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High paying govt jobs
Old 07-19-2010, 10:29 PM   #1
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High paying govt jobs

It appears there is good money to be made in the small town of Bell, California, pop. 37,000, where the median household income is $40,500.

Annual salaries of city officials:

City Manager - $787,637 + 12% annual raise
Assistant City Manager - $376,288 + 12% annual raise
Police Chief - $475,000
City Council members - $100,000 (a part-time job)

No word on pensions.

Is a city manager worth $800,000? - latimes.com
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Old 07-19-2010, 10:55 PM   #2
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Eh, what's the problem? Is it not democracy at work? The mayor and council members who pay these salaries are all duly elected officials by election, yes? I rest my case.
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:09 PM   #3
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Eh, what's the problem? Is it not democracy at work? The mayor and council members who pay these salaries are all duly elected officials by election, yes? I rest my case.
"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:21 PM   #4
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Your tax dollars at work in the 'hood. So, where are the usual replies about how public sector employees are always underpaid relative to their private sector counterparts? The pundits who decry private sector bonus plans, and rail about egregious executive compensation? Can't wait to hear them try to defend this bit of chicanery...
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Old 07-20-2010, 01:35 AM   #5
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Eh, what's the problem? Is it not democracy at work? The mayor and council members who pay these salaries are all duly elected officials by election, yes? I rest my case.
Their pay levels are so high compared to the market rate that it arouses suspicion of impropriety.
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Old 07-20-2010, 02:38 AM   #6
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Their pay levels are so high compared to the market rate that it arouses suspicion of impropriety.
That's one plausible explanation, although I suspect that if something genuinely underhand were going on, it wouldn't be reflected in the city manager's published salary. Another is that there are always outliers, and journalists like to write about them. Perhaps there's another town where the city manager makes $700,000, but we don't get to hear about it.

In my experience, the people who complain about government workers' remuneration are often the same people who know - and will tell you, endlessly - that if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

Personally, I don't think anyone who's playing with someone else's money - as a banker, CEO, or public servant - is worth $800,000 a year, because I don't think anyone makes the percentage of right decisions which would justify that. But there are tens of thousands of people making way more than that in "allegedly" entrepreneurial activities that actually turn out to be more about manipulating the books than anything else.

I think true entrepreneurship is to be admired and people who take a genuine risk with their own money should be able to make unlimited rewards; but a lot of executive types near the top of Megacorp are basically just parasites on the shareholders and the people who do the actual work. As a shareholder via my portfolio, I'm going to guess (because I can, ha ha) that these parasites cost me an amount of money which is comparable to what any overpaid government employees cost me in taxes.
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Old 07-20-2010, 06:36 AM   #7
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I was being sarcastic. It appears that the excessively high salaries are due to the stipulation in the contracts that these officials get 12% raise each year. Wonderful power of compounding, isn't it?

Ridiculous compensation at publicly traded companies upsets me too. Yes, corporate governance by board of directors is often just a joke. Sigh...
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Old 07-20-2010, 06:41 AM   #8
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The pundits who decry private sector bonus plans, and rail about egregious executive compensation? Can't wait to hear them try to defend this bit of chicanery...
The tone of your comment implies that you see nothing wrong with "egregious " private sector executive salaries but you are dismayed by one goofy town that pays a high salary. A quick Google shows the average government worker earns about $56k. The average Fed about $76K. I didn't vet those carefully so assume the actual amounts may be plus or minus 20%. The President of the US earns $400k. Governors up to a little over $200K. Heads of Federal agencies a little under $200K. So the ratio of government "CEO" pay to average worker salary is somewhere around 5:1 or less. Average US CEO pay to average worker pay has crept up from a measly 24:1 in 1965 to around 300:1 in 2005 - maybe it dropped a few points in the last couple of years although it probably continued to climb?

