Head of a California Town Made $933,000 in 2020, Dwarfing LA Mayor

A city manager in Fontana, California, a working-class town about an hour’s drive east of Los Angeles, made nearly $933,000 last year, more than the mayors of the state’s biggest cities.

The manager made about $68,000 in regular pay and more than $864,000 in lump sum and other compensation, according to a report released by state Controller Betty Yee on Tuesday.

By comparison, the mayors of California’s three largest cities -- Los Angeles, San Diego and San Jose -- made $529,000 combined. Governor Gavin Newsom made $270,000 in 2019, the most recent year with data available.

A spokeswoman for the city said she couldn’t immediately comment on the pay.

Fontana’s manager only scored a second-place finish overall. California’s highest-paid municipal worker was an anesthesiologist for Los Angeles County who made almost $1.2 million. All of the other top 10 earners were physicians.

The state controller began releasing employee data a decade ago following a scandal in the city of Bell.

Fontana, with a population of about 214,500, is a former steel town that evolved into a transportation hub for warehouses and distribution companies located in the region. Its median household income was $72,918 from 2015 to 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

While Fontana had the single highest-paid city employee in the state, the city of Vernon, a small industrial town south of Los Angeles, had the highest average city employee compensation, the controller said.

The use of funds may not sit well with a labor market recovering from the pandemic. About 1.2 million fewer people were employed in California in May, compared with the pre-Covid 19 level.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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