Update: May 2011: I no longer have the salary survey in question. All my old files were lost last year, and the City has removed the survey from their website, claiming that it is “inaccurate.” I can’t speak to whether that’s true, but at this point I would say that it would be correct to say that the survey is at least somewhat misleading when it comes to evaluating the current situation for city employees, since it dates from a time when City employees did not pay into their pensions, so those payments were added to the salary totals, and it also dates from a time when city employees had been receiving annual cost of living adjustments, which they have not for the past few years.
So, a couple of weeks ago, I posted some Census Bureau data listing employees per capita and average monthly payroll for the largest cities in the US. The chart raised quite a few eyebrows, as Oakland had by far the highest average payroll on the list. Those interested in our comparative rate of compensation may find this document (PDF) even more revealing. It compares salaries in Oakland to the median and mean of salaries for the same positions in the 13 largest cities and counties in the Bay Area, and finds that in almost every case, Oakland’s salary is significantly higher than area standards, as much as 20% higher for many positions.
But the most interesting part of the report to me was the last page, which compared Oakland’s Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) to the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) between 2002 and 2007. CPI rose 13.9% in that period, while we agreed to COLA increases totaling 24%, meaning that the City salaries increased 10.1% more than CPI. Damn.
BTW, I’m very happy to now be hosting TagamiVision here on A Better Oakland, so if you missed the interview with Kerry Hamill that went up Friday evening, make sure to watch it today!