Karen S. Kim
BURBANK -- Among Burbank's more than 1,300 city employees, 219 are
making more than $100,000 a year in total compensation, which includes
base salary, overtime pay and benefits, city records show.
City Manager Bud Ovrom is the highest paid employee, making $194,619 a
year in total compensation. Burbank Water and Power General Manager Ron
Davis, Burbank Police Chief Tom Hoefel and City Atty. Dennis Barlow rank
as the second-, third- and fourth-highest paid employees.
"I know it's a lot of money," Ovrom said. "But we don't pay our people
any more than is the average in their positions. Our salaries are set on
the basis of a comparison survey of other comparable cities."
Burbank's 2000 salary comparison survey showed that its executive
staff -- including Ovrom, Barlow and Hoefel -- all have comparable
salaries to their counterparts in other cities.
Total compensation in Burbank includes a base salary, overtime pay,
retirement, health care, life insurance, a car allowance, professional
development, a uniform allowance, vacation and sick leave.
Of the 219 highest paid employees, more than 50 are employees of the
Burbank Fire Department.
"We're probably within the top five in compensation in Southern
California, but we want to attract the best young firefighters, and I
think the city recognizes that," said Lew Stone, Burbank Fire Fighters
president. "When I look around and see the hundreds of thousands of
dollars that are made in other occupations, I don't feel guilty at all."
The top salaries revealed in public records show only the highest
attainable salary for each employee. The actual salary of city employees
is confidential, Management Services Director John Nicoll said.
Employee salary ranges are adjusted using cost of living numbers
reflected in the state and federal Consumer Price Index and Burbank's
budget, while actual salaries are based on merit.
Only 87 employees made the $100,000 cut five years ago. Nicoll
attributed the increase in employees this year partly to the fact that
41% of the employees listed made the cut based on overtime pay earned in
2000-01. Paying employees for overtime, which is usually earned by police
and fire employees, is cheaper than hiring new employees with benefits,
And with a new class of 13 recruits being inducted into the fire
department by December, overtime pay should be less necessary next year,