the UC Berkeley study.

  13. By the way, here is a link to the study,

    as well as a summary of the key findings:

    “The key findings of their report, which is available online, include:

      * California’s state and local government employees are paid 7 percent less than their private sector counterparts, but when benefits are included, total compensation between the two sectors is similar.
      * Public sector workers, on average, are more educated: Of full-time workers in California, 55 percent hold at least a four-year college degree in the public sector, compared to 35 percent in the private sector.
      * Private sector workers earn 70 percent of their total compensation in wages and 30 percent in benefits such as vacation, retirement benefits and health insurance, while public sector employees’ corresponding percentages are 64.3 and 35.7.
      * State and local government workers are more experienced: The median age of state and local government workers is 44, compared to 40 in the private sector.
      * Public sector workers in California average more hours on the job each year than private sector employees.
      * Retirement benefits account for 8.2 percent of public employee compensation and 3.6 percent of private sector compensation, while public workers earn considerably less supplemental pay and vacation time, and their employers contribute much less to legally-mandated benefits.”

    From the UC Berkeley News Center:

    • You cannot find any private sector jobs that pay everyone in a company a 90% retirement package for only 25 years of service. You would be hard pressed to find any even at 50%. The last place I would want I received information is from Berkley. Anyone can create a study to illustrate whatever their position is. Lets get real.

      Property values are down by 35%-40% on average which lowers the revenue the cities have to operate. This trend is not going to change for a long time and there is only so much money the cities have to spend.

      So while all the workers want to get mad at management and regular citizens because the are jealous, envious, disgusted, or what ever, the reality is there is not enough money to continue with the current plan. Cuts will have to be made and people on all sides will suffer. It is not fun and it does change peoples lives but the process would be much better for everyone if all public employees would step up to the plate and help out rather than continue to bathe in that huge river known as D’NILE.

      • Yes, the article in the report states that when you take the time to compare the complexities of public and private sector jobs, they basically come out about even. You can focus on all the salaries of any public or private sector top end administrator and say “OMG!” but it’s still all comparable in the end. The issue is that the people mounting the attacks against public sector employees are those representing the private sector! It’s a conflict of interest and that’s why the facts aren’t properly presented. Top golfers have nest eggs topping $62 Million, and that’s OK. I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be a consideration of adjustment here, but we need to look at the facts properly first. And we shouldn’t lump in police with the rest of the public sector employees who do not share in anywhere near the same risk and sacrifice (loss of life expectancy, working nights, holidays, weekends, health problems associated with their work, high suicide/divorce rates, violent attacks against them, etc).

  14. is coming back and the private sector will move up once again. Private sector will be making all of their money, AGAIN, and the public sector will be on the bottom, AGAIN, trying to scrape their way to a decent living. It costs a LOT to live in this valley. How are they going to make it? So many are going to lose their homes when these next cuts are made. I hope everyone who is a part of making those decisions have nightmares for the rest of their lives. This is the thanks the employees get for living in this valley and wanting to work in the public sector. Private sector will once again be looking their noses down at us, as we sit there picking ours. What a shame.

  15. The writer should have noted that compensation for the 15 highest paid (of which 13 were retired) was mostly payments for unused leave—not base salary. 

    When I read the article, I thought ‘Wow, a salary of $500,000!’  But, the top paid person actually had a salary of $182,000.  That’s a big difference.  Apparently, the fellow never took off from work—and most of the difference is due to cashing out excess leave.  That changes things.

    The highest base pay was $238k, for running the city. 

    Now, I care more about not hurting the middle class workers (in the city gov) than giving the top brass more.  But, still, lets be clear about what we are discussing.  The sloppy analysis seems designed to create a reaction.  When people compare themselves to this list, they won’t be including the cost of their employer paid health care, SS taxes, pension/401k, ect…  Those costs typically add over 30% of pay. 

