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America’s Homeless Industrial Complex – Causes & Solutions

Vernon, California: More Public Employees Than Residents

Vernon, California is so famous for its history of corruption that it was the municipal star of season two of HBO’s “True Detective” series. Now the tiny L.A. County city can claim another achievement: Vernon is the only California city with more public employees than residents.

Vernon’s 210 residents are served by 271 city employees, according to data on the California state controller’s website.

No. 2 Irwindale is a distant second – though just a 30-minute drive (could be hours – depends on traffic in L.A.’s tortuous downtown) from Vernon. In that East Los Angeles County city, there’s one government employee for every one of Irwindale’s 1,415 residents. San Francisco is the only major city on the Top 10, with one government employee for every 22.7 residents.

Here’s the Top 10:

 

top10cities Most Public Employees

 

Public employees in Vernon earn an average of $107,848 (plus benefits of $37,571). That’s much higher than nearby hegemon, Los Angeles, where public employees average $83,356 (plus benefits of $12,620).

Several top Vernon officials earn salaries in excess of $300,000:
Mark Whitworth (City Administrator): $402,335
Daniel Calleros (Police Chief): $361,644
Michael Wilson (Fire Chief): $361,359
Carlos Fandino Jr. (Director of Gas and Electric): $324,354
Andrew Guth (Fire Battalion Chief): $304,243

While many of Vernon’s city employees continue earn six-figure salaries, the average city resident earns far less. Per capita income in 2010 was $19,973. Median household income in 2010 was $38,500 – down dramatically from 2000, when it was over $60,000. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 5% of the population lived below the federal poverty line. In 2000, it was 0%.

How does the city fund that dramatic gap in income? By taxing utilities for industry in the city. But because Vernon’s utility rates are among the highest in California, many businesses are moving out. That’s going to put pressure on city officials to trim public services – or to capitulate to the logic of history and become part of a neighboring city. How about Bell?

Conor McGarry is a fall Journalism Fellow at California Policy Center. Andrew Heritage contributed data analysis. Source: California state Controller’s Office.

Top 10: Vernon Leads California Cities with More Public Employees Than Residents

For Immediate Release
October 11, 2016
California Policy Center
Contact: Will Swaim
Will@CalPolicyCenter.org
(714) 573-2231

Vernon, California is so famous for its history of corruption that it was the municipal star of season 2 of HBO’s “True Detective” series. Now the diminutive L.A. County town can claim another achievement: Vernon is the only California city with more public employees than residents.

Vernon’s 210 residents are served by 271 city employees, according to data on the California state controller’s website. 

No. 2 Irwindale is a distant second – though just a 30-minute drive (could be hours – depends on traffic in L.A.’s tortuous downtown) from Vernon. In that East Los Angeles County city, there’s one government employee for every one of Irwindale’s 1,415 residents. San Francisco is the only major city on the Top 10, with one government employee for every 22.7 residents. 

Here’s the Top 10:

top10cities Most Public Employees

Public employees in Vernon earn an average of $107,848 (plus benefits of $37,571). That’s much higher than nearby hegemon, Los Angeles, where public employees average $83,356 (plus benefits of $12,620).

Several top Vernon officials earn salaries in excess of $300,000:

Mark Whitworth (City Administrator): $402,335
Daniel Calleros (Police Chief): $361,644
Michael Wilson (Fire Chief): $361,359
Carlos Fandino Jr. (Director of Gas and Electric): $324,354
Andrew Guth (Fire Battalion Chief): $304,243

While many of Vernon’s city employees continue earn six-figure salaries, the average city resident earns far less. Per capita income in 2010 was $19,973. Median household income in 2010 was $38,500 – down dramatically from 2000, when it was over $60,000. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 5% of the population lived below the federal poverty line. In 2000, it was 0%.

How does the city fund that dramatic gap in income? By taxing utilities for industry in the city. But because Vernon’s utility rates are among the highest in California, many businesses are moving out. That’s going to put pressure on city officials to trim public services – or to capitulate to the logic of history and become part of a neighboring city. How about Bell?

