El Cerrito Staff Compensation compared to other local cities

Transparent CA has great information on salaries and pensions for all of CA.

There has been much discussion on different forums about the compensation of El Cerrito city employees so I did a quick check on Transparent CA for 4 cities. El Cerrito, Albany, San Pablo, and Pinole. All are reasonably close in size from 19k residents in Albany to 30K in San Pablo compared to El Cerrito’s 25k.


Albany has a little less than 20k residents. They have 208 total city employees, 76 of whom are full-time. The cost per resident for these employees is $835


Pinole has close to 20k residents. They have 151 city employees and 68 of them are full-time. The cost for the employees per resident is $683.

San Pablo

San Pablo is the largest of the cities I looked at with almost 31k residents. They have 252 employees of which 114 are full time. The cost per resident for the employees is $704 per resident

El Cerrito

Our city has 25k residents and 384 city employees of which 159 are full time. The cost per resident is $1,163, which is $328 per resident more than the next closest city of Albany. Our city has a 132 more employees than San Pablo which has 5k more residents.

The question is why does El Cerrito have so many more employees than other cities the same size? Are we in El Cerrito getting services that residents in other cities are not receiving? I have listened to El Cerrito City Council speak of how high quality our staff is and how they need to be compensated well in order to keep them. In theory, I would agree with rewarding high quality employees with high compensation. The question I have is are we paying our employees wages that are not sustainable for our city? Why were wages raised dramatically in 2018 at a time that the city did not have adequate reserves? And if some employees have lead us into this financial disaster( that predates COVID) are they the high quality employees that we want?

El Cerrito total employee compensation over the last three years (2019 data is not yet available)


Per transparent CA El Cerrito total employee compensation in 2016 was $23,427,687. This was for 354 positions 141 of which were full-time.


For 2017 employee compensation rose to $24,639,703 for 375 positions 138 of which were full-time


In 2018 employee compensation rose almost 5 MILLION dollars to $29,323,885 for 384 positions 159 of which are full-time. There were 9 added positions and 21 additional full-time positions.

Please also check out the related post below

El Cerrito City Compensation

5 thoughts on “El Cerrito Staff Compensation compared to other local cities

  1. Not only did I get two people in the Building Department who could not handle authority, had a zero-sum-game attitude, they also cost me thousands of dollars and diminished the outcome. If they are all “fine people” and professionals who earn their high incomes, why can’t they evaluate a builder”s drawing package instead of contracting it out?


  2. Exactly, El Cerrito not only charges an arm and a leg for building permits, but they spend mucho moola on outsourcing. Then they run up huge consulting fees for management, development, and economic analysis that their high paid “quality” staff can’t handle in house. They are good at pushing paper (I mean zeros and ones) though. It’s a travesty, but the city council lauds staff as if they can do no wrong. The council is asserting its authority in an arrogant and sadistic manner. Dare to question them? Take this!


  3. This is an interesting comparison. Albany has far fewer employees but actually they get paid more: only 76 employees at $170k compared to EC with 159 employees at $163k each. However, I would tend to agree on the top heaviness in EC but there are also many programs offered here that don’t exist elsewhere.
    I think when looking at the city budget you can’t ignore the fact that something like 2/3 of the entire city budget is dedicated to fire and police. It would be interesting to compare the size and salaries of these departments relative to these neighboring cities. Seems like looking at the most expensive things first is where to start with this budget crisis.


    1. good point! i have seen info on our FD which seemed management heavy but will see if I can get a post together on public safety. Thanks for commenting and suggesting it


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