Bruce Channing, Laguna Hills City Manager
Bruce Channing, Laguna Hills City Manager

City Manager Compensation in 3 OC Cities Comes Under Scrutiny by Grand Jury

​When the city of Laguna Hills pays you $233,000 in base salary to fill the role of City Manager, of course it should also dish out another $60,000 to ensure that you're riding around in style--everyone knows $233k doesn't go as far as it used to. That's Bruce Channing's situation right now, and that's not taking into account the other benefits in his total compensation package, which comes up to $324,535.

Channing claims its in line with what other city managers with his experience make. 

An Orange County Grand Jury doesn't agree. Channing, along with city manager's in Newport Beach and Laguna Beach have come under question for their hefty compensation packages, according to the Los Angeles Times. The subject of city employee salaries came under scrutiny following the obscene salaries being paid to top officials in Bell, which capped out at $787,000.

Dave Kiff, Newport Beach City Manager
Dave Kiff, Newport Beach City Manager

Dave Kiff, the city manager for Newport Beach, makes a base salary of $233,531.20, with an additional $64,701.77 in benefits, bringing his compensation package to $298,232.97, according to the 2011-12 proposed city budget. Interestingly, both the Assistant to the City Manager and the Executive Assistant to the City Manager make over $110,000 in total compensation.

The car allowance for the city manager's office in Newport Beach is $6,000.

John Pietig, the city manager in Laguna Beach, makes $17,500 per month. His benefit package is not listed on the city's website.

The report surveyed salaries in 34 cities in Orange County and did not find any that the panel considered "abusive," a la Bell. The reason Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills and Newport Beach were singled out was because their salaries appeared higher than the rest of the cities in the county.

Newport Beach is the same city where the salaries of a dozen lifeguards has caused a outpouring of attention, when, in fact, city hall and the various city departments (police and fire, included) are flush with well-paid employees, from the Assistant City Manager who makes $253,231.50 to the 44 police patrol officers who make a minimum of $150,000 in salary and benefits.


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