Hundreds of California’s state employees earn more than $240,000
July 6, 2011
More than 500 of California’s public service workers earned more than $240,000 before taxes in 2010, according to data released Tuesday by state Controller John Chiang. [San Francisco Chronicle]
As legislators last year worked feverishly to reduce spending in the state’s budget, hundreds of workers in the public sector were receiving earnings of six-figures, far exceeding their base salaries.
At least nine of the state’s employees made more than $500,000 last year, most of them prison doctors and other medical staff. The top 10 earners combined brought in more than $5.8 million in 2010.
Chiang released the figures on his website but did not include names. Chiang’s database cites the top earner as a prison surgeon who received $777,423 before taxes for his services.
The inflated income was the result of payouts to retiring employees who racked up extensive paid time off over the years, as well as monies received from bonuses and lawsuits.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported March that the state regularly makes six-figure payouts to retiring employees because managers do not enforce caps on the amount of paid time off that an employee can amass.
Statewide, medical employees in the prison system took home the most compensation. Many of these workers are overseen by a federal receiver, a position that was created in 2006 to manage the state’s sub-par prison healthcare system, which at the time led to the unnecessary deaths of about 50 inmates a year. The first receiver gave large raises to most workers under his supervision, arguing the state could not otherwise attract qualified medical staff.