407 – or roughly one half of one tenth of one percent – of public employees in California earned more than $300,000 last year, according to an analysis by the Orange County Register. The three highest earning local government employees each earned more than a million dollars in the year.
All three worked for healthcare districts, other top earners in the state come background ranging from executive officers to public safety. However, critics of the State Controller Database continue to point out that the salaries reported are by position, not by person. That means that if someone retired mid-year and took a cash-payout for vacation or sick time, that additional cost is reported as part of the position salary.
In the case of Orange County, spokesman Howard Sutter told the Orange County Register that two of the people listed as earning more than $300K both retired after long careers and took more than $100,000 each in payout for unused time off. Similar situations were reported in Irvine, where the director of administrative services reportedly earned $316,000 last year, when actual annual salary and benefits totaled $240,133.
From the Orange County Register:
There were 803,858 positions reported in county, city and special districts, and three busted the $1 million mark:
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