Oakland’s Payroll Numbers Are Stunning

A police officer taking home $452,653 per year and making a total of $539,735 with benefits. A fire captain whose total compensation reached $557,655 last year. A civil engineer earning 10 times the average salary of a full-time worker in the city he works for. These are just some of the examples of skyrocketing pay in Oakland from the Transparent California website's database.

“In Oakland, the city payroll has exploded 43 percent in the last four years — up from $492 million in 2014 to an all-time high of $622 million in 2018, according to new data from the watchdog website, Transparent California,” Politico reports. For comparison, the average salary in the city is $50,313.

Overtime and benefits account for a substantial amount. The civil engineer cited above, for instance, reportedly worked 366 days in a single leap year.

Asked about the eye-popping figures, Public Information Officer Autumn King told Politico that they reflect “the daunting issue” of rising pensions and health benefits in cities such as Oakland.

“The high overtime illustrates a high demand for services,” she added. “Therefore, the city has added 310 fulltime positions in the last two years and put management controls in place to address this issue.”

Another East Bay city, Richmond, also turned out some shocking figures. Politico notes that 128 Richmond employees made over $300,000 last year, compared to just 35 in neighboring Berkeley. The average salary of a full-time worker in that city? Just over $40,500.