City salaries spark resident comments

Auburn officials on lower end of pay scale
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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Although several Auburn city management staff are making more than $100,000 annually, most of them are making substantially less than the same positions in neighboring cities. Local residents have differing opinions on the discrepancies. City manager Auburn City Manager Bob Richardson has an annual base salary of $132,372. He also receives $1,860 in deferred compensation every year. Deferred compensation is similar to a 401K, and employees can’t access the funds until their employment with the city ends. Richardson has an annual auto allowance of $4,800. The city pays $12,814 of his salary toward his CalPERS pension annually. The city pays $21,661 for his health benefits annually. Lincoln City Manager James Estep has an annual base salary of $236,392. His additional annual city-paid benefits include an $8,400 auto allowance, $35,177 CalPERS contribution and $17,342 health insurance. Rocklin City manager Carlos Urrutia is an hourly-retired annuitant. He receives $107,433 if he works the maximum 960 hours he is allowed per fiscal year. The city also pays $5,400 for his deferred compensation annually. Urrutia is also currently making $180,203 annually through his CalPERS pension. So his total compensation is close to $300,000 annually, though he works half-time. Roseville City Manager Ray Kerridge has an annual base salary of $237,000. The city pays an annual $21,330 in deferred compensation and his annual health benefits total $13,221. The city also pays $23,660 for his CalPERS annually. Richardson said his daily duties revolve around making City Council decisions a reality, controlling the operations of the city and assisting the City Council in its strategic long-term decision making. Richardson declined to comment on whether or not he planned to retire in Auburn or eventually seek employment in another city, but said there were a couple of reasons why he wanted to move from San Diego County to Auburn. “It’s a wonderful community to raise my family in, and it posed a very strong professional challenge,” Richardson said. When asked if he wanted to comment on his salary, Richardson commented on city officials as a whole. “From a comparison point of view, compensation levels for all of our very professional staff are low,” he said. “We have been fortunate to be able to obtain a very good group of successful staff.” Police chief Auburn Police Chief Valerie Harris has an annual salary of $133,349. The city pays $600 in deferred compensation, $25, 461 for CalPERS and $20,093 for health benefits. Lincoln Police Chief Joel Neves is an hourly-retired annuitant. Neves can work a maximum of 960 hours in a year, and makes $70,406 if he works that number of hours. Neves is also making $167,991annually through his CalPERS pension. While retired and working half-time, referred to as double-dipping, Neves takes home more than $230,000 annually. Rocklin Police Chief Mark Siemens is also an hourly-retired annuitant, and is allowed a maximum of 960 hours per fiscal year. He currently makes $91,334 if he works all those hours. He receives an annual $1,200 cell phone allowance and $3,324 in deferred compensation. Siemens is also making $158,101 annually through his CalPERS pension. Because he works part-time and receives his pension, his total annual compensation is $253,959. Roseville Police Chief Michael Blair has an annual salary of $177,948. The city pays an annual $3,322.68 for his health benefits, and he does not take medical insurance from the city. The city also pays $66,264 annually toward his CalPERS account. Fire chief Auburn Fire Chief Mark D’Ambrogi has an annual salary of $122,200. The city also pays an annual $600 in deferred compensations for D’Ambrogi as well as $23,332 toward his CalPERS pension and $20,649 in health benefits. Lincoln Fire Chief David Whitt has an annual salary of $151,267. The city pays $30,374 toward his CalPERS pension annually and $18,082 in health benefits. Rocklin Fire Chief Bill Mikesell has an annual salary of $189,888. The city pays for a $1,200 annual cell phone allowance, $64,360 toward his CalPERS pension, $3,600 in deferred compensation and $15,072 in health benefits. Roseville Fire Chief Kenneth Wagner has an annual salary of $179,373. The city pays $15,165 for his benefits and $66,061 for CalPERS. City clerk Auburn City Clerk Joe Labrie is an elected official. He receives an annual salary of $3,240. The city pays a $5,219 medical in-lieu payment as well as $2,786 in health benefits. Auburn Assistant City Clerk Amy Lind is a city staff member. She receives an annual $53,290 salary. The city pays $8,889 toward her CalPERS account and $8,164 for her annual health benefits. Lincoln City Clerk Patricia Avila has an annual salary of $79,747. The city pays $11,460 toward her CalPERS pension annually as well as $6,756 in health benefits. Rocklin City Clerk Barbara Ivanusich receives an annual salary of $90,300. The city pays an annual $1,200 auto allowance, $2,700 medical incentive, $6,000 in deferred compensation, $16,078 for CalPERS and $1,956 in health benefits. Roseville City Clerk Sonia Orozco has an annual salary of $138,814. The city pays $18,920 for her annual health benefits and $29,539 toward her CalPERS account. City Council Auburn’s highest city-cost City Council members are Councilman Dr. Bill Kirby and Councilman Keith Nesbitt. They receive $3,240 annually. The city pays $5,219 medical in-lieu payments as well as $2,818 in health benefits. All City Council members receive the same salary and vary in the health coverage they accept. Mayor Tom Cosgrove is the highest paid City Council member in Lincoln. He has an annual salary of $8,460. The city pays $1,129 for City Council CalPERS and $6,987 in health benefits for those who take all benefits. Cosgrove takes health benefits for two people. All other City Council members make $7,860 annually and vary in how they take health benefits. City Council members in Rocklin make $7,800 annually. They don’t receive any other benefits. In Roseville, City Council members make an annual $7,200, except for Mayor Gina Garbolino who makes $7,800 annually. Roseville City Council members don’t receive any health benefits. Council members receive an annual $420 cell phone allowance. Community reactions When the Journal asked local residents what they thought of the salary amounts, those who answered had mixed opinions. “I think it’s bananas,” said Auburn resident Chelsea Boyer. “It is a lot of money. Auburn resident Bri Cortez said she wished the money could be used differently. “I think it could go to different programs,” Cortez said. “I don’t really think they should be making this much.” Abby Zubov, who lives in Newcastle but works in San Francisco, said she only thought a few of the salaries were over the top. “The … one I think is high is the city manager for Roseville,” Zubov said. “I think council members shouldn’t get anything.” Zubov said she thinks Harris’ salary is low but that the city clerk in Rocklin is making too much. Zubov said most of the other city salaries seemed to be reasonable. Rocklin resident Diane Hudson said it wasn’t the salaries that bothered her. “Here is what is killing us: their retirements,” Hudson said. “That retirement amount is well beyond what our country can afford.” Reach Bridget Jones at