West Hollywood's City Manager earned more than $285,000 last year, making him the fourth-highest paid city manager in Los Angeles County, the city confirmed. Only city managers in Bell, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica made more than Weho's city manager.
While it's nowhere near the $767,000 earned by Bell's former city manager--a salary that sparked resident outrage, investigations and resignations--Paul Arevalo's base salary in 2009 was $270,360, according to West Hollywood city documents.
Arevalo also received the following benefits: a vehicle allowance of $508 per month, a mobile communication allowance of $350 per month, a merit bonus of up to 7 percent a year and a deferred compensation account for retirement of 5 percent a year. Due to the economy, he declined a merit bonus in 2009. Arevalo's total taxable income for 2009 was $285,496.
A report in the Los Angeles Times found that the average salary for a city manager in Los Angeles County is about $209,000. Besides Bell, the cities with the highest paid city managers in 2009 were Santa Monica ($315,444) and Beverly Hills ($301,688). The Times salary report examined taxable income for 80 cities in Los Angeles County.
"The city has always had a philosophy of paying competitive wages to attract and retain the best and brightest employees," wrote Vivian Love, administrative services director for the city of West Hollywood. "The city manager has been a city employee for 20 years, 10 of which he has served in the capacity of city manager," she wrote.
Controversy over city manager's pay came about in recent weeks when an investigation by the Times revealed that the annual compensation for the city of Bell's City Manager, Robert Rizzo, was $787,637. Since then, State Controller John Chiang has ordered cities and counties to report elected officials' and employees' salaries to his office.
"When determining [a] salary for the city manager position, such things as scope of city services, annual operating budget and capital improvement budget, number of city employees, local economy, longevity with the city [and] comparability to cities in the surrounding area … are contributing factors to the establishment of base salary," wrote Love.
The next highest paid West Hollywood employee is Joan English, assistant city manager, who is paid $214,974.
Employees receive medical, dental and vision coverage and get to choose from CalPERS, Anthem, Blue Shield, Kaiser Permanente and Delta Care. City of West Hollywood employees also accrue sick leave of eight hours per month and up to 96 hours annually. In terms of retirement, there's a CalPERS retirement plan as well as short-term, long-term disability programs and life insurance. Employees also qualify for 10 city paid holidays, 116 hours of vacation and personal leave the first year of employment.
To view the salaries of West Hollywood employees, please click here.