State controller finds more big public employee salaries, including $875,000 for hospital chief
State Controller John Chiang has released a new round of compensation figures for public sector employees, including a Bay Area hospital executive who made about $875,000 in 2009, and a San Gabriel Valley water official who was paid close to $600,000.
Chiang updated his government employee salary database this week, adding data from 539 special districts across the state.
The extensive project has now published compensation figures for over 600,000 city and county employees, and employees of over 1,000 special districts. The project comes during a period of greater scrutiny of government employee compensation following the salary scandal in the city of Bell, where eight officials now face public corruption charges.
Chiang plans to release data for the remaining special districts and for state employees by June, spokesman Garin Casaleggio said.
“Controller Chiang is furthering his commitment to show Californians where their public dollars are being spent,” Casaleggio said.
The latest set of data covers several hundred land reclamation, levee maintenance, health, hospital and local water districts, according to a release from Chiang’s office.
Of the thousands of special district employees whose pay has been released so far, the top earner is the chief executive of the Washington Township Healthcare District, Nancy Farber, who made $873,598 in total wages in 2009. In addition to Farber, four other executives at the Fremont hospital rank among the top 15 most highly paid special district employees listed in the controller’s database so far.
A spokesman for the hospital referred to a statement on its website that defends the executive salaries, saying that the hospital needs to pay market rate to retain “top quality, professional staff.”
Most of the top earners come from other hospital systems, but there were some exceptions. For example, Timothy Jochem, the former chief executive of the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, was paid $583,021 in total wages in 2009.
Peter Rodriguez, a spokesman for the district, said that the figure reflected a buyout that Jochem was paid when he left the district that year. Jochem has since died.
In addition to total wages, Chiang’s database details each employee’s base salary, retirement formula and deferred compensation. Casaleggio said that every county and all but six cities had submitted reports for the project. Of the special districts, 183 have failed to file reports and 92 have filed noncompliant reports and could face a $5,000 penalty.
The next set of data, planned for release in April, will cover a variety of public agencies including electric utilities and flood control districts.
-- Sam Allen
Photo: John Chiang. Credit: L.A. Times