In a post-Bell California, transparency is the name of the game. Residents have taken notice of the compensation of their local leaders And State Controller John Chiang has released “Public Pay,” a site that publishes public employee payroll data for thousands of local government officials throughout the state.
Along with transparency comes a heavy dose of scrutiny, and the latest target of this scrutiny is Santa Ana City Manager David Cavazos.
Last August, the Santa Ana City Council voted unanimously to hire Cavazos, the former city manager of Phoenix (a city nearly five times the size of Santa Ana). His compensation package included a $315,000 salary—one of the highest in the state of California—and another $243,000 in perks and benefits, including a car, moving expenses and housing allowance.
In addition to the $558,000 Cavazos collects from Santa Ana, his Phoenix salary totals over $234,000.
According to some in Phoenix, Cavazos’s departure from his post in the Valley of the Sun was suspiciously timely.
According to CBS Los Angeles, Phoenix leaders gave Cavazos a $78,000 pay raise during a hiring freeze that increased his pension. In addition, Cavazos cashed in in almost $200,000 in unused sick time and associated perks which doubled his pension. Many refer to this practice as “pension spiking.” He left town for Santa Ana a year later.
For more information on Cavazos’ move from Phoenix to Santa Ana, read the full article at CBS Los Angeles.