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.