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Work Where the Money Is: Tons of City of LA Jobs Worth $100k

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In light of ongoing news about the city's budget crisis (a predicted $295 million dollar deficit), information about the number of people employed by the city who earn more than $100,000 is not sitting well with some.

As reported in the Daily News, the newspaper conducted research and compiled a "review of salary data [that] shows more than 21,000 city workers take home $70,000 or more a year and more than 6,000 take home more than $100,000." Some individual salaries will see increases in the coming months, bringing "city workers' average salaries [to] about $68,850 for civilians and $93,800 for sworn police and fire by July - placing them in the upper ranks of comparable cities and far higher than private-sector workers."

The Daily News obtained the data by accessing a database via the City Controller's office which is available through the California Public Records Act. In fact, the City Controller herself, Laura Chick, has observed some instances of spending at the city level that are deals indicative of "a fatal flaw in city spending patterns."

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Some City employees have come forward with observations about the salaries, including "Deputy Mayor Robert 'Bud' Ovrom - who took a nearly $100,000 pay cut to move from head of the Community Redevelopment Agency to oversee economic development for the mayor at an annual salary of $138,622" who noted that "top city managers in some cases could make more in the private sector" but that "entry- and mid-level workers make more money with government jobs because they get regular cost-of-living and 'step' - or promotional - increases." Ovrom added the following, addressing some of the questionable applications of $100k salaries: "I had a dozen (employees) making over $100,000 in the CRA, and I didn't know what they did."

In defense of City employees, union leaders claim that the budget crisis cannot be attributed to salaries. Some suggest pay cuts as a solution, while the reality of program funding cuts are becoming undeniable. In addition, increased taxes may be one option the City has to counteract the deficit.

TOP TIER More than 6,000 city workers earn $100,000 or more a year in base pay, excluding overtime. Here's a look at the departments where they work:

2,600 -- Police

1,176 -- Fire

485 -- City attorneys

229 -- Airport employees

214 -- Bureau of Engineering

178 -- Information Tech. Agency

161 -- Harbor employees

158 -- Bureau of Sanitation

93 -- Transportation

69 -- General Services

63 -- Personnel

60 -- Housing Department

56 -- City Administrative Office

36 -- City Council

34 -- Recreation and Parks

33 -- Community Development

32 -- Controller

30 -- Planning

25 -- City Clerk

24 -- Mayor

20 -- Board of Public Works

19 -- Library

17 -- Fire and Police Pension

16 -- Bureau of Street Lighting

13 -- Office of Finance

13 -- City Employees' Retirement System

10 -- L.A. Convention Center

10 -- Environmental Affairs

10 -- Office of Treasurer

Photo by Refracted Moments™ via Flickr