By Matt Coker

Wednesday, December 9, 2015 | 4 days ago


Brea and Newport Beach residents pay the most of these each in Orange County for city employee compensation.

A survey of 28 cities that account for 84 percent of Orange County’s population shows the average full-time city worker received $135,464 in total compensation in 2014, with 66 percent receiving $100,000 or more, according to a free market think tank project.

Transparent California, a project of the nonpartisan Nevada Policy Research Institute, on Tuesday released previously-unseen 2014 public employee compensation data—complete with names, pay, and benefits—for 395 cities and 44 counties statewide on, the state’s largest public sector compensation database.

According to Orange County results in the survey, which does not yet include Orange or Huntington Beach because 2014 figures were not available from those cities:

  • The three county cities with the highest average compensation package for full-time, year round employees were Costa Mesa ($155,921), Newport Beach ($152,331) and Anaheim ($149,494).
  • The three highest compensated city or county employees in Orange County were Santa Ana City Manager David Cavazos ($434,106), San Clemente City Manager Pall Gudgeirsson ($427,689) and Orange County Executive Officer Michael Giancola ($411,032).
  • The combined overtime and other pay at all Orange County cities surveyed was worth 20.5 percent of regular pay, as compared to the statewide average of 19 percent.
  • Westminster, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach’s total overtime and other pay was the highest of any Orange County city at 32, 30 and 27 percent of regular pay, respectively.
  • The cities of Newport Beach and Brea spent more on employee compensation per resident than any other Orange County city at $1,285 and $986, respectively.
  • Newport Beach’s cost was the 18th highest of any city with a population of at least 10,000 statewide—and nearly triple the county average of $472.

Transparent California’s research director Robert Fellner, who chimed in last October on Orange County municipal workers’ average annual retirements from the state’s pension system, believes taxpayers have been kept in the dark about the full cost of public employees.

“Government workers receive tens of thousands of dollars worth of benefits that have no comparison in the private sector,” he says in a statement. “This bloat enriches special interests at the expense of both cities and taxpayers.

“Simply publicizing base salaries is inadequate given that city workers enjoy leave policies and benefit packages that dwarf what most taxpayers receive. Reporting full compensation reveals a shocking inequity between city employees and the taxpayers who must bear the cost.”

View the entire dataset at



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