Part of the Bay Area News Group

Moniz tops CA city manager pay list

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Friday, September 10th, 2010 at 3:39 pm in California cities.

San Ramon City Manager Herb Moniz was the highest paid city manager in the state in 2009, according to a compensation survey just released by the League of California Cities.

Moniz earned $359,669 annually per his W-2 income as reported to the league.

Three other city managers collected more total money in 2009 but it came in the form of one-time vacation or other retirement-related pay outs. Beverly Hills City Manager Roderick Wood collected $438,571 in 2009, for example. However, Wood’s total compensation included $140,289 in sick leave and vacation pay outs when he retired in August 2009. Wood then served as a contract city manager until Jan. 22, 2010. (Caveat: Keep in mind most city managers operate under contract and no two contracts are alike. For example, the city does not pay Moniz’ health insurance. Some city managers receive a car allowance, others do not. The leagues’ PDF includes a note field that explains some of the details behind the specific numbers.)

The league’s voluntary compensation survey included 90 percent of California’s city and towns. The agencies reported the amount of compensation that appeared in “Box 5″ of the Federal W-2 form for 2009.

“This method allowed for quick results and accounted for many benefits (e.g., car allowance, deferred compensation, payouts of unused leave, life insurance greater than $50,000, etc.),” the league stated in its news release.

The list does not include the infamous city of Bell, whose former city manager earned in excess of $800,000 and triggered statewide outrage and demands for reforms.

“Sunshine is the best antiseptic, and the league is working to ensure maximum transparency of compensation information to provide residents with the tools they need to ensure continued accountability at the local level,” said league executive director Chris McKenzie in a prepared release. “Within days of the revelations of the excessive and unreasonable salaries paid to the former city manager of Bell and others, the league’s City Managers’ Department responded immediately by conducting a manager compensation survey in partnership with the International City/County Management Association.”

McKenzie also said his association is developing guidelines for city councils in setting the compensation levels for appointed city managers that are expected to be released shortly after review and approval by the league’s board of directors.”

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  • Alan Richards

    What a joke San Ramon is. This guy could not make $35,000 in the public sector.
    Yeah, I really believe that health care from the gov’t will cheaper, too. The gov’t is so good with our money.

  • Alan Richards

    What a joke San Ramon is. This guy could not make $35,000 in the public sector.
    Yeah, I really believe that health care from the gov’t will be cheaper, too. The gov’t is so good with our money.

  • Mr Buckmaster

    Yeah, baby, Yeah! That’s what I’m talking about!

  • Mr Buckmaster

    mo’ money mo’ money mo’ money

  • Common Tater

    Old news.

  • John W

    As a San Ramon taxpayer, this grabs my attention. He definitely seems to be an outlier among CA and Bay Area peers, who are very well-paid even with their lower salaries. I don’t know whether he could have made that much in the private sector had he chosen a different career path. However, it seems a bit extreme to suggest he couldn’t make $35k. San Ramon is one of the better managed cities in CA. Just trying to be fair here.

    Out of curiosity, I checked the city manager salary for my boyhood home of Goodland, Kansas, a farm town of less than 5,000 people, 150 miles from nowhere, where the median income is less than $30k. I was surprised that it was above $75k. When you consider the difference in cost of living (median house price there is about $80k) and the comparison in population and job complexity, perhaps the city manager salaries in CA are not that out of line.

  • Scott Tramell

    I have supported Wilson for many years; however, after watching him defend the outrageous $350K+ salary of the San Ramon City Manager, no more! Buchanan is too liberal for my taste, but I know she would never stand for this Wall Street style corruption.

  • John W

    After reading Dan Borenstein’s article today, this really bugs me. I had no idea that regular, non-safety employees in San Ramon had 2.7% accrual rates. The article didn’t mention if the employees participate in Social Security. I’m guessing not. These defined-benefit plans, to the extent they continue at all, need to be calculated on non-indexed lifetime earnings (not final year or highest three). That would make them more like 401k’s but with a guaranteed benefit amount.

  • Rob

    So, my son is a student at Pine Valley Middle School. The school year just started, yet the students at Pine Valley have ALREADY had time off because of the supposed “budgetary constraints.” We were told the students had to stay home from school because they couldn’t afford to pay the teachers.

    Couple that with the ridulous “fees” we had to pay (roughly $760) – everything from a $90 “sports” fee to a “technology” fee, an “art” fee. I thought this was a PUBLIC school?

    Perhaps if they didn’t pay the city manager of San Ramon 3 times the median salary of the citizens who’s taxes pay his wages – they would have the money to pay the teachers.

    This is an abuse of the public trust & the city manager needs to step down, or be forced to resign.

    Public servants are supposed to be just that – PUBLIC SERVANTS. They are NOT supposed to live a more privileged lifestyle than the citizens who pay their salaries!!

  • Common Sense

    Strictly speaking it’s not the city of San Ramon’s responsibility to pay for schools and teachers – it’s the state’s and the school district’s.

    That said, plenty of cities have chipped in money to school districts to make up shortfalls – and money spent on exorbitant city salaries and pensions isn’t available to help schools.

    Just as importantly the schools that San Ramon kids go to are full, there’s no money for new schools, and the city and Dougherty Valley include 4600 units that are already approved but not yet built–which will make the problem worse and increase the calls for new school bonds for new schools, paid for by residents.

    Yet these same city staff want to approve more development with Measure W – by breaking the voter-approved urban growth boundary in the Tassajara Valley and the west side hills, and with redevelopment at North Camino Ramon – another 5500+ housing units, much of it high density, on top of the 4600 already approved. That’ll just make things worse.

    On November 2, please vote NO on Measure W.