Tuesday, January 23 , 2018, 8:46 pm | Fair 52º


Local News

Santa Barbara City Council Boosts City Administrator Paul Casey’s Salary 1.4%

The Santa Barbara City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to give City Administrator Paul Casey a 1.4-percent pay increase, to $271,866 annually.

The increase brings his biweekly salary to $10,456.39.

The council approved the item as part of its consent calendar, without any discussion.

Tom Widroe, president of City Watch, a government watchdog group, urged the council to consider the big picture of escalating government salaries and benefits. Widroe said he didn’t want to “quibble” with Casey’s salary increase because “Paul works hard” and cares about the city.

“There’s nothing wrong with paying people a competitive salary,” Widroe said. “The question is how should they be compensated in retirement.”

Widroe said government salaries and benefits far exceed comparable jobs in the private sector. He said the collective value of pensions is “squeezing out necessary public services.”

Widroe said there’s a problem when some government employees can retire at 50, and collect 90 percent of their salaries for the rest of their lives. “When people can retire at 50, you have a serious problem, an unsustainable problem. The chickens are coming home to roost.”

He pointed to the fact that the city has a 1-percent sales tax increase on the ballot this November to help fund infrastructure.

Santa Barbara has a population of about 92,000.

“It is a bit of a transfer of people’s hard earned money to people’s retirement,” Widroe said.

“The math doesn’t work. It is upside down. You have to think about the bigger picture.”

Casey’s salary does not appear to be out of scale with other local city managers. Casey oversees 10 departments and more than 1,000 employees. The increase is also retroactive to Feb. 4.

Ventura city manager Mark Watkins makes $246,691. Ventura has a population of about 110,00 people.

Goleta City Manager Michelle Greene collects a $222,500. Goleta has a population of about 30,000.

Santa Maria has a population of about 106,000; City Manager Rick Haydon earns $231,950.70.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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