Oakland trio cleared over $1.6 million in pay and benefits last year, new data show

By Robert Fellner
June 10, 2019

An Oakland fire captain, a police officer, and a civil engineer each made over $500,000 in pay and benefits last year, according to newly released 2018 pay data published on TransparentCalifornia.com.

The city’s top earner was Fire Captain Lawrence Hom, who cleared $557,655 in total compensation thanks in large part to an agency-high $309,185 overtime payment.

Police officer Malcolm Miller is once again among the city’s top earners, having received $539,735 in total compensation last year.

The city’s third-highest paid worker was civil engineer Kenny Lau, whose $289,580 overtime payout boosted his total compensation to $508,178. In 2016, Lau earned a similar amount of OT, after reportedly working all 366 days of the year, with pay data suggesting a similar amount of hours worked in both 2017 and 2018.

In total, compensation for Oakland city workers hit an all-time high of $622 million last year, up 43 percent from 2013.

LA County Fire sees 268% increase in six-figure OT payouts

671 employees at the Los Angeles County Fire Department received $100,000 or more in overtime pay alone last year, a 268 percent increase from 2013.

Twenty-two employees received overtime pay of more than $200,000, according to the data.

The department’s top earner was Battalion Chief Ray Thomas, who received $586,412 in pay and benefits.

Fire captain Sergio Burciaga’s $284,373 overtime payment was the highest of any department employee, which helped boost his total compensation to over half a million dollars.

Overtime at the department remains a significant expense and hit an all-time high of nearly $218 million last year, a 39 percent increase from 2013.

Santa Ana police captain clears $525,000  

Former Santa Ana police captain James Schnabl received $525,861 in pay and benefits last year, thanks in part to a one-time payout for cashing in unused leave.

The city recently increased the local sales tax to 9.25 percent, the highest in Orange County. The hike was approved to help fund the cost of the city’s skyrocketing labor costs, according to a Voice of OC report.

The average Santa Ana city worker made $118,760 in cash earnings last year. When benefits are included, the average city worker costs Santa Ana residents $174,650.

The most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau reports median earnings for Santa Ana residents at less than $30,000 a year — which ranks among the lowest of any city statewide.

Due to its inherently regressive nature, the just-increased sales tax will disproportionately burden the city’s lower-income residents.

To view the complete 2018 dataset for Santa Ana, please click here.

Transparent California will be continuing updating the website for new, 2018 data for cities and counties in the coming days. To be notified when new data is uploaded for specific agencies, simply follow the process outlined here.

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The following has been republished with permission from Transparent California. For the original piece, click here.

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