The Highest-Paid Public Employee in the Poorest County in California
Raymond J. Cordova, county executive officer of Imperial County, earns $282,093 with total pay and benefits. That’s 17 times the median per capita income of Imperial County residents, who earned just $16,409. By comparison, San Francisco’s highest paid public official, Chief Investment Officer William J. Coaker Jr., made $633,723 – about 13 times SF’s median income. San Francisco got the better deal: divide salary by population, and we find that San Francisco residents paid just 76 cents each for Coaker; Imperial County residents paid $1.60 each for Cordova.
Cordova is a low-profile guy in a low-profile community. With just 156,000 residents, Mexico-adjacent Imperial County is almost a postscript to the state. Cordova himself is nearly anonymous. The one photo of him on the internet – in which the sartorially splendid CEO is largely blocked from view by Supervisor Raymond Castillo – is the only one we could find; the county did not respond to requests for comment and a photo.
That made it hard for us to personally congratulate Ralph Cordova Jr., who, as Harry Bailey says of his brother George in the classic It’s a Wonderful Life, may be “the richest man in town.”
Imperial County runners-up: Director of Child Support Services Gustavo Roman ($241,717) and Public Defender Timothy J. Reilly ($224,138).
By Conor McGarry. Sources include State Controller’s Office.
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