    I’ve noticed such sloppy work has been everywhere now that the right has a war on workers. (Sure, today its public workers.  Before, and next time, it’ll be back to the private workers.  These guys just love to inflict pain.)

    • You are missing the point!!
      With the recent retirement of the Police and Fire Chiefs the City just paid out a million dollars for two employees who are both relatively young. It is very likely they will both go out and obtain another job while still earning their 200K+ retirement payments as well as full medical benefits.
      An example is the previous Fire Chief before Von Raesfeld retired out as a BC with a compensation package near 200k per year plus benefits. His retirement ended up being a disability retirement which affords him with some tax free benefits on his retirement pay which means he is not paying back into the system that he just earned his retirement from. He very quickly was hired as the chief for the Milpitas Fire Department. I am not entirely sure, however, I think his new compensation at least for a while was in the $30,000 per month range. I believe he was hired as a temporary Chief.
      As I read the above comments I find it very disturbing to read the comments that appear to be from our public servants which threaten and try to intimidate the conversations. The reality is that the system is broken and must be fixed. Unfortunately since it is the employees who are responsible for the largest part of any budget, even in the private sector, it is the employees who must take the largest hit.
      In the private sector sick leave benefits are not used as additional vacation or extra time off. If you do not use it you will loose it every year. Most employees do not abuse this system and they do not receive any large payouts when they retire. This seems to only be happening in the public sector. It appears the employees have done a good job convincing the decisions makers and politicians that it is better to have the person come in and work his job rather than taking sick leave. This decision was very flawed. You should only get sick leave if you are actually sick. If a person abuses this in the private sector they will likely find themselves on the unemployment line. Not driving a new luxury car or on a trip around the world. 
      As far as ways to curtail the out of control budget, my preference would be to minimize the staffing positions for the police and keep the beat officers in tact. They are the ones we really need to be there for all of us. As for the Fire Department, much of the same but there were some comments above that make some sense. Bottom line is that the Unions are going to ultimately have to make some serious concessions and the city is going to have to make some very tough decisions. Unfortunately for all of us the budget crisis that most cities find themselves in will likely cause the unemployment rate to rise significantly. The Cities are just now beginning to feel what the private sector began feeling back in 2008.

      • “With the recent retirement of the Police and Fire Chiefs the City just paid out a million dollars for two employees who are both relatively young. It is very likely they will both go out and obtain another job while still earning their 200K+ retirement payments as well as full medical benefits.”

        Can you explain to me how this is any different than a person in the private sector rising through the ranks at their company, receiving stock options and bonuses, and then leaving for another opportunity at another company taking buyouts, stocks, and golden parachutes with them?  I have several friends who actually have many hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and stock that they acquired working for various start up and large-scale companies as they hop scotched across the Silicon Valley board.  If you rise to the top of the heap in any industry you will undoubtedly benefit from your scrabble to the pinnacle.  I even know some mid-level managers that took advantage of the stock market at just the right time who are completely financially solvent even in these hard times despite moving from company to company.

        “I find it very disturbing to read the comments that appear to be from our public servants which threaten and try to intimidate the conversations. The reality is that the system is broken and must be fixed.”

        I find it very disturbing that you have swallowed Chuck Reed’s propaganda hook, line, and sinker.  If the City of San Jose had been fiscally responsible, the pension situation would be a non-issue.  The system isn’t broken but it does need tweaking.  And, part of that tweaking is that the city needs to manage their money better and not rob Peter to pay Paul.  Had the city continued their contributions into the retirement system even when it was 100% funded at the time there would not be this problem.  Like any of us who are responsible for our own finances we all recognize rainy days come.  The city however, diverted pension money into pet projects designed to make politicians look good and hence our catastrophe now.  Vilifying city employees and their benefits is a red herring and you are foolishly buying it.

        “In the private sector sick leave benefits are not used as additional vacation or extra time off. If you do not use it you will loose it every year. Most employees do not abuse this system and they do not receive any large payouts when they retire.”

