The Santa Ana City Clerk has re-posted the Council Members’ total compensation and benefits today however a key piece of the puzzle is missing. The Santa Ana Open Government website does not include how much the City Council Members are paid to serve on various County Commissions.
I emailed the City Clerk, Maria Huizar, about this discrepancy and she pointed me to a different page – the Mayor and City Council page, where this information is found when you click on “Form 806.” Who in the public would know what the heck that is? The good news is that Huizar said she will look into my recommendation to put this information with the Council’s pay, on the Open Government page. We need to make it easier, not harder, for the voters to find out how much the City Council members really are earning.
As we posted this weekend, the Santa Ana Council Members are going to try to place a measure on the November General Election ballot that will result in a huge increase in their pay. But shouldn’t the City of Santa Ana be more transparent about how much the Council Members really earn when you factor in the pay and benefits that stem from their service on various County Boards?
Here is what the Council Members make by serving on various Boards:
- Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency – Councilwoman Michele Martinez earns $120 per meeting for sitting on the Board of this agency, which oversees the management of the 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads. They meet once a month.
- Orange County Sanitation District: Board members are compensated $212.50 per meeting. They may be compensated for up to six meetings a month (the average per month is 2.) The Chair may be compensated for up to ten meetings per month. They receive no health insurance benefits. Santa Ana Councilman David Benavides serves on the OCSD Board of Directors and Mayor Pro Tem Sal Tinajero is his alternate.
- Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA): the OCTA allows members of the Board necessary traveling and personal expenses incurred in the performance of duties authorized by the Board and may allow members per diem compensation at the maximum rate of $100 per day, not to exceed $500 in any calendar month, for attending board meetings and for performance of any other services for OCTA as authorized by the Board. Compensation for mileage will be paid at the IRS rate to any member who does not have a city-owned or county-owned vehicle. Mayor Miguel Pulido serves on the OCTA Board of Directors.
- OC Fire Authority. Directors are paid one hundred dollars ($100) per meeting per day, with a maximum of $300 per month. Councilman Roman Reyna serves on the OCFA’s Board of Directors.
- Orange County Water District – Each Board member earns $221.13 per day of service, with a maximum of 10 days of paid service per month. Each Board member is offered medical, dental and vision insurance coverage for themselves and their dependents. – Each Board member is insured for $25,000 in Life/Accidental Death & Dismemberment insurance. Each Board member is immediately enrolled in the District’s private 401(A) defined contribution retirement plan. (OCWD does not participate in a defined benefit retirement plan). Each Board member can elect to receive an Electronic Equipment reimbursement up to a maximum of $107.50 per month. Councilman Vince Sarmiento serves on the OCWD Board.
- Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) – Councilwoman Michele Martinez sits on their Executive Board as their Second Vice Chair. But she also serves on their Regional Council. And she serves on their Transportation Committee. And she is on their Legislative/Communications & Membership Committee. And she joins in their annual General Assembly where she stays at a posh hotel and charges the people of the City of Santa Ana for her room, dinners and other travel costs. Martinez gets paid $120 to attend each of these meetings!
- South Coast Air Quality Management District Board – Mayor Pulido gets paid $100 to attend AQMD board meetings.
All Santa Ana City Council Members also receive:
- A monthly salary of $125.00 for City Council meeting, with the Mayor receiving an additional $75.00 for City Council meeting, pursuant to Section 402 of the City Charter (Adopted November 4, 1958).
- A stipend of $50.00 per session as a member of the Housing Authority provided that Councilmembers and the Mayor may not exceed 4 sessions per calendar month (pursuant to Resolution 89-089). Generally one meeting a month scheduled.
- A monthly Automobile Allowance of $500.00 (pursuant to Resolution 91-066).
- Optional membership in the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) equivalent to a
regular City employee (Pursuant to Ordinance NS-2150), or Deferred Compensation in lieu of Social Security. The City matches the employee’s contribution of 3.5% of salary.
- Medical, dental, vision, and basic life insurance (Pursuant to Resolution 89-089).
Our City Council Members are supposed to be part time public servants. If they can’t hold down real jobs they should not be asking us to pay them more but should instead resign from the City Council and let someone else serve.