Information regarding who gets paid what in the county is readily available to the public through a couple of channels. The office of the State of California Controller John Chiang manages a website called Government Compensation in California at publicpay.ca.gov.
Data there is gathered from reports submitted annually by public entities including counties, cities, special districts, schools and the various college and university systems. The most comprehensive information from El Dorado County is for the year 2011 and was last updated at the end of September 2012, according to the state webpage. The state adds the caveat that the “Controller’s Office is not responsible for the accuracy of this information.”
El Dorado County Auditor-Controller Joe Harn explained Wednesday that the information for 2012 is just now becoming available in a form that can be easily reported.
The demographics listed for the last full reporting year show that there were 182,498 residents in El Dorado County. The county had 2,159 employees in that reporting year. That is a ratio of 84 residents per every one county employee.
Total wages paid for 2011 were $103,141,280, and the average wage for El Dorado County employees was $47, 773. That works out to an average cost of $565 per resident to maintain county government.
Of the top 10 positions, the Mental Health Medical director outstripped the rest at a total wage of $274,782. That job was and is still held by Robert Price, M.D. The next highest total wage, $213,155, went to Sheriff/Coroner/Public Administrator — the elected office held by John D’Agostini.
Figures received from Harn last week show the gross earnings of the top 36 compensated employees for 2012. Retired County Counsel Louis Green tops the 2012 list with gross wages of $286,774. Harn clarified that Green’s “termination payout” raised his compensation by $85,000. County employees and managers are able to convert a specified amount of accumulated sick leave, vacation days and management leave into cash payouts upon leaving county service.
Dr. Price was second highest in 2012 with $278,138 followed by D’Agostini at $226,410. District Attorney Vern Pierson received $207,215 in 2012. Undersheriff Richard Williams showed gross earnings of $197,495 while Auditor-Controller Harn received $196,366 in 2012.
El Dorado County’s Assessor Karl Weiland was shown as fifth in line at $193,398 in 2011 on the state’s website; however, according to the data from Harn, the 2012 figure was $154,257. While county Surveyor Rich Briner was shown to have been paid $187,265 in 2011, he does not appear in the current top 36. Auditor-controller, assessor, district attorney, sheriff and surveyor are elective positions. County counsel is appointed by the Board of Supervisors, and the undersheriff is appointed by the sheriff.
Sheriff’s department captains were eighth and ninth at $186,155 and $184,129 respectively in 2011 and several appear in the top 20 for 2012 — ranging from $189,135 to $163,767. Former Public Defender Rick Meyer received $187,967 in 2012.
Chief Administrative Officer Theresa Daly grossed earnings of $184,981 last year and Assistant CAO Kim Kerr received $159,570. The CAO is appointed by the Board of Supervisors, while the assistant position is chosen by the CAO.
Long-serving, elected Treasurer-Tax Collector C. L. Raffety shows gross earnings of $179,332 for 2012. Public Guardian/Assistant Director at Health and Human Services Janet Walker-Conroy received $163,483 last year. In all, 13 of the county’s 36 highest paid positions in 2012, $150,000 and above, are in the Sheriff’s Department. Their gross earnings may be a combination of many years of service in addition to overtime paid for certain categories of law enforcement, Harn explained.
With 395 employees the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department is the largest county department. Its average wage in 2011 was $67,411. By contrast, the Social Services division of Health and Human Services, with 277 staff, had an average wage of $35,485. The Community Services division of the same department had 110 employees with an average wage of $31,707 for 2011.
The Auditor-Controller’s Office, with 24 staff, showed an average wage of $72,218, while the Library had an average wage of $18,030, with 86 employees, a number of whom work part-time. At the other end of the scale, County Counsel’s Office had 17 staff and an average wage of $98,084 in 2011. Newly appointed County Counsel Edward Knapp received $173,961 in 2012, while Chief Probation Officer Gregory Sly grossed $170,671 last year. Like county counsel the latter position is also appointed by the board.
Other appointed department heads in the top 36 are Health and Human Services Director Daniel Nielson with gross earnings of $159,009; Geralyn Silva of Environmental Management $157,081; Development Services chief Roger Trout at $154,807; Laura Roth in Child Support and Kelly Webb acting head of Information Technologies received $151,265 and $145,404 respectively last year. William Schultz, elected county Recorder and Registrar of Voters showed gross earnings of $146,468 in 2012, while Chief Assistant Auditor-Controller Robert Toscano, appointed by Harn, received $159,257.
As noted on the county’s Human Resources website, the highest hourly wage paid in county government is $100.22 — Mental Health Medical Director. The lowest wage would be paid to a General Trainee (Extra Help) status. That rate is $8 per hour.
The state’s average wage for county employees in 2011 was $59,916. That was $12,143 higher than the El Dorado County average. The state’s average for number of residents per county employee was 104 to 1 compared to El Dorado’s 84 to 1 that year.
Pay by position and by department, not counting overtime, is based on a number of factors including length of government service, education and/or advanced degree required for certain jobs, state licensing or certification for legal and medical professionals.