However, and even though the information we supply is as completely accurate as we can possibly make it, apparently City Hall's preferred way of responding to what gets said here is to quietly, and certainly from well beyond our earshot, tell people that it is not. Without supplying any actual proof, of course. As an example, here is the more unfortunate portion of an email I received from a concerned resident:
"City management / employee stated last night in the beer garden that the Tattler's posting of city salaries and health benefits are all inflated!"
While I am cheered that this particular city employee spent some quality time kicking it at the 4th of July Parade Beer Garden, and did seem to have had a fine time, the fact is that this person was badmouthing some of the reporting here. And in a way that can only be described as untrue.
Hopefully the taxpayers won't be charged back $3,000 for the time it took this person to consume a couple of Bud Lites, but you never know. This was a city event and we are talking about a city employee. You know what their time costs.
Anyway, I figured I should set the record straight. Here is what the City Hall employee was referring to when chatting with our willing informant at the Beer Garden. The following is taken from a late June article we posted here called "Are You Really Worth Only Half the Pay a Sierra Madre Police Officer Makes?"
The point we made is that SMPD Sergeants are making about twice the amount in total compensation that an average Sierra Madre family takes home. Something that a few in town might think is financially a bit out of whack.
However, if you don't believe either me or Transparent California, you can go to the website of California State Controller Betty T. Yee and find the exact same numbers. Once again, the most recent numbers available are from 2013.
Here are the numbers for the most highly compensated of the four SMPD Sergeants, Enrique Gonzales (link):
So there you go. Add up the $133,297 in total wages, plus the $52,058 in retirement and health care benefits, and you will arrive at the exact same total compensation figure of $185,355.00 that we posted on June 23rd. The number the City Hall employee characterized in the Beer Garden as being "all inflated."
According to the California State Controller's Office, in 2013 the Top 12 most paid Sierra Madre Police Department employees all received very handsome six figure compensation amounts.
The combined total amount of compensation for these 12 officers comes to $1,817,882.00. According to Betty Yee, that is out of a total compensation figure coughed up by Sierra Madre taxpayers of $7,189,869.00. Or about 25% of everything this city spends on employee compensation for its entire workforce of 205 employees.
So why do they make so much more than you do? Why is it these 12 individuals take home so huge a portion of Sierra Madre's yearly General Plan budget? Why are other departments such as the library being forced to cut head count or even shut down altogether while these guys continue to rake it in?
I don't know the answer to that. It makes absolutely no sense. Yet Councilmembers Goss and Harabedian seem willing to do whatever it takes to defend this arrangement. Including raise your utility taxes to a state leading rate of 12%.
We have one more question for you today. Who do you believe more, the State Controller of California and Transparent California, or a City Hall employee who perhaps had a wheat soda or two too many in the 4th of July Parade Beer Garden?
Please give this some thought before you answer.