Six-figure salaries growing

More than 500 of 1,600 city employees make $100,000 or more a year.

May 12, 2010|By Christopher Cadelago

CITY HALL — About one-third of Burbank’s 1,600 workers earned $100,000 or more last year — a figure that has grown steadily over the last decade, according to city records.

The number of city employees paid at least $100,000, including overtime, cash benefits and cashed-out leave, totaled 543 last year. The calculation excludes the cost of pension-related benefits and some health insurance. 

  Read the full list here [PDF]

The data obtained by The Leader show that several six-figure earners added to their base pay with overtime and “other pay,” which includes payouts for unused vacation days and cash benefits toward heath plans, professional development, uniform allowance and other perks.


Leading the $100,000 club was Police Chief Tim Stehr, who retired in January. His total payout was $276,171, of which more than $50,000 was from cashing out stored-up vacation and other types of leave. Stehr, through a city spokesman, could not be reached for comment.

City Manager Mike Flad said that as an industry, municipalities must address the issue of compensation, particularly the escalating cost of benefits.

“While Burbank salaries have remained competitive with surrounding cities, it is completely understandable that the scrutiny over all public-sector pay and benefits continues to heighten,” Flad said Monday. “With 80% of the budget dedicated to salaries and benefits, there is simply no greater issue of importance for the city.”

Among the top five of earners was Ron Davis, general manager of Burbank Water and Power, at $254,999; City Atty. Dennis Barlow, at $254,586; and Flad, at $248,776.

In an interview Friday, Davis said the national market drives pay for most senior utility positions, not local municipal wages. Nearly every city has a director of parks and recreation, for example, but many fewer have a utility.

That explains why Davis has had problems retaining senior deputies, and then filling their positions when they retire or leave for greener pastures, he said. Three assistant general managers placed in the top 10 in base salary, each earning about $177,000.

“In my case, I get recruited a lot to places with much lower costs of living — and they’d pay me more,” Davis said.

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