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Hospital officials are California's top-paid public employees. Does that make sense?

March 29, 2011 |  7:40 am

Talk back LA

In the wake of the Bell salary scandal, state Controller John Chiang created a database showing public employee salaries. The database has grown and now includes compensation figures for all employees of California cities and counties and many of its special districts.

Three hospital district executives have emerged as among the highest-paid public employees in California, according to the database, including an official in San Diego County who made more than $1 million in 2009.

Hospitals The salary survey comes after public outrage over the high compensation of some city officials, including former Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo, who was set to earn more than $1.5 million in 2010. The Times also found that Vernon's onetime city administrator, Eric T. Fresch, earned $1.65 million in 2008.

But hospital officials and their advocates tell The Times' Sam Allen that it's important to put the salaries of the hospital directors in context, given the complexity of their jobs and the fact that they are in great demand in the private sector. "You've got to look at what the market demands," said Jim Lott, executive vice president of the Hospital Assn. of Southern California. "This is not your typical government job; a hospital CEO in the public sector is extremely sought after."

What do you think? Share your thoughts below.