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L.A. council's salaries are highest among 15 key cities, new study finds

Compared with their legislative counterparts in key major cities nationwide, members of the Los Angeles City Council draw the highest salaries, are least likely to be first-termers and represent the largest population per council seat.

Those are among the findings of a new study by the Pew Charitable Trusts that compares councils in 15 cities at a time when the recession and its aftermath have battered the finances of many local governments. The study looks at issues such as budgets, staffing, salaries, tenure and representation of African Americans and Latinos.

The study found that Los Angeles has the nation’s highest average salary -- $178,789 -- for its 15 council members. San Antonio has the lowest, at just $1,400.

Pay differences, the study noted, reflect a wide varieties of conditions, rules and histories in the various cities, and the fact that some council positions are considered part time. Los Angeles is one of two cities that bar members from supplementing their official pay, the study noted.

Los Angeles also ranked as the city with the greatest population per council seat, about 255,000. That compares with about 164,000 per seat in New York and 57,000 in Chicago. That’s because the size of city councils varies widely, the study found, with New York’s body having the most members at 51, Chicago the second most at 50 and Los Angeles coming in a distant third with 15. San Diego has the fewest members, eight.

The study found that, generally, African Americans were overrepresented on city councils studied and Latinos were underrepresented. Those trends held up in Los Angeles, where 20% of the members are African American (who constitute about 10% of the city’s population), and one-third of council members have Latino ancestry in a city that is almost 50% Latino.

Across all 15 councils, the study found, more than one-third of members were serving their first terms at the end of 2010. The percentage in Los Angeles was 13%, the lowest among the 15 cities. Eight of the 15 cities, including Los Angeles, impose term limits on service, ranging from six to 12 years.


List shows salaries of some top California officials

NFL stadium plan meets with questions, some skepticism from L.A. City Council

-- Patrick J. McDonnell at Los Angeles City Hall.

Comments () | Archives (26)

So...Mr/Mrs. Councilman...how about you take a 10% reduction in pay! practice what you preach.

180k?, ahem, for what exactly?

The same L.A. City Council members who wonder why were in the financial trouble we're in. Look in the mirror...

L.A. government sucks and I live here. Their pay should be no more than the average citizen makes. Better yet, since it's Public SERVICE it should be a volunteer position, unpaid, part time.

And yet the L.A. city council is letting the city go bankrupt while they lay off employees and install mandatory furloughs. The also want to cut the police and fire budgets yet they won't take a significant cut themselves. Instead they are trying to go after police, DWP and Fire employees pensions to try to fix their mistakes and problems. The study didn't mention their benefits package, their city vehicle(s) and their discretionary funds they each have to spend of what ever they choose. These clowns need to be fired for there mismanagement of the city.

And they tell us the city is having financial problems. Talk about overpaid, underworked, corrupt public servants.

What! No Kidding! And here I thought they were all sharing in the sacrifices all the other City workers were taking part in! And for all that, they can't even show up for the meetings!

This seems a bit excessive for a state and city that are broke. What do they do that REALLY deserves this kind of salary? Really?

Yes, they are the highest paid, and they are stripping all other city departments of needed money and resources.

Each council member gets a huge salary, numerous cars, a slush fund and a large staff.

yes and they are also part time workers !!So almost all of them have another job or practice!
The most corrupt lazy city council in the nation!!

It doesn't just end there. LA City Council members get free gas for their free vehicles that are repaired for free at the Civic Center, and which enable the council members to tool around town for free with their huge, free staffs of roughly 20 to 25 aides all paid by taxpayers, not to mention their free, "discretionary," money pots that each council member privately controls. They also do not pay for any kind of moving violations or parking tickets.
I have never been able to reach my councilman because they were usually at some celebrity events, cutting a ribbon for yet another obscure subway, or having to listen to all the whack jobs who visit the council chamber.

Let's compare apples to oranges!

Chicago has 50 Aldermen. New York has 51 Council Members. LA has 15.

Did the Pew study on Council Salaries include a breakdown on the methodology used to determine the pay level of the Council Members? It is important to note that in Los Angeles the City Council pay rate is set by the Charter to be the same as Superior Court Judges who receive bonus pay of $51,000 per year per Judge from the County Board of Supervisors on top of their State salaries.

Did the Pew study report additional salaries paid from other government bodies such as Community Redvelopment Agencies such as ocurred in the City of Bell? And did the Pew report if L A Council Members are also getting $51,000 bonus payments equal to those received by the Superior Court Judges.

