Mailbag: Total compensation figures needed


Good story regarding the city of Costa Mesa's decision to post city employee salaries on the city's website ("Salaries for city officials posted on website," Friday). Before the public gets too excited about the salary data, people need to realize that salaries are not the real issue. It is total compensation. Salary is just one component of compensation. In order to have real transparency you need total compensation of each employee by name.

In addition to salary, you need overtime, vacation pay, sick pay, certificate pay, health benefits taken in cash, miscellaneous pay, the portion of pension contribution that the city pays, and the employees' portion of pension contributions that is also paid for by the city. You might be surprised to see how many different forms of compensation a city employee might have.

Last year, buried in a document to the City Council, all the above information was put on a spreadsheet listing, by name, the total compensation of each employee for 2008. It should not be that difficult to do again.

Until you, the public, can see the total compensation by each employee, you will continue to be in the dark about city finances.

Remember, total compensation is the issue. Not salary data.

Jim Righeimer

Costa Mesa

Editor's Note: Jim Righeimer is a city planning commissioner.

For 13 years I have been watching cars run the red light at Balboa Boulevard and River Avenue in Newport Beach.

With the installation of a red-light camera being done now, perhaps the red light runners will cease to do their evil deeds and actually stop as they are suppose to. It may take a while for these evildoers to realize that there is now a method whereby they will be caught with their pants down, or in this case, with their face in the camera.

I just hope that no one is hit between now and the time that those bad guys (red light runners) begin to start obeying the law. I guess the old adage, "better late than never" comes into play here.

Bill Spitalnick

Newport Beach

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