Should a city manager earn more than a governor?

April 15, 2011

City Manager Katie Lichtig

Local activist Kevin Rice is floating the idea of a possible ballot initiative for San Luis Obispo that would curb the salaries of city officials, especially the city manager.

Rice argued in a radio interview earlier in the week that no San Luis Obispo public employee should be paid more than the governor of California. Jerry Brown currently has a salary of slightly higher than $170,000, in contrast to city manager Katie Lichtig who signed on in 2010 with an  annual starting base salary of $221,500.

The proposed law, subject to voter approval, would mandate city salaries remain lower than that of the governor.

“I’m not about to go out and get 6,000 signatures myself, but I’m willing to help out the effort if there’s interest,” said Rice, who admitted that he is uncertain whether or not such a measure could be applied specifically to Lichtig.

Rice has sent out an email with links to the three-bathroom, four bedroom Topanga Canyon home, that Lichtig owns with her husband Mark Loranger, the CEO of Chrysalis, a high-profile nonprofit helping homeless and low income people. Loranger, according to Rice, is well connected with the Hollywood community, tapping into celebrities including Annette Bening and Entourage’s Adrian Grenier.

People interested in finding out more the proposed initiative can contact Rice directly.

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According to IRS form 990 ( Loranger pulls in a hefty 150k per year running the “non-profit”,which received 760k of your tax dollars in 2009.

This is the same person attacking the “greedy” police and fire personnel? What a joke!

Well, pretty bleak. I wonder who actually reviewed her application and caved in to the outrageous demands. I support Kevin’s movement on this and have contacted him to help, I urge others to do that to. But we also need to find out who, why and what happened. In trying times why did we up the salary-we should have lowered it.

All the talk about paying well for high talent seems to me to be a bunch of bull. Look where all the fancy suits put us economically in this country. They were supposed to know what they were doing, bunch of greedy jerks. I think our council blew it, big time.

Apparently, local book keeping and accounting isn’t any better than up at D.C. Take a look:

US: Federals government’s announced budget cut of $38 billion is based on Enron-style accounting. Here are details of actual expenditures.

PPJ Gazettte 2022 Apr 15

She was hired in December of ’09. Are you people just waking up to that fact? Suck it up and try to make your city a better place by getting involved.

Katie is not the highest paid city manager currently in service. The Governor, the former Oakland Mayor, is paid handsomely when compared to Governors across the country.

Does a professional city manager deserve higher compensation than the politically elected Governor of the State? Isn’t that like asking whether a brain surgeon should be paid more than an auto mechanic? Nothing wrong with auto mechanics; some of them provide great service, but you wouldn’t want them mucking around in your cranium. If you want to attract top of the line management personnel, you will need to compensate them well. Members of the Legislature and our Constitutional Officers do not campaign for office to earn high compensation. It is an ego thing. Legislators do not even get retirement benefits; and, they only have a limited “length of career.”…six years for Assembly folks.City Managers usually earn higher education degrees and serve in local government positions for years to learn their trade. A highly motivated professional city manager is worth his or her weight in gold…regardless of what a governor is worth.

JackAs, are you really saying Lichtig deserves her higher than “normal” salary? REALLY? She even deserves her housing allowance & high benefit package? She’s REALLY THAT GOOD? I’ve seen NO evidence of THAT…

I presume the SLO City Council played a large role in selecting and approving the employment contract for City Manager Lichtig.

So the contract allows the SLO city manager to run the town on a day to day basis but does NOT require that she live here. Wasn’t there a big stink about city council member Settle’s SLO residency?

And Shelworth is so right stating “It’s really too bad there wasn’t even one person in all of San Luis Obispo County smart enough to do that job”!

What bothers me more than the actual salary (which trust me, DOES bother me,) is the fact that Katie has a reputation as a manager who flies into town, slashes budgets, them moves on to her next venture before she has to deal with the actual fallout of her decisions. It’s easy to walk into a place and say “we don’t need that, get rid of it,” but it’s a lot harder to realize that since you cut the maintenance budget for the water plant, for example, 5 years down the road you’re still going to be the one responsible for finding a creative solution to pay for the repairs that were put on hold in years 1-4, but NEED to be done in year 5 to ensure the public’s safety.

Our city’s infrastructure is going to fall apart and this crazy is going to ruin the city’s morale.

Marches into town,screws everything up and leaves…sounds like a Walmart commercial in the making.

That certainly says VOLUMES about San Luis Obispo, don’t you think??

Dave Romero must have been sleeping when he looked over the contract.

Lichtig really took the city for everything she could get. I hear morale around city hall is terrible because everyone is suffering while she has such a sweet package.

Nobody working for the city is suffering do to earning a low salary. They’re all receiving a salary and benefits that is higher than the scale afforded in the private sector. If they are suffering it is because they are paying too much attention to what she gets rather than appreciating what they are already getting.

Wait, she doesn’t even live here!? And she has to have a low interest loan because she only makes 221K!? It’s really too bad there wasn’t even one person in all of San Luis Obispo County smart enough to do that job.

Im by no means supporting Katie handsome salary and benefit package, however the city was the one who handed her what she’s getting. Unless she put a gun to somebodies head the city should be held responsible for these bloated deals should they not?

You’re right, the city is ultimately responsible for this absurd contract and that is why we have to enact an initiative that will force them to use better judgment. We “the tax payers” often talk about voting folks out of office but there always seems to be another crony, GOB or incompetent hand shaker waiting to take that empty seat. Kevin has the right idea and this is an excellent start to empowering ourselves and reminding our government who they work for. They are way to foot loose and fancy FREE with our tax dollars while employing a “what are you going to do about it” attitude. I, for one, would like to SHOW THEM what we are going to do about it.

I don’t believe they should be paid on a scale any higher that those in the private sector and the benefits should be on par with those who pay them. They should also be working for us as “at will” employees. Power to the people, I’m in.

I don’t feel that anyone is putting this on her. Who would turn down a job because they were over paid?

“Sorry Mr. Jones, I can’t take the job because I’m not worth that much”.

She’d be a fool not to take the job IMO.

Or she’s got some REALLY good photos of the Mayor and Council!

LOL to this and SLO~Town

Good job Kevin, you’re right, she shouldn’t make that much money. How on earth did she get this job, pure highway robbery. I don’t agree with you on many things but you right on target with this one.