When Marie Antoinete was told that the poor had no bread, she responded, "then let them eat cake". For that, she lost her head, literally. I see alot of similarities here, and while I'm not advocating violence, it does make you stop and go hmmmm.

Remember Business 101, folks. You have to pay a ton of money to recruit and retain the best people. Or in this case, you have to be stupid to keep re-electing these same clowns again and again.

American Greed, retired,la city council Bernard Parks, $268k Lapd pension, $179k CC, plus perks, refuses to take a CC paycut to save orhers from losing their job/s. John North channel9 is the only media to cover this story.

Let's compare apples to oranges...
How about if council provides service unilaterally, to all constituents, instead of to just those who contribute to their campaign. How about council and their staff take furloughs. How about council reduce their budgets; use their own vehicles and get reimbursed for mileage; use their own cell phones and get reimbursed for city related calls. How about Council & THE MAYOR STOP SPENDING!!!

And let's keep in mind, folks...these are the very same people that have imposed furlough time on what they consider "non-essential" personnel...like the city's 911 emergency operators, the detention officers that staff the jails, the mechanics that keep the police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks working - oh, and the same ones that approved the rolling closures of area fire stations. But let's not touch THEIR salaries, staff, goodies, per diems, slush funds, vehicles, and any other perks that come with their fiefdoms. They have already severely impacted public safety with their decisions, and with the new fiscal year starting July 1, stand by for them to decide that public safety will be slashed even further. But by this time, the furor over their bloated salaries, perks, and basic mismanagement of the city will have been forgotten.

And let's not forget the "loans" made to their developer buddies:

From a Times article dated 5/29/10 - "The Los Angeles City Council has approved a $19.3 million loan to help a real estate developer complete Midtown Crossing, a Mid-City retail complex where a Lowe's home improvement store is planned.

The loan, approved on Friday, would be paid back with 49 percent of city's share of sales tax, business tax and utility taxes that will be generated once the project is completed.

Councilmen Dennis Zine and Paul Krekorian voted against the loan, with Zine pointing out those revenues would normally have gone into the city's general fund, which pays for public safety, parks and libraries.

Zine also objected to the real estate developer, CIM Group, saying it had failed to deliver on several projects in his district. "

This is not the only "loan" the Council has made...

While the Mayor takes credit for the Hard work that traffic engineers do in Dept of Transportation. He and all the council members are overpaid. Keep threatening us with layoffs, more furloughs, raising our insurance and retirement contributions, while you selfish punks keep cashing in.

How about our raises and cost of living you jerks. Mayor is a disaster.

Well, that explains why they have been so quite over Bell. This is way too much for what they do, which is basically spend other people money. They are laying off teachers, firemen and cops but they they will not cut their salaries or get rid of illegals. I suppose it boils down to business as usual - keep the masses busy wondering where their next pay check is coming from while we do the dirty and do everything we can to make more from the suckers. No, this needs to be handled right now and the people should use their sovereignty and call for these people to either step down or take drastic pay, benefits and perks cuts immediately. It is disgraceful they waste our money, spend into oblivion and then expect us to keep their lifestyles while we have vets living on the streets. They should hang their heads in shame and am willing to bet there are more disgraceful overts living in their closets.

They do not and never have represented me!

I wonder how much the bail out bankers get as an average salary? Do you expect council official to get chump change as a salary?

Qualified people should always be well paid and local taxes should be stuffed down the throat of self employed malcontents expecting to get the state infrastructure for free and who hire people educated through the publically financed school system on minimum wage.

I think it is time for a recall measure for the council and make it part time without the benefits. While we are at it the legislature needs to be part time too. Slash and burn. Get the opportunity for corruption out of the system by minimizing the financial benefit of being in these positions. No more lobbyists no more influence peddling and maybe we will see some that truly want to serve for the common good. Think of all of the more that will be saved in the city and state budgets not supporting these bloated ineffectual politicians.

Wow.... guess Randy Newman isn't the only one singing:
From the South Bay to the Valley
>From the West Side to the East Side
Everybody's very happy
'Cause the sun is shining all the time
Looks like another perfect day

I love L.A. (We love it) L.A City Council !
I love L.A. (We love it) L.A City Council !

How long must you be a resident of Los Angeles before you can run for council? This is better than running for Congress or the Senate with not as many people in your district to campaign for the vote. Thanks for the tip.

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