Continuing to follow the city manager compensation reports in Orange County, the O.C. Watchdog looks through the eyes of a city manager and invites other city managers to share their story.

The article touches on all the difficulties of being a city manager, including labor contracts, pensions, revenues vs. expenses, streets, sewers, water  – all done with a political savvy and an ability to deal with a city council.

From the O.C. Watchdog:

“I’m a retired City Manager with 33 years in the barrel in one position or another,” the City Manager, who wishes to fly beneath the radar (to spare his former colleagues’ feelings), wrote to us. “Over the years, I told many people that my contract was public record and they were welcome to a copy at 10 cents a page. As for those who think they can do this job in their sleep, give it your best shot. YOU tell every councilman that no, you won’t make an exception to the building code for his friend; you won’t hire his brother-in-law; you won’t contribute to his campaign or anyone else’s. You tell the mayor that his wonderful proposal is against state law. You negotiate with the police and fire unions and face their family and snot-nosed kids when they can’t get a fat contract. You explain to the Little League why the city can’t spend another $10 million for a new baseball complex; and on and on and on.

“If you can do the job for half price without sinking the city financially or shooting yourself or the city council politically, have at it! I only have 18 years of schooling and a lot of post grad work. Probably you’re twice as good with half the background and experience and hey…that’s what you get for half the money.”

Kogerman’s report found that the average compensation for big-city city managers in OC was $292,651; for midsized cities, it was $272,573; and for the smallest cities, it was $262,196.  Laguna Hills – which had the highest-compensated city manager in the Kogerman Count – has dismissed the report as an attack piece; while the director of the graduate program that supplied the students who gathered the data defended their work.

Read the full story here.