        Maybe in your fantasy world this exists but not in real life.  I live with a private sector worker for a major Silicon Valley company.  My friends work in the private sector in similar jobs.  I know hundreds of private sector workers as well and I do side work with many of these companies.  Every one of them functioning in the use it or lose it sick leave system uses it before it goes away.  And, I don’t know a single person who has been investigated by their company for falsely calling in sick.  My spouse’s company used to do the Personal Time Off method and canned it realizing it just encouraged people to take more time off since they combined sick with vacation time.  Now if you are sick, you call in sick, period and it is separate from vacation time.  And, everybody I know burns all available time before it expires without recrimination from their employers.

        As for the sick leave payouts, what part of the equation where the city came to the unions and asked for it don’t you understand?  While the city employees have found it beneficial, I am certain that those same city employees understand that future employees may not be hired under the same conditions.  Provided the city does not change the contract they have signed with existing employees, I do think the city should make changes to the sick leave system.  However, the conditions that pushed the city into offering the buyouts to begin with are coming back with a vengeance.  Sick leave buyouts were instituted by the city in lieu of hiring more employees.  Now with staffing cuts and a change to the sick leave buyout, you San Jose residents are really going to take a hit.  Your service levels are going to drop by half at minimum.

        As for union concessions, I suspect you will not see that happen.  The city administration has been reckless and irresponsible with managing their money.  Now the city employee is supposed to bail them out of their predicament?  I don’t see it happening.  Any concessions for public safety might be delivered by an arbitrator but will not given up willingly.  This might have been different had the city administration established a cohesive team atmosphere decades ago with their employees.  This has not been the case and the relationship between the managers and workers has been adversarial for many years.  It did not have to be that way and other cities do work together to face challenges united.  This won’t happen in San Jose and I guarantee Chuck Reed has put the nails in the coffin for any cooperation between the public safety members and the city council.  He is despised by every single cop and fire fighter in the city and justifiably so.

        • Thank you for articulating so clearly what so many cops and firefighters – my friends and peers – feel in the workplace. We’ve had it up to here with the three D’s so freely distributed from the hallowed halls on Santa Clara St.: Disparagement, Disdain, and Deception.

          I just did the math, and I’d like to add up for the readers exactly how much the PD has given back over the last couple years: approximately 10% in wage/benefit concession = $23 million savings/year ($18,500 x 1260 officers), attrition of approximately 150 officers (1410 to 1260) = $27.75 million. Meanwhile, in my tenure, about 100,000 citizens have been added as residents of San Jose with ten’s of thousands of housing units approved for additional construction. And, the icing on the cake is that City Hall now tells us that, even with an additional 10% concessions from every bargaining organization ($16,650/officer x 1260 officers = $21 million) they may lay off anywhere from 237 to 349 officers, which would save the city anywhere from $43.85 million to $64.56 million. I’m not even taking into account the concessions or layoffs that the fire department might suffer. And, keep in mind, the total anticipated budget shortfall is $110 million for FY 2011/2012. To me, this sounds like City Hall is trying to balance its budget on the backs of public safety. To me, this math adds up to more work for less income and being treated like crap by City Hall, a la the aforementioned three D’s.

        • The sad part Officer D is that the city somehow thinks that announcing potential layoffs is supposed to scare public safety and other city employees into taking pay cuts.  At first they said if concessions were made there would be no layoffs.  At least now they are being honest and admitting they will lay off anyway.

          As much as it pains city employees to watch their more recent employees get a pink slip, they should tell the city administration to pound salt on any wage concessions.  Who really suffers the most from the city administration having their priorities fouled up?  It is the citizen who will see reduced services, particularly in public safety.  Go ahead Chuckles, lay off 300 police officers.  Watch your city turn into East Palo Alto or Richmond.  That will ultimately be your legacy.

          If Chuck Reed and his minions think that the best course of action for the people they serve is to view all city services on a somewhat equal value and cut them across the board, so be it.  The citizens of San Jose elected him, they support his decisions, so they should feel the impact of their ballot choices.

