SLO City Council approves management raises

May 1, 2019

Christine Dietrick


Despite the city’s distressing financial situation, the San Luis Obispo City Council unanimously voted to approved significant pay raises for two management positions. Over the past 15 years, the city’s unfunded pension liabilities have gone from $0 to more than $150 million.

Last month, the SLO City Council approved pay increases for both City Attorney Christine Dietrick and City Manager Derek Johnson, as well as a nearly $11,000 cash bonus for the latter.

At its April 16 meeting, the council gave Dietrick a 5 percent raise, which will bring her base salary to $206,622. Dietrick collects about $300,000 a year in pay and benefits.

Since hiring Dietrick in 2010, the city council has awarded her at least five raises. Dietrick’s base pay has increased about $50,000 over her nearly decade-long tenure as city attorney.

Johnson received a 3 percent raise, which will bring his base salary to $218,374. Additionally, the council granted Johnson a one-time bonus allowing him to cash out 107 hours, or $10,900, of unused vacation time.

Derek Johnson

The council elevated Johnson to the position of city manager in the fall of 2017. That year, he received about $230,000 in salary and benefits, but Johnson worked most of 2017 at a much lower level of pay than he currently earns.

Johnson’s bonus combined with the two raises will add $14,000 to the current fiscal year’s budget, according to a city staff report. The raises will add $16,200 in yearly expenses to future city budgets.

The council approved the raises and bonus despite the city recently incurring a multi-million dollar budget shortfall due to rising pension costs. The staff report states the council considered several factors, including job performance; the desire to keep Dietrick and Johnson; and the fiscal sustainability of the city in deciding to give the two top executives raises.


The big question has finally been answered. Now we know who is guarding the hen house.


Stop whimpering and get your lazy asses to work. You have salaries, pensions and vacations to pay for and you won’t get out of it by whining. You wont get out of it by voting either, the system sustains itself with the rules and regulations etc., legal blah blah blah. They are the ers and you are the ees. Bend over and take it!

Vigilant Citizen

Very disappointing. It’s easy to just say no. When the city is fiscally solvent, then raises can be merited. This is what you get when progressives, socialists and leftist are in power. High debt, high taxes, lower standard of living, widening economic status and hardship. So sad.


And they do what for that money? Their Job? Aren’t they public servants? Making 4 times as much as the average citizen? How is that right? Somebody please tell me!




I believe these folks make more than the governor….way to go!!



We can never give people like Dietrich and Johnson enough, give them everything they want, and more. While it is true that we now have more than $150 million dollars in unfunded pension debt, we must not pop the bubble of the progressive delusion, our future be damned.

Thanks Heidi Harmon, it’s been a pleasure.


You get the government you deserve.


Not my mayor.


Even if it’s a massive Ponzi scheme being replicated all over the country?


There will soon be a plea to raise taxes for the children. Note that we are in a 10 year bull market and their unfunded pension liabilities have ballooned to $150M. Talk about unsustainable. What happens in the next recession?