I took a look at employee compensation for El Cerrito, Albany, and Richmond for 2017 and 2018. I got all information from Transparent California. 2019 data is not yet available.
I wanted to get a sense of how some of the city’s management staff salaries compared to a city much larger than ours and also one of similar size but with a smaller overall budget.
A few baseline facts to start
El Cerrito is a city that is 3.9 square miles with about 25k (as of the last census) people and has an annual budget of 52 million.
Richmond is a city that is 52.5 square miles with 104k people. The city’s annual budget is 176 million.
Albany is a city with 5.5 square miles of which 1.8 miles of land. Their population is about 20k people (this is more recent than 2010 census). Their budget is 25 million.
I picked some positions that seemed universal to many cities such as the city manager, public works director, finance director, etc. Some positions were different in different cities and that is generally noted on the spreadsheet and will be noted below also.
Both Richmond and Albany discussed their financial hardships within their budgets. Both had deficits to deal with.
Notes on positions
El Cerrito is the only one of the three cities to have a City Manager, Assistant City Manager, and an Assistant to the City Manager. Richmond, a much larger city, has just the executive assistant to the City Manger and Albany has an Assistant City Manager that is also a City Clerk.
Richmond has two Financial Managers but no Director like Albany and El Cerrito.
In several situations, a position was not filled for an entire year. This happened with the Finance Director for Albany and also for El Cerrito’s City Clerk. I have put the percentage increase in salary from 2017-2018. When 2019 data becomes available I will update then. You can see the entire pdf here.
- The City Manager of El Cerrito. is paid almost as much as the City Manager of the much larger city of Richmond. That position also increased almost 20% from 2017-2018. She also has both an Assistant and an Assistant to the City Manger which is not true of the other cities.
- Most of Richmond and Albany’s positions stayed fairly static in salary from 2017-2018 (the exception being the Community Development director and City Clerk of Richmond) while most of the El Cerrito positions received raises of 20% or more. These raises were given after the point that the auditor had raised concerns about the city’s ability to remain a going concern (which is accountant language for the city is at risk of bankruptcy).
- At this look it appears that El Cerrito is paying much higher salaries than Albany which is a fairly similarly sized city. Often times El Cerrito is almost paying as much in salary as Richmond which is a much bigger and more complicated city to manage.
Below are links to each city’s benefits packages. The cities all have the premier Kaiser benefits as a part of Cal-PERS. Those benefits include no deductible and $10 doctor visits. These benefits cost slightly less than $800 a month for each employee plus an additional cost if they have dependents. El Cerrito pays the full benefit of the lower cost Kaiser plan and the employee pays only in if they choose the Sutter Plan. They pay the difference between that and the Kaiser plan, which is the same as Albany Employees. . Richmond employees pay in a flat $125 a month for their benefits.