7 Jul 2011

Payment for services rendered

Lloyd Carter reports on the salaries of various top Westlands* staffers, many making over $150,000 per year.

$6 million in salaries may be a small price to pay in a district that grosses $1 billion per year, especially when many of the top officials spend more time on lobbying for cheap water** than directing irrigation rigs.

That said, I also find this amusing (sad?):
Westlands General Manager Thomas Birmingham makes $350,004 a year, plus benefits, expenses and a state pension program funded by CalPERS. For comparison purposes, the governor of California and its 37 million people makes $212,179.
I guess he's providing 50% more benefits to the People of California.

Bottom Line: Sometimes you get what you pay for, sometimes you don't.
* Westlands is a California public agency.

** Cheap because Westlands has not paid for 80% of the capital costs in its delivery system; it still owes over $700 million to the Bureau of Reclamation, if I remember right.


Mr. Kurtz said...

He'd make that or more as senior partner in one of the big water law firms, I suppose. Or as a lobbyist. As a public agency, Westlands has to follow "best practices" in things like compensation, using surveys from consultants like Mercer to determine the reasonableness of executive compensation. Yes, the system can be gamed outrageously. But his comp does not strike me as out of line.
There was a big kerfluffle a a while back about giant salaries for some University administrators. *If* they were competent, the wages were in line with the market for people with the skills to manage a large, protean organization well. Pay a lot less and get a half-assed manager, and it will cost far more to fix his messes.

Bruce Ross said...

Making more than the governor isn't exactly rare in California government. Birmingham could do better for himself as a prison psychiatrist.

Mr. Kurtz said...

Hmmmm...he already *is* a prison psychiatrist, now that I think of it.

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