Cudahy Councilmen Earn More Than Many Households for Part-time Work
The legacy of corruption and self-enrichment by city officials and council members in Cudahy is a lengthy and odious one.
I have been investigating the compensation and benefits packages provided to elected members of the Cudahy city council for the purposes of floating another initiative to reduce them.
It seems to me that these council members are overpaid for the work they do and that this compensation is out-of-step with their community. Should council members who attend a couple of meetings and spend their time shaking hands and posing for pictures earn the pay and benefits that they do?
Members of the council earn anywhere from $17,500-24,100 in combined salary and benefits -- including service time in CalPERS, the state retirement fund that is on the brink of insolvency.
To put that in perspective, 35.3% of the families in Cudahy earn less than $25,000 a year. The city's own website puts the median income at just $29,040.
Breaking Down Compensation
There are four primary components to each councilmember's compensation: regular pay, other pay, health benefits, and retirement benefits. Here is how that compensation breaks down:
- Regular Pay: $5,803 per year
- Other Pay: $4,500
- Health Benefits: $6,700-13,500
- Retirement: 2% @ 62 formula ($362-436)
I am seeking clarification as to what constitutes "other pay" though I suspect that it is probably a combination of a cell phone and vehicle stipend.
Individuals choose to run for city council positions because they theoretically want to serve their communities, not enrich themselves. They are part-time public service opportunities and not full-time jobs. At least not in small cities like Cudahy.
There is absolutely no reason that the taxpayers should be paying for a generous government health benefit plan for these part-time elected officials. Further, they should not be a part of the CalPERS pension system accruing service time.
CalPERS benefits are paid out based on the years of service times your highest year of salary or average of the highest three years depending on the formula. City council members throughout California pad their CalPERS retirements by accruing service time which is then used to bump up their regular full-time government pension.
Time for Another Initiative?
Perhaps, it is time to retaliate with another initiative to reduce this compensation given the games and obstacles being played by the city attorney, city council and staff.