California City Manager Paid $677,172 Runs Town of 5,000

The California town of Indian Wells, with a population of little more than 5,000, paid its city manager $677,172 last year, making him the highest paid city worker in the most populous U.S. state, according to new data released by the state’s controller.

The desert town near Palm Springs in Riverside County, 120 miles (199 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, paid former city manager Greg Johnson $230,697 in salary and another $446,475 in “other pay” according to the data. The other pay was a severance package.

Cities in California paid more than $17.6 billion in wages to public employees last year, down from $18.2 billion the previous year, according to data released by Controller John Chiang. The average wage for all city employees in California was $61,259. Cities and counties combined paid $37.6 billion.

The cities paid $285 million to workers for vacation and leave time they had accrued last year, according to the data. That compared to the $275 million California paid in lump sum checks to state workers last year, data from Chiang shows.

Interim City Manager Roderick Wood and Mayor Mary Roche didn’t immediately respond to telephone calls seeking comment on Johnson’s pay. Johnson couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

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