Raises pending for SLO council, manager and attorney

April 11, 2014

slo city hallBy JOSH FRIEDMAN

Each member of the San Luis Obispo City Council, as well as the city manager and city attorney could receive pay raises in the coming weeks.

This week the council is holding closed session meetings in which they are considering bumps in pay for both City Manager Katie Lichtig and City Attorney Christine Dietrick. Next week, the council will choose whether to grant themselves raises of up to $6,000 a year.

Lichtig is currently in her fifth year as city manager. She has never received a raise in San Luis Obispo, and she did take a cut in benefits after asking her staff to reduce its pay. Still, Lichtig makes more than $300,000 annually in total compensation.

Dietrick makes nearly $250,000 in total compensation. She received raises each of the last two years, even though the city lost a costly lawsuit and its legal liability insurance expenses spiked.

If the council chooses to increase the pay of either Lichtig or Dietrick, it must do so in open session.

At the upcoming April 15 council meeting, city staff will recommend that council member salaries increase from $1,000 a month to $1,200 a month and that the mayor’s salary increase from $1,200 a month to $1,500. The recommendation comes from a council compensation committee consisting of a former councilman, a personnel board representative and three members of the public.

Under the proposal, the annual base salaries of council members would increase from $12,000 to $14,400. The mayor’s annual salary would increase from $14,400 to $18,000.

The compensation committee is also suggesting that the council grant itself the option to opt out of taking health benefits and instead receive additional pay. The proposal would allow council members to receive $200 a month, or $2,400 annually, if they choose to forgo their medical, dental and vision coverage.

Including the health benefit opt out pay, total council member compensation would increase $4,800, and the mayor’s total pay would increase $6,000 under the current proposal.

Of the current council members, only Councilwoman Kathy Smith and Councilman John Ashbaugh received more than $1,000 worth of health benefits last year. Smith’s 2013 health plan cost $5,772 and Ashbaugh’s cost $15,204.

Ashbuagh was the highest compensated council member in San Luis Obispo County last year. Including regional board pay, he received nearly $30,000 in total compensation

In January, Ashbaugh told CalCoastNews that he would oppose an increase in council pay if the compensation committee recommended one. He previously took a pay cut proportional to the one city staff accepted.

Last year, Mayor Jan Marx received $17,933.90 in total compensation from the city of San Luis Obispo, according to figures compiled by the human resources department. Smith received $20,607.64 in total pay, and Councilman Dan Carpenter received $11,410.96. Councilwoman Carlyn Christianson, who joined the council in July, received $6,939.97.

In Feb. 2013, Andrew Carter left the council to become city administrator of Guadalupe. In his final three full years on the council, Carter averaged about $30,000 a year in total compensation.

When polled by the city on whether or not he found council pay to be appropriate, he suggested that council members receive about $40,000 a year in base salaries. Carter recommended that the city pay its mayor $50,000 to $60,000 a year in base salary.

Carter wrote on a questionnaire that he spent at least 40 hours a week on council business and, at times, 60 hours or more a week. Other past council members and mayors who filled out the questionnaire stated on average that they would spend 20 to 30 hours a week conducting council business.

In addition to proposing the boost in council pay, the compensation committee also recommended increases for planning commissioners and members of the Architectural Review Commission. The compensation committee suggested raising pay for planning and architectural review commissioners from $50 a meeting to $60 a meeting.


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The former snubbing of the victims of Pearl Harbor by refusing to fly the city flag at half staff on Pearl Harbor Day is enough to warrant them NEVER getting a raise…EVER.

Makes sense to not fly the flag at half staff, they never got permission to fly it over Marxland.

A raise? Ya, I’ll give them a raise. Have them all line up and bend over and I’ll give ’em a raise they’ll never forget.

Raise. What a bunch of pathetic flakes.

There is seriously something wrong with this City Council and management. We have a City Council that hired, supports and encourages the actions of their management staff.

We have Katie Licktig who after five years still has not committed herself to living in a community that supports her lifestyle in Beverly Hills for $300,000 annually (includes benefits). Does she use a City vehicle to go back and forth? Under her leadership almost all the department heads have been replaced and in some cases transferred to different positions and are not the quality we, who have deal with the City for years, are use to working with. They are evasive, uninformed in most areas and need to further research (meaning they need to ask the boss) when approached with an issue or pressed for a decision The Planning Dept. has a manager that most employees would certainly not give boss of the year award too, Public Works Director in a community meeting was so ill prepared he could not tell the citizens one project that Measure Y has completed using these funds, Human Services Director (Katie Licktig’s landlady) has gone along with hiring Christine Dietrick’s (City Attorney) brother, for which he absolutely no background experience in, so he could gain the experience when the position opened, which was delayed for his purpose. Then, the position finally opened, he tested and couldn’t even pass the test. Now the City has created another position for him to do job hiring on.

