1 in 3 SF Employees Make Over $100,000/year

Here's an interesting article on just how bloated local government has
1/3 SF City Employees Make > $100k
I think its interesting to note that a common justification offered for
large bureaucracy is that it serves to level the playing field in a
world of great economic disparity. However, when the average city worker
salary is $93,000, while the citywide per capita median income was
<http://www.bayareacensus.ca.gov/counties/SanFranciscoCounty.htm> in
2008, it becomes clear that what is actually happening here is just
another form of regressive income distribution.

SF gate has a searchable database of SF city employees paid over 100k
<http://www.sfgate.com/webdb/sfpay/index.shtml> , based on data provided
by the city controller's office (hey, at least we still have a sunshine
ordinance). The Sacramento Bee offers a similar service for state
employees <http://www.sacbee.com/statepay/> , both of which may be
useful resources in a discussion of pension reform, as well as a good
general reference.

The State link doesn't seem to be working....

What's interesting about the city employee data is there's no way to see what the pensions are for retired employees...so much for Sunshine.


Here's a similar state listing provided by the State Controller's Office
<http://lgcr.sco.ca.gov/> . Unlike the Sac Bee database, it only lists
position and salary, not names, but the compensation info is more
detailed than the Bee link provides.

The State link doesn't seem to be working....

What's interesting about the city employee data is there's no way to

see what the pensions are for retired employees...so much for Sunshine.

I did not see San Francisco on the list. I wonder why?
Thanks for all the information your group sends. We learn quite a bit.
Marge and Bob

This is a pretty comprehensive list! A zillion pages long, which says something about the bureaucracy. San Francisco is listed under "City", that is why it is not readily there when clicking the link. Interestingly, the Board of Supes, regular firefighters, regular police are not receiving outrageous salaries. The insanity comes in with the department heads. Why such huge discrepancies between the workers and the bosses?


Anyone want to propose some language to address this issue of department heads pay? The biggest difference I could find in a brief search was about a 50% difference....not that bad if you ask me but maybe there are a bunch more in there I didn't see.


How is it possible to know whether salaries in the public sector are outragious
or not? In the private sector the incomes of the persons in a business, that is,
the employees and the managers and the owners, are determined by the revenues,
that is, consumer demand for what they are producing. In the public sector
revenues do not reflect consumer demand and consumers are not paying the cost of
what they consume. Prices in the public sector are arbitrary, which is why
public sector unions are much more damaging than private sector unions. The
payers and the consumers are not the same people.

Les Mangus

Good point, Les. My reference to "outrageous" was in comparison to similar responsibilities in the private sector. However, if we considered the fairness or outrageousness of executives at certain Fortune 500 corporations -- their "compensation packages" having no relation to the real earnings or growth of the company -- I probably would have to say the public sector's top brass earn pretty fair wages.


Hi Mike,

Fire Chief makes $270,972, and the guy who risks his life to get a kid out of a burning home makes $70,486. I feel that needs to be acknowledged in any argument we might propose. No doubt, as Les pointed out, things get complicated, when comparing heads of departments with equal responsibility in the private sector; but not so complicated when comparing heads of departments in other cities.


Thanks all....the discuss list wasn't copied on the earlier discussion as Jawg said she didn't want to negotiate the draft on the list.

But I need some serious help here.....I've submitted the initial draft. Ron and Ann have made significant re-writes. Many of you have contributed.

I'm gone for the next two weeks. Would you all please step up and draft your own versions? There is no right one. The LPSF can endorse as many as they want and we want to submit many if we are to have the chance to get one free one selected as the official ballot argument.

Thanks for your help.


No worries, Mike. As I said, the subject is on the agenda for this Saturday, I will summarize what has been done so far, and we will work it out at the meeting.




"Similar responsibilities" do not determine prices in the private sector. If two
movies are made, one A starring Tom Cruise and another B starring John Doe, A
will undoubtedly draw a bigger crowd than B, since more people will pay to see
Cruise than Doe. Therefore, Cruise will make more money than Doe even if the
movies are substantially the same. In the public sector there is no way of
rationally determining prices because revenues are not based on demand for the
product or service being created.

Even more important in the private sector the greed of sellers is limited by the
ability of buyers to (1) patronize the competition or (B) simply not pay for the
product. In the public sector this is not possible since payment of taxes is
compulsory. This is the fundamental reason why salaries and benefits in the
public sector soar out of control. This is a problem in the public sector that
CANNOT be resolved.


All very true, Les. I am just hoping that since the high salaries and benefits enjoyed by public employees were handed to them at the ballot box in past good times, they can be curbed in the same way in the current not so good times. By "high" I do mean in comparison to those in the private sector, which is the only way I can see to measure them.


Of course, we all are familiar with a number of obscene salaries paid to clearly incompetent private sector execs, and they do make government largess pale in comparison, but the fundamental difference is that we don't have to pay those salaries if we don't want to. They're the shareholders and consumers' problem, while obscene public sector salaries are a concern of every voter and taxpayer.