O.C. gives its transit chief a 9% salary hike

Times Staff Writer

Orange County’s top transportation official got a raise and a bonus Monday, but Art Leahy also got something he might not have wanted: public discussion about his 9% salary boost.

As part of a new open-meeting policy, the public got to hear the Orange County Transportation Authority’s debate over Leahy’s executive pay, which will rise to $263,635 annually, from $241,862.

Formerly, a top official’s salary was discussed and voted on in closed session, said county Supervisor and OCTA board member Chris Norby.

The board rated Leahy’s job performance during the year as exemplary, citing his management of the county’s transportation system, leadership on goods movement and handling of this year’s bus drivers’ strike.

Board members unanimously approved a 6% raise but were divided over an additional 3%.


Five board members out of 17 voted against the bonus.

Norby said he believed a 9% pay raise was excessive.

Supervisor Janet Nguyen said that given the sluggish economy, she wanted to exercise caution.

With the pay boost, which takes effect immediately, Leahy’s salary is larger than that of county Chief Executive Tom Mauk, who earns $253,562.