City of Costa Mesa

Under general direction of the Finance Director or the Assistant Finance Director, the Finance Officer (Payroll) plans, directs, administers and participates in the operations of the Payroll Section; supervises professional, technical, and/or clerical staff in processing and reconciling payroll; prepares financial and statistical records and reports, maintains compliance with federal, state, and local payroll laws and regulations for safety and non-safety personnel and performs related duties as required.

Confidential Employee Designation: 

The Finance Officer (Payroll) has access to decisions or the decision-making process of the City concerning matters related to employer-employee relations and prepares confidential materials, information and/or recommendations on behalf of the City in matters relating to employer-employee relations and therefore is a non-represented confidential employee.

The ideal candidate must have a proven track record of performing hands-on payroll work in a government agency which provides public safety (police and/or fire) services. The candidate shall understand the unique payroll intricacies, regulations and compliance requirements specific to public employees including knowledge of and experience navigating tax regulations and the Fair Labor Standards Act for public sector employees and the various work schedules (9/80, 3/12, 3/12.5, 24-hour shifts, etc.) and the Public Employees Retirement Law. 

The ideal candidate will be familiar with payroll software and systems commonly used in municipal environments. The successful candidate will be detail oriented and thrive in a fast-paced environment and demonstrate a solutions-oriented approach to solving complex issues including the ability to think ‘out-of-the-box’. The successful candidate must also demonstrate excellent interpersonal skills, the ability to work collaboratively with employees, department liaisons and labor groups.



Certification as a Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) through the American Payroll Association (APA) is desirable.


Four (4) years of progressively responsible experience in managing payroll in an internal and centralized process, including two (2) years of payroll experience in a government agency, and at least one (1) year in a supervisory or lead capacity. Knowledge of public safety payroll processes are highly desirable.


Graduation from a four-year accredited college or university with major coursework in accounting, finance, business or closely related field. Additional related experience may be substituted for the desired education on a year-for-year basis. 

An equivalent combination of training, certification and experience may also be considered.

Salary & How to Apply

Salary Range: $111,180 – $148,980.

Please follow this link to view the Finance Officer (Payroll) Brochure. To apply for this exciting career opportunity, please send a compelling cover letter and your detailed resume electronically to by June 26, 2024. Please contact Sherry Johnson (714) 273-4187 should you have any questions regarding this position or the recruitment process.