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Police captain, fire battalion chiefs & captains earned more in 2018 than Manteca city manager; Neely compensation hits $493K

The highest paid Manteca municipal employee in 2018 wasn’t the city manager.

Tim Ogden with a $208,566 salary was the seventh highest paid person on the city payroll.

That is according to the 2018 data complied as part of State Controller Betty T. Yee’s Government Compensation in California survey. The figures in this story only reflect wages. But even when the city’s total retirement and health contribution is factored in, Ogden was No. 4 at $260,572 and not No. 1.

Ogden in 2018 was the lowest paid in terms of salary of the three South County city managers. Lathrop City Manager Steve Salvatore was the highest at $230,605. Ripon City Administrator Kevin Werner was No. 2 earning $209,372.

The highest compensated public employee by far when benefits and retirement are factored in is Lathrop Manteca Fire Chief Gene Neely with an overall package of $493,893. That is $230,321 more than Ogden’s overall compensation.

Retirement costs for firefighters are spiked for pay they receive responding to state mutual aid that is primarily for wildfires.

The highest paid Manteca employee in 2018 was a police captain making $292,140. Rounding out the top five was a Measure M fire battalion chief at No. 2 earning $234,212, a Measure M fire battalion chief at No. 3 earning $218,460, a fire captain at No. 4 earning $215,164, and a fire captain at No. 5 earning $214,176.

The rest of the top 10 included a police sergeant earning $208,035 at No. 6, Ogden at No. 7, a Measure M fire battalion chief earning $206,740 at No. 8, a Measure M fire captain making $205,814 at No. 9, and Police Chief Jodie Estarziau earning $205,263 at No. 10.

There were three others making more than $200,000 in pay without including compensation. They were Joe Kriskovich who is no longer with the city and worked as the director of human resources and risk management  who made $203,418, a fire captain making $201,013, and a police captain making $200,691.

A part of the fire personnel compensation from firefighters up to battalion chief may reflect the first payment of an overtime pay settlement. The city and firefighters had agreed to pay holiday pay over a 12-month period instead of in the pay period occurred. The state ended up saying under state labor laws how the holiday pay was structured was not legal and was considered a bonus under labor regulations. That meant a $4 per hour payment for holidays worked under time the memorandum of understanding as the two parties originally agreed to that had the once a month holiday pay plan is due firefighters. It will take a number of years to fulfill the terms of the holiday pay overtime settlement.

At the mid-year budget adjustment the council was informed the cost for the current fiscal year that ends June 30 was $220,736. It was not clear if part of that was paid prior to the end of 2018.

In Lathrop, City Manager Steve Salvatore was the highest paid employee earning $230,605. His total retirement and health benefit package came to $42,414.

The rest of the top 10 city wage earners in Lathrop were: No. 2, the city attorney, $215,230; No. 3, the director of finance, $207,077; No. 4, the city engineer, $195,634; No. 5, the director of parks and recreation, $164,056; No. 6, the director of community development, $153,182; No. 7, the principal engineer in public works, $151,505; No. 8, senior construction manager in public works, $145,426; No.9, the deputy finance director, $144,313, and No. 10, the city clerk, $141,197.

The earnings of Lathrop Police Services personnel does not appear on the list as they are contracted employees the city pays for through a contract with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office. The city does not have a fire department. Lathrop is part of the coverage area of the Lathrop Manteca Fire District.

Fire Chief Gene Neely was the highest paid employee of the Lathrop Manteca Fire District at $267,269. His retirement and health contribution was listed as $226,624 to bring his total compensation to $493,893.

The next three highest positions were all acting battalion chiefs.

No. 2 earned $135,396 plus $95,954 in benefits for a total compensation of $234,350.

No. 3 earned $129,831 plus $80,531 in benefits for a total compensation of $210,362.

No. 4 earned $125,689 plus $68,107 in benefits for a total compensation of $193, 791.

Fifth on the list was a fire captain making $121,972 the $95,209 in benefits.

Ripon’s highest paid employee is City Administrator/City Engineer Kevin Werner who earned $209,372. The city also pays $52,277 for his health and retirement.

The rest of the top 10 city wage earners for Ripon were: No. 2, the public works director, $159,181; No. 3, city clerk/finance director, $157,644; No. 4, Police Chief Ed Ormonde, $156,184; No. 5, city planner, $155,817; No. 6, a police sergeant, $130,463; No. 7, a police sergeant, $112,120; No. 8, the recreation director, $109,149; No. 9, the police lieutenant, $105,597; and No. 10, a police officer, $105,022.

Ripon does not have its own fire department. The city is protected by the Ripon Consolidated Fire District.

The top five wage earners for the Ripon Consolidated Fire District were No. 1, Fire Chief Dennis Bitters, $171,960; No. 2, a captain, $117,481; No. 3 a battalion chief, $116,786; No. 4 a battalion chief, $107,744, and No. 5, a captain, $95,587.

The highest paid South San Joaquin Irrigation District employee was the district counsel who earned $22,847.

Rounding out the top five were No. 2,  General Manager Peter Reitkerk, $200,560; No. 3, operations water superintendent, $188,406; No. 4, assistant general manager, $179,837; and No. 5, plant manager, $177,366.

The data on the Government Compensation website is self-reported for cities, counties and special districts based on W-2 filings. The data covers 705,300 positions and nearly $50 billion in wages.

The site does not list names but instead presents the information by position.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email