        • Well written. It’s crucial that officer unions educate their membership as well as their communities with the facts surrounding this attack on police pensions. Sorry, but I do separate police from the pack, because you really can’t at all compare the job and sacrifice of a police officer to any other public sector position. For starters, what other profession do you give up 16 years of your life expectancy, and how much would you want to be paid to compensate the loss of all of those years? That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Again, we need to start with our own membership, because officers don’t understand the facts to be able to counter these attacks. The facts shown in the UC Berkeley article referenced above was displayed in a recent PORAC magazine article. Read these articles! Even retired officers and firefighters are weighing in on the “changes” that need to occur with the “pension crisis.” It’s easy to criticize when you’re already receiving those benefits. How many of these folks are voluntarily paying back a portion of their lavish retirements to help fix the system? I’d predict about 0%. Let’s start with the real facts, and then come up with a game plan.

      • I don’t think I’m missing the point.  I’m pointing out what the chart says, accurately. 

        Base pay is base pay.  A payout at retirement is not base pay.  It’s quite simple.  To conflate the two, in order to make a case, is unfair.

        Those large salaries were paid to people who typically made far less each year they worked (and didn’t retire).  So, a one-time event should not be made to sound like an annual event.  It matters a whole lot, when accounting for the cost—even if it does not in helping to determine your views.

  16. “most of the taxpaying SJ residents don’t approve of additional housing. “

    San Jose’s Council always approves more housing since 5 most politically powerful groups support more low income housing and high rises to get federal taxes for public transit for San Jose, the

    “Housing Capital of Silicon Valley” :

    1) Labor – for low income housing, high rise tower and public transit jobs plus developer contributions to labor’s pro housing and transit Council members and candidates political contributions

    2) Chamber – most controled by developers,lobbyists and companies making large profits from more housing development

    3) Silicon Valley Leadership Group – wants more housing for workers and worked to pass BART and High Speed Rail to cut worker long commutes from East Bay and up 101

    Other cities turn down housing while San Jose builds more low income and high rise housing Heavy campaign contributions to pro housing and public transit Mayor and Council candidates

    4) Downtown Association – supports more downtown high rise housing for new customers

    5) Mercury News – always supports more low income and high rise housing and endorses pro housing candidates

    All 5 political groups working together with ex city Council and city staff lobbyists to political pressure Council in closed door meeting and public to vote for more housing and transit developments not less even if budget deficits grow larger and services decline more


    – NONE because they – Can NOT Get Elected !!!!!!!


    Other job rich cities get more jobs and better city services while San Jose “Housing Capital of Silicon Valley”  will approve more housing and less city services


  17. Officer D:

    A quick look at your UC Berkeley study


    ” A standard wage equation produced a surprising result: full-time state and local employees are under-paid by about 7% compared to their private sector counterparts.


    ” Public employers contribute on average 35.7% of employee compensation expenses to benefits, whereas
    private employers devote 30% of compensation to benefits “

    “Public employers provide better health insurance
    and pension benefits. Public employers contribute 11.8% to insurance, mainly health insurance,
    compared to a 7.7% contribution by private employers.

    Retirement benefits also account for a substantially
    greater share of public employee compensation, 8.2% compared to 3.6% in the private sector. Most
    public employees also continue to participate in defined benefit plans managed by the state, while most private sector employers have switched to defined contribution plans, particularly 401(k) plans. “

    Sometime is really wrong that San Jose will be paying 35% of individual pay in retirement costs going to over 50% of individual pay in 1-2 years

    “On the other hand, public employees receive considerably less supplemental pay and vacation time, and public employers contribute significantly less to legally-mandated benefits. “

    This report is from a very pro labor research organization that admitting said ” NO SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE IN TOTAL COMPENSATION BETWEEN FULL-TIME STATE AND LOCAL EMPLOYEES AND PRIVATE-SECTOR EMPLOYEES.” that looks across California where many cities pay less than San Jose.