Then, we have all the incidents of these high paying employees because they are the best, brightest, smartest candidates and we need then:

1. Christine Dietrick lost case over ticketing the homeless (cost the taxpayers $$$$).

2. Christine Dietrick lost case over binding arbitration (cost the taxpayers $$$$).

3. Fireman/Paramedic Mason attacks person on a bar, but on desk duty (cost the taxpayers $$$$)

4. Public Works employee sells City employee makes a $2000 profit (cost the taxpayers $$$$)

5. Two Police Officers charged and convicted of drug dealing get paid time off until convicted (cost the taxpayers $$$$)

6. Water Conservation City employee solicits clients using City Services on City time for his private conservation business (no action taken)

7. City Transportation staff purchase a two tier bus that can’t assess most City streets (cost the taxpayers $$$$ – includes Federal Funds, still taxpayers)

8. Public Works employee Bud Nance has staff throw chemicals in Corp Yard ground. City Attorney, Fire Marshall, City Management, conclude this was not an issue, no further action (cost the taxpayers $$$$ in time, hearings, documentation, etc.)

9. City creates 17 new positions, most in management, under Jan Marx’s leadership (cost to taxpayers $$$$)

10. Fire Chief dies playing baseball after hours and his spouse gets Worker’s Comp (Fire Chief was already receiving full retirement benefits from City of Los Angeles Fire Department) (cost to taxpayers $$$$).

These are just a smidgen of the problems involving a group of 300 plus employees under the leadership of Jan Marx and the City Council and Katie Licktig. I which the employee should take a vote of confidence on Katie Licktig, then we would know the real truth.

Citizens of San Luis Obispo should not vote to give these people one extra penny. They do not know how to manage staff, money or projects.



Great overview of whY Measure Y is a no. Couple corrections, Bud Nance is in wastewater collections in Utilities. After this guy directed his staff to dump the hazardous materials at the back of the corporation yard – couple idiots with no common sense, the city then hired the idiots son and get this Kelly Gearhart’s useless son. The City then paid these guys full salary and on top of that, paid them to get the necessary training to secure the required certifications – yes all on tax payer money.

Five fingers who misappropriated the city property, after this was rewarded under Katie and received over $20k in over time the next year. Get this, this is not the first thing that he took from the City yard and resold – call the scrap metal dealer in Nipomo – he was a repeat client – it was all city property.

Next, the guy who was charging residents for his services also worked for utilities and get this he is a supposedly a Christian – if he is any reflection of being a Christian then what would an atheist do. He preaches at a local church now every week – preaching the holy word to unsuspecting members of the congregation. I hope they keep him away from the donation plate?????

Lastly, the guy in Community Development you mentioned was one of the top level bosses forced to resign in Santa Barbara. The fall out in Santa Barbara cost tax payers millions. The County of Ventura following the abusive bullying tactics that occurred in Santa Barbara conducted a Grand Jury investigation and then removed several high ranking staff in that county, so that they could avoid lawsuits and claims like Santa Barbara. In fact, in Santa Barbara staff turnover was so high while this guy was there that they ran position announcements for that department continuously.

So, Dietrick screws up and what do you know admin rewards her by hiring her worthless brother-in-law. Has anyone done a background check on him – it is telling

What a fiasco, but that has always been the SLOw way

So, now we know why the City wants Measure Y – to give top management and council raises. Lets not forget the stellar job the Christine Dietrick has done for us: (1) Recommendations on the homeless issues in SLO that resulted in a judgment against the city for several hundred thousand dollars, (2) Professional recommendations on negotiations with Fire and PD in regards to Measure A / B which resulted in yet another decision against the City which will result in binding arbitration being reinstated, (3) termination of numerous employees resulting in numerous lawsuits against the city for hundreds of thousands of dollars and lets not forget her professional comments to the press and recommendations to staff in regards to the intentional dumping of hazardous waste on City property that resulted in a black eye for the City. Remember when Measure Y was voted in, the funds were simply used to back fill funds that were reallocated for staff pay raises. Remember these are the highest paid government employees in the county. Raises, are you *&($#*($# kidding me – how about a reduction by say 40% that would be a start.

I wonder why the tribune doesn’t have this as their headline in 3 inch type? (sarcasm).

In the private sector, we make more money by increasing our market value though sales growth or higher demand for our services. Government grows with a majority vote and the growth never ceases.

Why do they not comprehend that this is a potential concern. Washington DC has become the equivalent of Panem from the Hunger Games in the past 20 years. Little SLO needs to try to keep pace,

These kinds of decisions need to be taken away from these people……..

That poor lady, how can you possibly live in San Luis Obispo on only 300K?

Oh you can survive in SLO on $300K per year but she chooses to live in Beverly Hills and commute almost 400 miles/wk so she needs more. The question is: does SLO need her — at any price?

No, but Jan Marx does!

Obviously she cannot, that’s why she does not live in San Luis Obispo.

Think about this: In 2012, the Governor of the State of California’s salary was 165,000 per year! Vote no on any tax increases in SLO.

I’ve always wanted public employee pay to be directly tied to the average pay of the citizens whose wealth they confiscate in order to pay themselves.