City Hall $300K Club Doubles In 2018

Stephen Downing

Transparent California, the state’s largest public pay and pension database, recently published 2018 pay and benefits data for the City of Long Beach. A selected analysis of the data follows:

The total number of Long Beach city employees in 2018 was 6,505 as compared to 6,364 in 2017, an increase of 2.21 percent.

Total pay and benefits for city employees increased 5.65 percent from $1.195 billion in 2017 to $1.262 billion in 2018.

The top five base pay wage earners were Mario Cordero, chief executive Harbor Department ($350,000), Duane Kenagy, capital programs executive ($295,000), Charles Parkin, city attorney ($287,705), Christopher Garner, general manager Water Dept. ($276,880) and Patrick West, city manager ($271,707).

When adding benefits to their base pay each of the five executives are seen to be closing in on membership in the $400 K club, with Cordero in the number one position with total pay and benefits at $384,262 and Patrick West at $371,187.

Benefits paid to Long Beach City’s 6,505 employees in 2018 totaled $3.32 million for an average of $51,164 per employee.

Three employees, Chief of Police Robert Luna, Deputy Chief Wally Hebeish and an unnamed deputy chief of police each received benefit packages in excess of $100,000.

Nine employees received benefit packages valued at more than $90,000. Four are Fire Department executives and five are Police Department executives.

Long Beach City Hall’s $300K Club (those earning $300,000 or more in total pay and benefits) doubled from 40 employees in 2017 to 80 in 2018.

The lowest ranked 2018 $300K club member (#80), an unidentified police sergeant, made $300,298 in total salary and benefits. Chief of Police Robert Luna topped the list at $390,349.

Total overtime pay for city employees increased 10.7 percent from $108.5 million in 2017 to $119.2 million in 2018.

The number of city employees earning over $100,000 in overtime increased 47.2 percent from 36 employees in 2017 to 53 in 2018.

A Long Beach Fire Department battalion chief topped $400,000 in total pay and benefits, making him 2018’s highest paid city employee (and only member of the $400K club).

The battalion chief, Jeffrey Ohs, whose 2018 base pay was $170,903 earned $146,286 in overtime, a bit less than the $148,584 overtime dollars he earned in 2017. His total pay and benefits in 2017 was $387,788 while total pay and benefits in 2018 totaled $402,431, an increase of 3.8 percent.

Transparent California pay and benefits data can be found at:



This article is a little misleading by not providing all the information.
In the defense of the top five base page wage earners, both of those individuals’ salaries from the Harbor Department are not paid by the tax payers or with any tax money or fees from citizens. Actually, all Harbor Department employees are not paid with tax payer monies. The City Attorney attempts to protect an entire City full of assets and a population of 500,000, which is elected by the residents. The City Manager makes decisions for again a city with the population of 500,000. The general manager of the Water Department is responsible for the water that is for the entire City and its infrastructure and so much more.
Now, I agree with Mark J statement that a lot of workers are underpaid. Additionally, all staff pays into their pension and contributes cost to their health insurance.

Why doesn't Long Beach negotiate their city union contracts like San Diego, South San Francisco and others cities where all salary and benefit increases are first ratified by a vote of the citizens paying those increased incomes before the contract is signed. This tends to keep benefit increases down and gives the public a say in the taxes they will have to pay.

Long Beach relies entirely on their city officials to negotiate with the union which is a conflict of interest because city official salaries increase with the union increases. Essentially, city officials negotiate their own raises.

Each union member gets to vote to ratify their pay increase before the contract is signed. Why isn't that same courtesy extended to citizens who are actually paying the city employees.

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