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Santa Monica City Council Set to Approve More Six-Figure Salaries


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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

October 20, 2017 -- The Santa Monica City Council is set to approve a slew of new white-collar employee salaries, all but a few close to, or comfortably in, six-figure earnings brackets.

At the top of the new pay chart, which goes into effect October 29, are jobs for senior advisors to the City Manager on airport matters and on the City’s homeless population, both paying $13,503 a month, or $162,036 annually.

A third job, for a “transit community and government engagement manager,” would earn the same pay, according to a report by Finance Director Gigi Decavalles-Hughes going to the council for its meeting next Tuesday.

In all, 21 positions are included in the new classifications and salary rates.

Another dozen jobs are on the list as well, although their classifications and pay rates went into effect July 1. The pay in all cases is listed as being for those at the 5th step of the pay scale.

Those jobs range from $20,579 a month -- or $246,948 a year -- for deputy fire chief and $18,060 a month (or $216,720) for battalion chief/prevention and fire marshal to $4,804 monthly ($57,648 a year) for lead motor coach cleaner.

The City’s salaries -- generally among the highest per capita among California municipalities -- are increasingly in the six figures now, a trend that continues at City Hall among general management.

In her report, Decavalles-Hughes said the City ended the 2016-2017 fiscal year with $4.5 million more revenue in its general fund -- the bulk of the budget -- than originally estimated but also with $6.4 million less in operating expenditures.

“The context for this good news is crucial,” she said. “Despite concerns about a slowing in the growth of key economic drivers (particularly retail and tourism), the prior fiscal year continued to reflect the underlying strength of Santa Monica’s diversified economic base."

Personnel expenses were lower than projected, she said, but warned officials to not take “the existing economic base and sources of revenue for granted -- and to anticipate the already identified challenges on the expense side, especially completing and operating major capital projects and absorbing known future increases in pension contributions.”

The surplus funds, the majority of which are one-time, she said, should be allocated to the departments which created them, but also channeled into a few council initiatives, including the city’s sharp jump in the homeless population.

She also recommended the council set aside an addition $3.7 million for the construction of a Civic Center Multi-Use Sports Field project.

Among the non-public safety positions on the new list is public landscape administrator, set for $10,438 a month (or $125,256 annually): urban forest administrator, to be paid $9,996 a month ($119,952 annually); and senior park planner, senior transit operations analyst and transit safety and security officer, each paid $,9454 monthly ($113,448 yearly).

Also on the list is council office coordinator, at $9,240 (or $110,880 annually); transit maintenance quality assurance coordinator and transit maintenance safety training coordinator, each to be paid $8,473 monthly ($101,676 a year); assistant park planner, at $7,819 monthly ($93,828 annually); and a public safety administrator and a public safety supervisor, each at $7,738 a month ($92,856 annually).

The lowest paid on the list is property management specialist, a $7,233 a month ($86,796 a year), public safety dispatcher, at $6,588 ($79,056 a year); public safety dispatcher (lateral transfer), at $6,588a month ($79,056 a year); and human resources fiscal technician, at $5,966 a month ($71,592 annually).


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