SLO City manager and attorney to get bonuses

May 2, 2016

SLO City Manager Katie LichtigBy KAREN VELIE

San Luis Obispo City staff is recommending the council vote Tuesday to give City Manager Katie Lichtig and City Attorney Christine Dietrick $5,000 retention bonuses, Dietrick’s fifth bonus or raise in five years.

Staff based the requests for bonuses on performance and the average pay of comparable markets in recent years, according to the staff report. Nevertheless, members of the community question the high turnover of upper-level staff under Lichtig’s leadership and the growth of public management salaries under the equal compensation model.

“I am appalled by your resolution to award $5,000 each as retention bonuses to City Manager Katie Lichtig and City Attorney Christine Dietrick,” wrote John Grady in an April 29 letter to the SLO City Council. “Both are already overcompensated for a city of our size. Ms. Lichtig earns $230,464 ($321,201 with benefits) and Christine Dietrick earns $199,844 ($275,278 with benefits).

Christine Dietrick

Christine Dietrick

“By way of comparison, Governer Brown earns $177,466 per year and the mayor of Los Angeles (population 3.8 million) earns $232,426 – a mere $2,000 more than Ms. Lichtig. Kamala Harris, California State Attorney General, earns $158,683,” Grady added.

Finance directors and city clerks have been prone to departing San Luis Obispo after brief stints with the city under the leadership of Lichtig. In the past four years, the city has gone through four finance directors, four city clerks and two police chiefs.

In 2015, the council granted Lichtig a car allowance of $450 a month, or $5,400 annually, and a cash bonus of $7,600. Dietrick received a 7 percent raise that increased her base salary by more than $12,000.

The council voted 4-1 to approve the pay increases and bonuses. Councilman Dan Carpenter dissented. The raise bumped Dietrick’s salary from $175,006 to $187,252.

Previously, Dietrick received a 3.5 percent raise in 2012, followed by a 4.5 percent bump in pay in 2013 and a 4.2 percent salary increase in 2014.

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Tell them sorry but you pay is being dropped to 150K with no benefits, take it or leave it. Somebody out there would love that job!

Mr. Holly

I bet most of these city managers and their cohorts are fully backing the enormous pay raise for the manager of the Cambria Service District. If he is worth over $300,000+ a year to manage 6000 units and have a complete staff to assist him, it may be beyond my imagination what the next round of negotiations will bring up when they start talking comparable pay.? The politicians will give in as these people are their support group to support their political needs. After all, it’s not their money so why should they care.

We need to start caring before rather than after.



Have you completely lost your minds?


They can’t lose something that they never had in the first place.


Retention bonus WOW what other creative ways will staff come up with to give these two over paid employees more money.

I think they should give that to the home owners for staying in Slo and putting up with the depreciation of quality of life in recent years. This city manager and most of the council don’t even listen to the public anymore.

I am willing to wager Dan Carpenter votes NO for the raises.

Dan Carpenter for supervisor


You have to understand in this case “staff” is Lichtig herself. Who else would have control at the top? Sure she hides behind some committee or other, but she’s in charge.

These two are employed by the city council. The council is 100% responsible for their overpay. We need a new Council. Marx must go.


I’m pretty sure the City Manager and City Attorney jobs could be filled in the blink of an eye, so a retention bonus seems kind of silly. Many would gladly give up a higher paying job to get out of crime and traffic to move here. But wait, Lichtig already makes more than our Governor – so why is it that this city over pays everyone???


What are they “retaining” them for? Usually that a desperation move.

Rumor has it Lichtig applied for the manager job in Santa Monica, but, alas, didn’t get it. She should be looking — her welcome in this town is worn out with everybody except the council. Look at her staff turnover! As for the attorney, equally good attys are a dime a dozen.

Jorge Estrada

Comparable markets would index the quality of life for each area. Given the privilege to live here, there should be a cut in pay. I know by contract examples, people will accept less to work and live here. The alternative would be the big city pay that comes with a much larger commute and partial parking compensation.


Bonuses for screwing the taxpayers.


Both of these gals are way overpaid and don’t deserve another raise whatever it’s called.

At some point this frog-leaping of wages to keep up with other cities has to stop; it’s a scam and everyone knows it.

At least Dan Carpenter is doing the right thing and he’ll continue his conservative ways on the Board of Supervisors.

Rich in MB

The Old Comparable pay in Government Scam…

If she doesn’t like her pay and can do better as the City Manager of Bakersfield…well adios, good luck to her.

Is $5000 going to break they City Bank? No…but at some point it all becomes real money and we have to take a stand!


The city residents voted for the sales tax increase knowing full well it was going to go to salaries and benefits so they should not be upset with this, in fact they should be saying these salaries are not high enough.

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