What City Leader Annual Salaries Cost Per Resident
Officials’ salaries weigh more heavily on the pocketbooks of taxpayers in the county’s smaller cities.
Each year city officials’ salaries cost Del Mar’s 4,543 residents about $43.58 a piece. Del Mar’s City Council members earn $3,600 a year.
San Diego City Council members make more than 20 times as much, but their salaries cost people who live in San Diego just $.73 a year.
For a breakdown of salaries for city leaders on a map of San Diego County, see here.
Scroll over the bars below to see the exact cost per resident for city leader salaries in each San Diego County municipality.
[ Please see Editor's note below ]
Following revelations that the city manager of the small city of Bell in Los Angeles County was paid almost $800,000 a year, KPBS surveyed the salaries of city managers in cities around San Diego County
Their salaries range between $180,000 to $250,000 a year.
In the case of the City of San Diego, the mayor has taken on the executive role of the city manager, but there is a Chief Operating Officer.
All the city managers are paid well over twice as much as the mayor in each city, in some cases as much as twenty times more than the mayor.
Douglas Johnson, a research fellow with the Rose Institute for State and Local Governments, says there’s a reason for that.
“The biggest factor in city manager pay tends to be experience,” Johnson said, “It’s a very, very hard job, and the last numbers I saw from the League of Cities were that the average city manager lasts about two and a half years.”
The highest paid city managers in the county, after the City of San Diego, are the managers of El Cajon and San Marcos, the sixth and eighth largest cities in the county. They earn over $240,000 a year, and have each worked for their respective cities for more than 20 years.