Conor McGarry is a fall Journalism Fellow at California Policy Center. Andrew Heritage contributed data analysis. Source: California state Controller’s Office.

ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA POLICY
The California Policy Center is a non-partisan public policy think tank providing information that elevates the public dialogue on vital issues facing Californians, with the goal of helping to foster constructive progress towards more equitable and sustainable management of California’s public institutions. Learn more at CaliforniaPolicyCenter.org.

Come to San Francisco for a Government-Mandated 35-Hour Workweek

Where in the United States can you get a government-mandated 35-hour workweek, like the French national government adopted in 2000 (but modified in 2008)?

Go to San Francisco and become a construction worker in the following trades on public works projects:

  1. Electrician: Inside Wireman
  2. Electrician: Cable Splicer
  3. Plumber: Air Conditioning & Refrigeration/HVAC – Service Work
  4. Sheet Metal Worker
  5. Terrazzo Worker
  6. Terrazzo Finisher

State law requires a 7-hour day and 35-hour work week for these trades in San Francisco on government projects or private construction projects receiving government financial assistance.

How does this happen?

Under California law, the state determines the government-mandated wage rate (“prevailing wage”) for construction trades based on the “modal” – that is, the most common – single wage rate. In practice, the California Department of Industrial Relations does not conduct surveys of contractors, contractor associations, or workers to determine the modal rate.

Instead, it assumes that the modal rate – and therefore, the prevailing wage – is the cumulative total of employer payments required in the applicable union Master Labor Agreement for that trade in that region for each hour worked. When the state looks at a union Master Labor Agreement to determine the prevailing wage rate, it dutifully incorporates all of the work provisions indicated in the union agreement. Here are some examples:

  • Section 1 of Article IV of the Inside Agreement between Local Union 6 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the San Francisco Electrical Contractors Association states that “Seven (7) hours shall constitute a day’s work: from 8:00 A.M. to 12:00 Noon, and from 12:30 P.M. to 3:30 P.M. five (5) days from Monday to Friday inclusive shall constitute the workweek. All work performed before or after the times specified above and on Saturdays, Sundays and the following Holidays shall be paid for at the rate of double time.”
  • Article 9, Section 52 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the United Association (U.A.) Local Union No. 38 and the Northern California Mechanical Contractors Association (MCA), the Master Plumber’s Association of California, and Independent Contractors states that “The regular workday shall consist of seven (7) consecutive hours…and the regular work week shall consist of thirty-five (35) hours of work…”
  • Item 7, Section B of the Union Agreement between the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association Local Union No. 104 and the Bay Area Association of SMACNA (Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors, National Association) states that “Commercial overtime in San Francisco shall be based on a seven (7)-hour day and not an eight (8)-hour day.”
  • Article XI, Section 51 of the Master Labor Agreement between the Terrazzo and Mosaic Association and the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 3 states that “The regular workday shall be seven (7) continuous hours, except for one-half hour off for lunch…”

And yes, the 35-hour work week for these trades applies to contractors on public works in San Francisco whose employees are not represented by a union. Occasionally a contractor is caught by the City and County of San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) for not recognizing the 7-hour work day or 35-hour work week as part of the prevailing wage rate.

There are apparently some other American unions that have a 35-hour work week in their collective bargaining agreements. For example, the New York Times Company and its Newspaper Guild has maintained this shorter work week in their contract despite attempts by the newspaper in contract negotiations to change it to 40 hours. Employees at other New York City newspapers represented by various unions also have or had 35-hour work weeks. The New York City Housing Authority has a 35-hour work week for some positions.

But where else besides California does the government establish a 35-hour work week as a matter of law, even for workers not in a union?

35 Hour Work Week San Francisco


Kevin Dayton is the President & CEO of Labor Issues Solutions, LLC, and is the author of frequent postings about generally unreported California state and local policy issues at www.laborissuessolutions.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DaytonPubPolicy.