    San Jose City employees who have a very rich pay, benefits, pension plans sick leave payouts, 3% automatic pension increases package than many other California cities

    ” While overall paid leave costs are similar, private sector employees receive more vacation pay while public employees receive greater sick leave compensation (not shown). 

    San Jose pays out millions in sick leave payouts WHICH IS NOT COUNTED IN THIS STUDY

    It would be very interesting to see a more balance and complete comparison study but knowledgable researchers

    The study is

    1) at best an incomplete study that said public vs private total compensation is equal but left out some public compensation costs and only looked at all California public employees
    2) at worst a biased study that when saw facts edited results left out compensation to say public = private compensation

    San Jose’s very rich city employee compensation package was put in place by Labor controlled Council and bloated City administration who also benefited from excessive compensation so any comparisons should look at San Jose excessive total compensation vs private industry as well as city’s ability to pay after providing basic city services

  18. It is very easy to look at this list and be angry; angry at a Chief of Police who took home over half a million last year or other highly paid bureaucrats on the list.

    There are also lots of grunts on this list; those that if this same list came out at the height of the bubble we never would have looked at twice.

    It seems we are on a race for the bottom. Those that no longer have or don’t have as much, are angry at those who they think have something better. I am not necessarily even talking about government versus private jobs. The global market has drained our country of good jobs. I understand American companies wanting to have a better bottom line, but how do we fairly compete against countries that turn an eye to virtual slave labor? Is that what we want here, because if we ultimately level the playing field that is what we will get.

    While city workers are an easy target, and Oliverio and Reed have demonized them, we are in a sense cutting our own throats everytime we take something away from someone we think has it better than us. It doesn’t improve your own lot; it will eventually come full circle to your income and way of life.

    • Frank you are absolutely correct that years ago this was a non-issue for most people.  However, it was a huge issue for city workers.  Typically city workers lag several years behind the private sector.  This means as business booms and private sector employees begin to reap the benefits of a strong economy, city workers have to start lobbying hard to keep up.  The various unions go to the city and ask for better pay and benefits in order to maintain some semblance of parity with the private sector. 

      San Jose traditionally fought this tooth and nail hoping to save money for pet projects that generate votes.  It isn’t glamorous to go to your constituency and tell them you just gave city workers a raise just like they got.  It is much more popular to build a new park, open up a new library, institute a new social program, or add some new service.

      So, city workers incrementally negotiate better pay and benefits year by year hoping to catch up to their private sector counterparts.  Generally city workers never do reach the same level of pay, but the retirement benefits have usually been better so there is a trade off.  During the last boom no matter how much more the unions were able to wring from the city who went kicking and screaming, private sector perks were just far too good for public service to be competitive with private employment.  Fortunately many public servants do have some level of philosophical dedication to their careers instead of just chasing the money.

      Now the economy has taken a steep down turn.  Like the situation when the economy leapt up, city employment lags behind.  All those hard earned increases that were negotiated within legally binding contracts, still behind the private sector, suddenly look extravagant to the laid off factory worker, Silicon Valley engineer, programmer, or manager who is on unemployment, or any private sector employee who rose so high but has fallen so far.  Now we hear terms like “unsustainable”, “greedy pigs”, “gravy train”, and other derogatory terms to describe the pay and benefits city workers took so long to receive. 

      Apparently all the private sector folks want city workers to lag behind them when pay and benefits are on the rise but God forbid public employees should experience the same lag in a decline in pay and benefits when the economy tanks.  Private sector employees in a spat of coveting want their public servants to free fall along with them. 

      Can’t anyone see that in the long term this is just unequal treatment?  How is any city or agency supposed to attract good candidates when their career will always be miles behind the private sector?  Where is the impetus for someone to go into public service if the private sector demands that they will always be second class workers with limited earning, restricted benefits based upon private sector envy?  If there is nothing to counter-balance the unlimited earning potential of a private sector career, why work for a city at all?

