Monday, November 20 , 2017, 1:14 am | Fair 47º

 
 
 
 

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.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >