In Hesperia, Where City Workers’ Pay Dwarfs That Of Residents, More Raises

The Hesperia City Council’s approval of a resolution to unfreeze wages for city employees has resurrected concern throughout this largely rustic and blue collar city that City Hall is dominated by elitists out of step with the community.
The manner in which the item to increase city employee salaries was approved did not blunt those criticisms, as the council did not hold a public hearing on the matter but discussed it in a closed session and then approved it in the form of a resolution on the consent calendar. The consent calendar is normally reserved for non-controversial items.
The resolution ratifies the changes to the memorandum of understanding arrived at through negotiations between city representatives and the Teamsters Union, with the salary steps that were frozen in 2010 being unfrozen.
Employees represented by the Teamsters will advance one step, which will boost their pay by 5 percent, based on merit on their anniversary date, effective July 1. In addition, for the first full pay period of fiscal year 2016-17, all salary ranges will reflect a 2.5-percent base salary increase, plus an additional cost of living adjustment increase of no less than half of a percent and no more than 1.5 percent. A city staff report said the cost of living adjustments will be calculated based on the Consumer Price Index.
The total projected cost of implementing the Teamsters-negotiated memorandum of understanding compensation adjustments is $376,397 through the end of 2016. The total projected cost of implementing the non-represented employees’ changes in compensation is $542,596 through the end of the year.
In San Bernardino County in general, wages, as measured by per capita and household income lag behind the rest of the state and are well below those in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. Hesperia is nineteenth among San Bernardino County’s 24 cities in this regard. Nevertheless, Hesperia city employees are paid very well in comparison to city residents, with the average city worker making pay that is more three times what the average Hesperia resident pulls down. Hesperia city workers also receive benefits that dwarf those provided to workers in the private sector. Forty-six Hesperia employees make more than $100,000 in total annual compensation.
City manager Nils Bentsen is getting $235,012 in salary, $31,611 in other pay, with $74,139 in benefits for $340,762 in total compensation per year. Director of development services Scott Priester is receiving 234,394 annually. Assistant city manager Brian D. Johnson makes $233,363 in total compensation. Economic development director Steven Lantsberger receives $206,205 in total compensation each year. City engineer John R. Leveillee pulls down $190,825 per year. Deputy finance director Anne M. Duke makes $169,462 per year. Principal planner Dave Reno makes $164,444 per year. Public works director Benny D Burke makes $158,002 per year. City clerk Melinda L. Sayre receives $144,428 in total annual compensation. Project construction manager David Burkett makes $151,405 per year. Senior management analyst Juli Lynne Rull receives $136,003 per year. Senior financial analyst Casey Williams Brooksher get $134,781 per year. Senior financial analyst George R. Pirsko makes $134,097 per year. Assistant engineer Mark W. McKinley receives $131,456 per year. Geographical information systems manager Eric Greene receives $131,389 per year. Building inspection supervisor Michael D. Hearn makes $130,644 per year. Senior planner Daniel Alcayaga receives $129,666 per year. Emergency services coordinator Brigit Bennington makes $121,112 per year. Senior accountant Virginia Villasenor is paid $120,058 in salaries and benefits per year. Senior planner Stanley D. Liudahl receives $119,603 per year. Building and safety manager Tracy Wrigley makes $119,228 per year. Code enforcement supervisor Antonio Genovesi makes $117,432 per year. Construction inspection supervisor Dwaine Ellis Latimer gets $117,357 per year. Public works supervisor Mark Ronald Faherty receives $115,181 per year. Senior human resources analyst Rita Perez gets $114,689 per year. Information Services Specialist officer Steven Vannorman is provided with salary and benefits of $113,736 per year. Senior code enforcement officer Ernesto Montes makes $112,894 per year. Management analyst Lisa K. Lamere receives $112,090 per year.
Maintenance crew supervisor Jeffrey W Ozanne gets $111,322 per year. Management analyst Holly E. Effiom makes $108,936 per year. Customer service supervisor Jill Wyman brings in $108,641 per year. Plans examiner Larry Bachmann gets $108,180 per year.
Facilities supervisor Scott B Saude receives $107,582 per year. Plans examiner Keith Otjen takes in $106,830 per year. Information systems specialist Rolando Quinonez makes $106,706 per year. Julia A. Ryan, a management analyst, makes $105,468 per year. Roderic R Yahnke, another management analyst, gets $106,367 per year. Keith Cheong, a financial analyst, receives $105,430 per year. Scott Smith, a maintenance crew supervisor, brings in $105,049 per year.
Theresa Gayle Mauger, a senior code enforcement officer, makes $104,321 per year. Administrative analyst Andrea Lynn Wagner gets $103,738 per year. Community relations & media coordinator Rachel C Molina makes $103,499 per year. Joni L. Latimer, a maintenance crew supervisor, receives $103,378 per year. Financial analyst Jose Mendoza makes $101,452 per year. Tina M. Souza, another management analyst, receives $101,260 per year.
Some residents grumbled that the council was being far too generous to what one resident referred to as the “prima donnas” working for the city. Others said the money would have been better spent on infrastructure in the city of 90,173, where many roads are unpaved.
Councilman Paul Russ said that it is “only fair” that city employees be well compensated and that they should be “given credit for what they do. They deserve these raises,” he said.

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