Those CEOs clearly earned it, didn't they? Them and the investment bankers.
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:45 AM   #9
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The tone of your comment implies that you see nothing wrong with "egregious " private sector executive salaries but you are dismayed by one goofy town that pays a high salary.
If I don't like private sector executive pay, I can choose not to do business with companies that award it. I have no such choice with my tax dollars, which is why I find it more objectionable in the public sector.
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:46 AM   #10
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Executive salaries in either sector are not inline with their worth, IMHO. Obviously, those who set them do not agree with me.
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:52 AM   #11
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It's really amazing that this could happen during a budget crisis in California! Apparently, residents in that city are angry about the high salary scandal.
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:20 AM   #12
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If I don't like private sector executive pay, I can choose not to do business with companies that award it. I have no such choice with my tax dollars, which is why I find it more objectionable in the public sector.
It seems to me that we have more choice about Government. The vote is a powerful tool. When private sector practices get so out of whack that average CEO pay is 300+ times worker pay who do you stop doing business with?
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:46 AM   #13
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One high paying government job that I am aware of is air traffic control. Their pay is based on the traffic level of the airport (Level 1-12) and the location (the pay is adjusted for cost of living in different parts of the country). A controller at Detroit Metro airport can expect to be making over $100,000 as soon as initial training is completed. This can go up over $150,000 within only a small amount of time working at the facility. This is not to mention that ATCers have a 25 year pension or a 20 year pension if you hit 20 years of service and are over the age of 50.

Currently ATC supervisors bring in an even higher salary. A similar situation at Detroit Metro for a first level supervisor (MSS 1) is going to quickly be making in the high 100's to low $200,000's per year. Not bad for a gov job!
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:19 AM   #14
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When private sector practices get so out of whack that average CEO pay is 300+ times worker pay who do you stop doing business with?
Berkshire Hathaway? Warren Buffett's salary is $100,000 a year if I recall correctly...
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This has to stop
Old 07-20-2010, 09:20 AM   #15
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This has to stop

This is Graft. There is no other way to see it.

Bell is a tiny little suburban town/city with around 30k people. I would describe the area as blue collar/working poor neighborhood.

Evidently nobody was paying attention until recently so the good-ole boys got away with it.

It is amazing what some public disclosure of this nonsense will do.

Along those lines in Orange County (where I live) The newspaper disclosed some of the incredibly fat pensions and very loose and very generous rules for public employees to gorge at the public trough. The union and the public didn't like all that information being publicised so now it isn't available.

yet people go without medical care and other services.

Pigs at the trough !
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:44 AM   #16
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If I don't like private sector executive pay, I can choose not to do business with companies that award it. I have no such choice with my tax dollars, which is why I find it more objectionable in the public sector.
+1

the difference, as Ziggy pointed out, is that there is a system of checks and balances in the private sector- consumer choice. Go somewhere else if you don't like a company's business practices, executive compensation, warranty policies, corporate jets, etc. No such option with the public sector. These people were hired to be stewards of the public coffers for those they work for, instead they abused their fiduciary responsibilities and looted the coffers of their employer- the poor residents of Bell. What is more surprising is that they were able to stay off the radar screen for so long- but I'm sure the party will be over soon, as the angry mob, whipped into an indignant frenzy by the media descends on the gilded palace with pitchforks and machetes to oust these weasels....
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:48 AM   #17
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This is Graft. There is no other way to see it.
Worse, it's dumb graft. Here in the Chicagoland area, those meager salaries pale in comparison to the total takes of Chicago/Cook County officials. Yet, the published salaries here are a small fraction of the published salaries of Bell officials. What's the matter with them? Dummies!

We also know how to punish officials for getting caught with blunders like this. I think everyone knows our most recent elected governor is in hot water for allowing his salary enhancement techniques to see the light of day.
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:50 AM   #18
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Just one more thread to put on ignore.
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:51 AM   #19
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+1

the difference, as Ziggy pointed out, is that there is a system of checks and balances in the private sector- consumer choice. Go somewhere else if you don't like a company's business practices, executive compensation, warranty policies, corporate jets, etc. No such option with the public sector.
I think this is just plain wrong headed. Consumer choice is a check on quality of goods but it is not a check on practices that undermine our society - certainly not more of a check than the vote. Choice only comes into play when something a company does gets blasted into the stratosphere of public consciousness -- a la BP. Even then, lots of pundits/pols rush to their side to protect them from a "backlash." In fact, the only way I can see that we could reverse the private sector top level pay gap is through Government policy - I'm not advocating that, by the way, but the market will not do it no matter how many people find the practices reprehensible. By contrast, getting rid of whole groups of politicians you don't like is child's play.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:00 AM   #20
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Don....

It sounds like you're justifying the salaries of the Bell, Calif officials by saying some CEO's are outrageously paid too. Is that what you actually mean?
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