October 14, 2007

How Much do Elected City Officials in Alameda County Get Paid?

The San Leandro City Council approved monthly salaries of $1,260 for Councilmembers and $2,520 for the Mayor at its December 18, 2006, meeting. For San Leandro, as with most cities in Alameda County, being a Councilmember or a Mayor is considered a part-time position, with the city manager and city staff tasked with running things day-to-day. That difference is reflected in the monthly salary of $15,741 for Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums and $5,742 for Councilmembers in Oakland, which are substantially higher than for cities with a city manager.

San Leandro Bytes requested similar information from 11 Alameda County cities and received responses from nine cities. Monthly Councilmember salaries ranged from $100 in Alameda to $2,116.40 in Hayward. Mayors were paid $200 each month in Alameda and $3,386.93 in Hayward.

The monthly stipends for the Mayor and Coucilmembers in Alameda were established in the City Charter, which was last modified in the 1930s. The Alameda City Council has recently established a subcommittee to review the City Charter.

Councilmembers and Mayors also receive other forms of compensation, such as health insurance. All cities that responded provide health insurance for their elected officials. In San Leandro, health insurance provided by the City ranges from $421 to $1,077 per month. Livermore provides the most generous health insurance, with the City covering up to $1,428 per month.

As one might expect of the largest city in Alameda County, Oakland provides the Mayor with a generous monthly car allowance of $750 and Councilmembers with $550. Union City provides the Mayor with a $400 monthly car allowance and the San Leandro Mayor gets a $250 car allowance. Councilmembers in Union City get a $100 monthly car allowance while San Leandro Councilmembers get $125 each month. Alameda, Dublin, Fremont, Livermore, and Pleasanton do not provide car allowances for Mayors or Councilmembers.

In Alameda, Livermore, Oakland, and San Leandro, elected officials receive cell phones paid for by the city. Only the Mayor in Dublin gets a phone while Fremont and Union City don't provide any phones to elected officials.

San Leandro provides the most generous funds for travel and training with $6,964 for the Mayor and $5,232 for each Councilmember. Hayward provides $6,047 for the Mayor and $3,289 for each Councilmember. Livermore provides a total of $500 for training and $20,700 for travel for the City Council and Mayor.

In addition to compensation received from the city, Councilmembers and Mayors also receive compensation for intergovernmental agency meetings. For example, Mayor Tony Santos receives $234 for each meeting of the East Bay Dischargers Authority. Councilmember Joyce Starosciak receives $125 for each meeting of the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency and Councilmember receives $50 for each meeting of the Alameda County Housing Authority.

The cities of Berkeley and Newark did not respond for this article. Information was not requested from Albany, Emeryville, or Piedmont. Some cities may provide life insurance and retirement benefits, but San Leandro Bytes did not request information about them.

For comparison, an article in the July 31, 2007, San Mateo Daily Journal, reports that Brisbane, East Palo Alto and San Carlos pay Councilmembers $300 each month while San Mateo and Redwood City pay $750 per month. Rancho Mirage, with a population of 16,700, pays Councilmembers $2,500 per month. Palm Desert Councilmembers are paid $3,500 per month.

See below for a table summarizing City Council/Mayor compensation in Alameda County.

CityPopulation[1]Mayor stipendCouncil stipendHealth InsuranceCar allowanceCity cell phone
Dublin43630$856.06$758.06up to $1,021/monthNoneMayor only
Fremont211662$2,211$1,407up to $450/monthNoneNo
Hayward147845$3,386.93$2,116.40$544.77 to $1416/month$144 for MayorOptional
Livermore82845$1,000$750up to $1428/monthNoneYes
Oakland415492$15,741$5,742$470 to $1223/month$750 Mayor; $550 CouncilYes
San Leandro81466$2,520$1,260$421 to $1077/month$250 Mayor; $125 CouncilYes
Union City72297$2,211$1,474$500 to $841/month$410 Mayor; $100 CouncilNo

1. Demographic Research Unit of the California Department of Finance, STATE ADDS ALMOST 470,000 IN 2006; 2007 POPULATION NEARS 37.7 MILLION, http://www.dof.ca.gov/HTML/DEMOGRAP/ReportsPapers/Estimates/E1/documents/e-1press.pdf, May 10, 2007 Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at October 14, 2007 11:26 PM | TrackBack


This is a great article--thanks for researching. What's interesting is that there's actually a negative correlation to how well a town is doing and how much their elected officials get paid. Pleasanton has the best schools and lowest crime; and yet their officials get paid the least. Oakland has the worst schools and most crime, and their officials get paid the most; followed by San Leandro; which arguably has the second worst schools and highest crime rate; and they're the second best paid in Alameda County (within your sample). Again, good work!

Posted by: Frank Lynn at October 15, 2007 6:32 AM

Maybe affluence has something to do with it. Oakland citizens earn on average much less than people in Pleasanton . Also it's much bigger so the elected officials serve many more people. In Atherton one of the most affluent communities in the Bay Area they have non competitive elections, if someone wants to serve they have a gentlemans agreement to avoid political confrontation,very low pay for elected officials and virtually no crime if you exclude white collar
crime. Oakland should strive to be a lot more like Atherton one could argue.
Marie Antoniette said let them eat cake, she was also appauled when she first had sex realizing it was a pleasure even the poorest citizens could experience. Maybe conservatives should argue for less government and less sex.

Posted by: craig at October 19, 2007 2:25 PM


Please do not be influenced by the salaries and statistics mentioned in this particular article. Mayors traditionally are positions of tradition. Instead, and much more vital is to examine the salaries and benefits of various town/city managers. The city of Alameda for example (pop. 76,000) pays has on their payroll a mayor, an assistant mayor, a chief executive officer (for real!), a city manager who makes over $250K/year NOT including benefits or delayed compensation, the city's fire chief makes more money than he has a right to at over $200K...Do you see where this is going? It is government out of control!

Posted by: Marc Fournier at July 15, 2011 9:42 PM
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