If only Ed Norton worked in Orange County instead of the Big Apple. Bus driver Ralph Cramden's sewer-toiling sidekick on The Honeymooners would have a good chance of earning more than $100,000 a year were he climbing down into Orange County's depths today.
A newspaper investigation discovered that in 2009, 53.7 percent of Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) employees and 63.5 percent of their counterparts at the much smaller South Orange County Wastewater Authority (SOCWA) cleared the $100k mark in total compensation.
Penny-pinching investigative reporter Teri Sforza of the Orange County Register reveals today that the average compensation for all 64 workers of the 10-year-old SOCWA was $108,029; that 40 of those alone took home more than $100k; and that a sole employee surpassed the $200,000 mark.
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The SOCWA, a joint powers authority, serves about 500,000 ratepayers, treating 25 million gallons of wastewater pumped into the ocean daily, Sforz notes, while OCSD, a non-governmental special district, serves about 2.5 million and flushes 240 million gallons of treated sewage into the Pacific every day.
At OCSD, the average compensation for all 672 employees and board members (whose SOCWA counterparts are unpaid) was $100,731; 58 workers surpassed the $100,000 mark; and six employees earned more than $200k annually, according to Sforza. The average pay of the 58 in the $100k club, all full-timers, is almost identical to the average pay for SOCWA's 64 employees, the journo adds.
That kind of scratch would certainly wash away any shame Ed Norton and others might feel when identifying themselves as sewer workers.