Joe Nelson, The Sun
Neil Nisperos, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Stephen Wall, The Press-Enterprise
Posted: 06/21/16 – 10:09 PM PDT |

Inland public employees aren’t just earning a paycheck, but collecting hefty compensation packages that often dwarf their base salaries, an open-records advocacy group announced Tuesday.

The average 2015 compensation package for full-time county employees was $87,791 in Riverside County and $93,408 in San Bernardino County, according to data released by Transparent California, which has ties to a conservative think tank.

The three highest-compensated county workers were former Riverside County medical director Jerry Dennis ($809,415); former Riverside County assistant sheriff Lee Wagner ($691,489); and San Bernardino County Chief Executive Officer Greg Devereaux ($549,803).


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The group says that, in 2015, Devereaux’s combined salary and benefits were higher than any county CEO in Southern California.

Riverside County CEO Jay Orr received $414,440, and Orange County CEO Frank Kim earned $365,528. In 2014, Los Angeles County CEO Sachi Hamai’s combined salary and benefits totaled $341,912, but the county did not have her compensation for 2015 available Tuesday.

Inland union officials called the data skewed.

“Any so-called report that lumps in the salary of the county chief executive officer with the salary of the average hospital nurse should not be taken seriously,” Esmie Grubbs, Service Employees International Union local 721 Inland region director, said in a statement. “It’s like deriving the average McDonald’s worker salary by including the CEO’s millions right along with the workers who make under $15 per hour!”

The report by “an outside right-wing group” attacks working families who have access to “basic benefits such as sick pay and health insurance,” said Grubbs, whose union represents rank-and-file workers in the city of Riverside and Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

A survey of 45 cities in Riverside and San Bernardino counties shows the average full-time city worker received $127,730 in pay and benefits last year, according to the data from Transparent California.

The group says that, in 2015, the five highest-compensated Inland city workers were: Fontana City Manager Ken Hunt ($453,620); Riverside Assistant Police Chief Christopher Vicino ($433,316); Palm Springs City Manager David Ready ($421,222); Ontario City Manager Al Boling ($419,640); and former Hemet City Manager Wally Hill ($414,163).

The Inland numbers are part of the group’s data release for 379 cities and 42 counties statewide on its website. The group is affiliated with the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a free market think tank. Robert Fellner, Transparent California’s research director, said the group is not against public employees but has been critical of unions that force workers to join them.

Transparent California defines compensation as total wages, plus the employer cost of retirement and health benefits. It includes many forms of pay, including overtime, holidays, longevity, bonuses, clothing, car allowances and cashing in unused vacation or sick pay.

Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren said City Manager Ken Hunt is “doing a phenomenal job” and his compensation is appropriate. Hunt, who has served as city manager since 1999, runs a city with a $250 million annual budget and more than 600 full-time employees and 300 to 400 part-time workers.

With Hunt at the helm, property values and sales tax revenue are climbing and the city is safer, Warren said. There’s more money for parks and other services, she said.

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