      Sure, someone will say now that the city job is over paid with excessive benefits.  Those same people though who right now would jump at the chance for a city job will also be the first to leave once the economy surges upward and private employment again becomes far more lucrative than public service.  Essentially what some of you private sector people are saying is that public employees should be like lower caste servants.  Second class citizens forever limited in earning potential, too stupid to do anything else,  locked into a long-term employment that should be bound by rules designed to make sure that private sector employees are always a step ahead.  Somewhat of a non-competitive clause that guarantees public service to be the refuge of the unmotivated uneducated unambitious worker who can’t make it in the competitive private world.

      And some of you wonder why public safety employees and other city workers are mad, indignant, and unwilling to immediately sacrifice their pay and benefits?  Why should any city worker give up anything that they obtained via legal binding negotiations with the city when they won’t get it back for years to come?  When the economy recovers you won’t see the city willingly follow the private sector in treating their workers better.  Private sector citizens will quickly forget all about this period in our history and will have little interest or sympathy for any city worker.  Public service working conditions certainly won’t be the topic of conversation on this forum, in the mainstream media, in social circles, or any other venue. The cycle will start all over again and city workers will spend years playing catch up.

  19. This list is incomplete…
    Other than Mr. Mavrogenes, who is listed under the City Manager’s Department – there are no listings for any of the Redevelopment Agency’s employees!  I realize that most of them are all independent contractors, and not officially City employees, but we did pay them, didn’t we?
    Where did they all go?  Did the RDA shut down without anyone even noticing?

    • Good question Mona. 

      Look behind the Smoke and Mirrors of the City Administrators magic act.  Sounds just like another Team San Jose kind of thing, your not supposed to ask questions about that stuff or the Mayor will have you marked for “Termination” by his Goon Squad.

  20. First the City wanted a 10% total compensation (TC) concession *or* there would be massive (around 200) layoffs.  That implies that if the Unions agreed to a 10% TC concession there would be NO layoffs.  Now they are saying they are looking at 350 layoffs, and that even with a 10% TC concession there will still be layoffs.  Well… why would anyone agree to a 10% reduction AND layoffs?  It’s like getting sued, and the other side offering you a settlement, which, if you agree to, you’ll still get sued. Dumb. 

    These people are INSANE.  It’s almost as if they’ve never lived paycheck-to-paycheck and had to make hard choices.  Of course I WANT everything… I’d love to get the new car, keep the maid, eat filet mignon & lobster tails, still go on the cruise, and take the kids to Disneyland.  But hmmm… I’m having a hard time paying my mortgage this month… oh, to hell with it, I don’t need to cut out those other things. I’ll just ask my bank to give me a 10% reduction on what I owe them, and then I’ll skip this payment anyway.  Good luck coming after me while I’m on that cruise…..

  21. If the City wants to roll public services back to mid-1980’s levels, shouldn’t they roll back the population as well?  The City should evict the most recent 300,000 residents (it should be seniority based, right? not what skills and tax base you bring to the table?) and kick them out of the City.

  22. City employees need to get real and admit that city’s retirement and benefits are part of city budget deficit  

    Voters expect labor to propose non tax increase solutions solutions as well as help public understand the other causes of city budget deficit or will eventually politically revolt and propose drastic solutions like Wisconsin and elimination of collective bargaining rights for many state workers

    Wisconsin Democrats AWOL for heated vote

    “Ohio is next, voting soon on an equally dramatic limit on public employee rights. Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New Mexico are among the other states considering narrower changes in the government workforce.”

    “Key changes:

    •Pensions. Wisconsin would require workers to pay half the retirement system’s cost — 5.8% of pay — up from none for most workers now. Ohio would forbid cities and schools from paying the employee’s share of the pension, a common contract deal.

