Capitol Alert: Two Southern Cal cities chagrined about highly paid employees

dwalters@sacbee.comDecember 18, 2013 

State Controller John Chiang at the Capitol Bureau in 2011.

HECTOR AMEZCUA — hamezcua@sacbee.com

Officials in two Southern California cities were chagrined to be singled out this week as having the state's two highest paid municipal employees last year in an annual compilation by state Controller John Chiang - and are blaming a clerical error and one-time anomaly.

Buena Park was listed as No. 1 for paying its city manager $545,394, and a city councilwoman, Elizabeth Swift, contacted Capitol Alert with an explanation. She said the city manager was retiring after 32 years on the city's payroll and cashed out sick leave accumulated during that career, departing with a one-time payment of several hundred thousand dollars.

South Gate was listed as having the state's second highest paid city employee last year, a police sergeant reported as having received $486,044. But on Tuesday, the city informed the controller's office that the city erroneously listed a $33,399 one-time payment to the officer as $339,999 on the reporting form. The officer's total for the year was actually $180,044, acting personnel director Nellie Cobbs said.

The controller's office is changing the South Gate entry, but leaving the one for Buena Park intact.

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