Wage Comparisons

County Wage Comparison 112110

The State Controller’s Office is kind enough to reveal what the paid officials in the counties of California make.  You can look at that data yourself, HERE.

In doing an analysis of the wages of various folks, it is important to remember that there are some difficulties in ensuring a parity for different positions in different counties.  In the small counties in particular, the same person will be department head for several different departments.  When a county has one chair doing Director of Public Works, Director of Planning and Building Inspection and Director of the Road Department, should that person get a combined total of what the three or four or five directors would get in another county, or should that person get only what one would earn while doing 3 jobs?  

Further, many counties have several staff members in support of the director, for example, the two assistant directors of airports who support the director of airports in San Bernardino County.  Should a director in a small county be paid for being his own assistant?

There are other factors which skew an attempt to do a simple analysis, including county wealth, and the presence of large cities.  If Loyalton became suddenly wealthy, it would hire more staff to take tasks currently done by county staff.  If it paid those staff more, it would drive the wages of similar county staff up.  

However, we chose four counties: Sierra County, of course; Trinity County, which has a small population; Plumas County which is our cousin to the north, and San Bernardino County because it has about two million population, and so is very large and relatively wealthy, but not its own state like Los Angeles is.

Accounting for variability in job duties and longevity, it's clear that the small counties are fairly close in wages.  San Bernardino pays much more, their directors have less purview, and there are 50 pages of jobs, as opposed to Sierra County, which has one.

Here is what the simple numbers say:

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