Moniz tops CA city manager pay list

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.”

Lisa Vorderbrueggen