    •Health care. Wisconsin wants workers to pay at least 12.5% of health care costs. Ohio wants the minimum share to be 20%. Unions have won lower contribution levels in contracts.

    •Union power. Wisconsin and Ohio would limit unions’ say on hiring, firing, assignments and other work rules.

    For example, Ohio would end the practice of layoffs based only on seniority, letting merit and other factors play a role” 

    If not Mayor, Council and Mercury News will very effectively continue to unfairly blame and demonize city employees for all of city’s budget deficits

    1) Former Gov Gray Davis negotated a sweethaert deal with California Correction Officers Association in return for political support and contributions which public and voters sees as legalized corruption or political contributions for higher pay and pensions

    Voters recalled Davis but California Correction Officers Association political sweetheart deal was left in place which is part of cause of Califronia deficit

    Now California prisons have 10% of US prisoners and 12% of US population so 3 strikes or number of prisons is not problem but the excessive prison cost of $10 bilion year

    California spend 11% of state General fund or $4 billion over average 7.2 % of all US states General fund or 25% of California budget deficit

    2) San Jose Council politically controlled by labor unions raised their pay and pension to match Gov Davis’st California Correction Officers Association political sweetheart causing some but not as Mayor and certain Council members would like public to believe all of San Jose budget crisis

    3) Council voted to politically spend 100’s millions on:

    a) political sweetheart contracts / deals,
    b) excessive public building construction for union construction jobs without General Fund revenues to pay for upkeep and staff,
    c) 100’s millions in tax subsidies to non city organizations mostly political insiders or campaign contributors – housing developers, community organizations, corporations, downtown hotels, sports teams and downtown property owners,
    d) bloated overpaid city administration
    e) too few jobs with too much housing tax revenue imbalance resulting in very low city tax revenue per resident

    are causes of San Jose budget deficit

    City employees and their unions need to quickly and effectively communicate all of San Jose budget deficit causes and propose real not push problems into future ( pension bonds, layoff younger lower cost employees, cut already low public safety ) solutions that include significant pay and pension reforms or San Jose will see increasing nastier political battles, more layoffs and less services for higher taxes

    California and San Jose Voters clearly indicate they want real solutions not more political battles and higher taxes to pay for deficits excessive spending problems while many families struggle with weak economy and nation’s highest unemployment

  23. What part of we cannot afford to keep paying the pension rates and salary rates do you not understand?

    People (citizens, not just the Mayor and council) do not have any more money to give you.  You’ve bled us dry.

    Its the sad truth.  Bottom line it already and get used to doing the same work for less pay or covering the workload with less people.  Those are your choices.  Have your union vote and get on with it.  I am pretty sick of your whining already.

    • we are “pretty sick” of the likes of you. So YOU get use to a lack of services as you know it. What you citizens are hoping for will ultimately affect you…big time. So get use to it. We are tired of YOUR whining and it WILL get worse once your services are depleted.

      • You mean the type of service that has us waiting over an hour for a publiic disturbance or suspicious vehicle call. By the time you show up it is too late.
        I am one citizen who does not think we should lay off any police officers. At least not the ones that patrol our streets. That said, the service we get is nothing to write home about.
        The fire guys are a different story. Their job has changed from what it was a long time ago. The firefighters need to get real and adapt to the current work load that is 85% first aid calls. In addition fire should bill insurance companies for the medical services rendered. Why the tax layers have to pay for this is beyond me.

        • That is exactly what I mean. Whatever the service is today, will get worse. So, if you waited over an hour…try settling for a little worse than that. Sorry, but that is fact.

  24. Notice that all of the top salaries are for the people as the executive level, whereas the “little people” are losing their homes and struggle to make ends meet. This is a shame and they need to cut the salaries of the people at the top, but they are so afraid of losing them to other agencies that they pay them outrageous salaries when it is the “little people” who work the hardest. Coffee cup carriers do not deserve salaries that large. THAT is what needs to be controlled. Start at the top—but of course they never will.

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