Pasadena Budget Shock: City Employees Earn 131% More than Residents

Shocking Pasadena Budget Highlights:
City employees earn 131% (median) more than residents;
69% of full-time employees earn over $100,000/year;
Estimated $1.5 billion pension debt.




Pasadena is sitting on a ticking time-bomb of catastrophic debt and unsustainable spending and taxation.  A recent review of the Pasadena City budget, salaries and pension debt (see facts and solutions below) tell us all we need to know about the City's municipal crisis. 

 

FACTS AND SOLUTIONS

1.    City Employee Salaries & Benefits 2011 to 2015 (TransparentCalifornia.com)

Median pay for full-time city employees has risen 12% from $82,439 to $91,910.

Median pay and benefits for full-time city employees has risen 13% from $110,530 to $124,736.

Meanwhile in 2015, full-time city employees earned 131% more than full-time employed residents:

    City employees:  $124,736    
    Pasadena residents:  $53,916      

Total city overtime pay has risen 38% since 2011:

    2011 - $14.6 million    
    2012 - $14.9 million    
    2013 - $15.6 million    
    2014 - $18.7 million    
    2015 - $20.1 million

 

2.    The City is in Debt  (Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research)

Under the California pension system, taxpayers are obligated to continue paying city employees up to 90% of their salaries for the rest of their lives after they retire.  Consequently, the City has accumulated a catastrophic pension debt.


As of 2015:

CalPERS (the California pension system) says Pasadena taxpayers owe $377.4 million.  This is bad enough, however . . . .      

Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research estimates the debt to actually be closer to $1.5 billion (and growing).

 

3.    City Budget Facts 2011 – 2015 (as reported in the Adopted Budgets on City website)

Year after year, tax revenues increase steadily while the City continues to increase total spending, give lavish raises to city employees and to accrue more and more pension debt.  Yet so often the City claims to be facing "budget shortfalls" and reaches deeper and deeper into the pockets of taxpayers.  The City does not have a revenue problem, it has an spending problem.

Over the last ten years since 2006:

General Fund revenues are up 23% from $182.7 million to $224.2 million     

General Fund expenditures are up 14% from $193.2 million to $219.8 million     

Total revenues are up 22% from $583.6 million to $713.4 million

Total spending is up 6% from $651.2 million to $690.5 million     

There have been large budget surpluses since 2011:

    2011 - $50.2 million     2012 - $57 million     2013 - $40.9 million     2014 - $11.4 million     2015 - $69 million     2016 - $22.9 million 

 

4. TEAPAC solutions for the Pasadena municipal budget crisis:

Enroll new employees into 401(k) type retirement plans and get out of the pension model which puts both city employees and taxpayers at risk

Make paying off the existing pension debt a top spending priority

End income inequality between city employees and the residents of Pasadena

Restructure overtime pay policies

Create tax relief for Pasadena residents

 

5.  2015 Highlights of City Employee Salaries over $90,000  (TransparentCalifornia.com)

Out of 1,455 full-time city employees:

69% make over $100,000 a year

782 city employees earned between $100,000 and $200,000

221 city employees earned between $200,000 and $300,000

7 city employees earned over $300,000

 

Sampling of Highest Pay & Benefits 2015

City Manager -  $394,271
City Attorney - $319,590
Assistant City Manager I - $317,670

Assistant City Manager II - $306,441
Chief Information Officer - $274,532
City Engineer - $269,612
Director of Planning & Development - $264,554
Director of Transportation - $264,225

Director of Library and Information Services - $259,794
Assistant General Manager Water & Power - $253,934
Engineering Manager - $253,501