Average Turlock Employee Earns $44k, Plus Benefits

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The average City of Turlock employee earns roughly twice what the average Turlocker earns, according to a new state report.

The annual City Government Salary Survey, released by California State Controller John Chang, details compensation for workers employed by cities, counties, and special districts across California.

Turlock, with a population of 69,888 people, employs 575 city workers – 121 residents per city employee. The average wage for a City of Turlock employee is $44,220, plus $18,851 in health and retirement costs.

In contrast, according to the U.S. Census, the median household income from 2007 to 2012 was $50,862.

The average per capita income, which is derived by dividing the total income of all Turlockers over age 15 by the total population, was $22,289 – about half of what the average city employee is paid in salary alone.

In addressing the disparity between citizens' income and City of Turlock employee wages, Turlock Mayor John Lazar said the city must offer compensation which is competitive with cities of similar size.

“We are not overpaying or underpaying, and in order to attract the best and brightest to work for Turlock we offer competitive pay,” Lazar said. “In terms of quality of service and quality of life here in Turlock we have a very good staff and representation. We are all spokes on the wheel.”

Lazar also mentioned that through the Mayor's Economic Development Task Force, the city is working to improve job opportunities for the citizens of Turlock.

In total, Turlock taxpayers pay about $25.5 million each year for city employee salaries. A further $10.8 million goes toward employee retirement and healthcare costs.

Cities of similar size and geographic location like Merced, Madera and Lodi all pay similar average city worker salaries. Madera, population 63,040, pays $42,477 in average salary and $20,623 in retirement and health cost. Lodi, population, 62,930, pays $41,683 and $17,648. Merced, population 80,599, pays more than Turlock at $57,304 in salary and $21,725 in benefits.

The biggest disparity between those like cities comes among the top paid employees.

The two highest paid City of Turlock employees are City Manager Roy Wasden, who makes $218,437 per year and $57,625 in total retirement and healthcare cost, and City Attorney Phaedra Norton, who makes $201,995 a year and $55,051 in benefits. No other comparable cities had city managers or city attorneys earning within $30,000 of what Wasden is paid.

The report lists 49 City of Turlock employees who make over $100,000 a year. The vast majority of those are higher ranking or tenured police and fire personnel, along with numerous city administrative officials.

Three other City of Turlock employees make more than $150,000 a year, including the Police Chief, the Municipal Services Director and the Technical Services Manager.

Comments 9

  1. Bob Lang says:

    Mr. McCorkell,
    Do yourself and the citizens of Turlock a great service by thoroughly investigating and responsibly reporting your stories-this story was certainly not thoroughly investigated or responsibly reported. To include the income of all Turlockers over age 15 by the population to determine average income is ludicrous. How many 15-18 year olds in Turlock are employed in full-time positions? How many members of the total population are unemployed, underemployed, i.e. part-time. Consider who the average Turlock City employee is-many particularly the senior department heads and tenured employees have graduate degrees. Many others have college degrees. They all provide great service to Turlock’s residents. Please practice responsible journalism.

  2. In the know says:

    While normally I agree with what Mr. McCorkell writes, his misuse of comparing all citizens of Turlock over the age of 15 to I suppose 110 to derive some comparable wage to what the average City employee makes is a ridiculous way to make a comparison. How unfortunate, as a good opportunity to expose the overpaid City Manager and City Attorney was lost when he chose this way to compare salaries. Perhaps that explains why he is a “journalist” rather than a statistician or math major. What a shame.

  3. Irish with a brain says:

    Well if you did a little research yourself, you would see there are probably about 100 “city” employees who make less than $5,000 a year. I.E. recreation and season workers. So… (retard) the actual average would be MUCH higher if you took our the seasonal employees. How’s that for research moron. So it averages out. It is systemic. The peasants are paying the king. If you can’t “research” or understand that then YOU ARE THE PROBLEM!

  4. HELLO! says:

    Perhaps you are simply stupid? What percentage of jobs in Turlock, or for that matter in the entire Valley pay on average $45,000 a year? Government, higher end Ag workers and education. If you don’t work in those jobs the BEST you can hope for is $45,000 a year. TRUTH BE TOLD

  5. guest says:

    How is Mr. McCorkell practicing irresponsible journalism? This is all factual information verified by the government that you so trust and admire, as in the U.S. Census, and the State Controller. Mr. McCorkell and TurlockCItyNews are simply making it clear as day the obvious disparity between what taxpayers pay for crappy city services. We have horrible streets, brown grass and garbage in our parks, a purely reactive police force and a barely above average education system that produces people that aren’t ready for CSU Stanislaus. So instead of blaming Mr. McCorkell how about blaming the actual problem. If you have even slightly enough intelligence you will figure it out.

  6. jrth says:

    $44,00 is a good wage. The tone of the article gives the impression that $44,000 is too much in comparison to the rest of Turlock’s citizens. My gosh, of course our city workers deserve a decent wage! Many of them are raising families. I have no problem with city employees receiving a good wage and decent benefits. Our economy is stimulated when people can afford to be good consumers. If our city paid less, I would question its ethic. City workers are citizens too!

  7. Guest says:

    There are thousands of Turlockers between the age of 15 and infinity that make no money at all. Would it be fair to count all of them as City Employees to bring down the average wage? Of course not. A fair comparison would be to divide the total income being earned by 100% of those who work and divide it by that number, just as he is taking the total income being earned by 100% of City Employees and dividing it by total number of paid City Employees. That my friend is comparing apples to apples, not apples to oranges. So…Irish with half a brain, it does not average out as you say it does. So providing skewed numbers and presenting it as fact is in reality irresponsible journalism.

  8. Hi says:

    The writers math is correct. The problem with apples to apples comparisons is that the government doesn’t make that data available and what they do make available is wrong. For instance, the notion that anyone let alone thousands of people in Turlock make $0 is something so stupid that only the government could report it and public school educated people believe it. Take that 20 year old making $0… well they actually get $500/month in food stamps, $800/month section 8 housing, $1500/month medical, $400/month WIC, free phone, $800/month straight cash, and countless more benefits not to mention free hotdogs in Denair Park on Tuesday. By most estimates the average person in California earning $0 wages actually gets $37,000 in benefits. Over 50% of the population gets a check from the government each month, add your government checks up too and then complain to me about how poor you are and how rich people with a job are.

    PS – I wish Wasden was on government assisted unemployment.

  9. Observer says:

    So what the writer is saying is that the majority of Turlock citizens average household income (at his estimate of per capita income average of $22,289) is below the poverty line? And further that it should mean that City employees should only make that much as well? If you think you have crappy service now you can imagine what it would be like if that really were the case. Also to be fair, if you are going to count workers from the age of 15 and up then u should include part-timers and seasonal workers in your calculation as well. I wonder what the average would be if you took out the City Manager and City Attorney’s wages. After all, they don’t exactly represent your “average City employee”.

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