Some San Ramon city council members are lining up to support Mayor Abram Wilson and City Manager Herb Moniz.
Both Wilson and Moniz have come under fire recently for the city manager's salary, which, counting benefits is $356,000. That makes him the richest city manager in the Bay Area.
The state's website says the average pay for city managers is $200,000; Moniz, who was fired by an incoming city council in 2002, was making $165,000 at the time. He was replaced by Gail Waiters, one of two assistant Oakland city managers at $185,000 a year; when Moniz was rehired in 2004, he received the same $185,000 Waiter earned. At his current pay, that means an average increase of $28,500 per year.
Moniz's base pay is actually $285,120, far larger than the $207,312 base pay of Danville Town Manager Joe Calabrigo, especially considering San Ramon's population is less than 8,000 more than Danville's.
Another big difference is in unspecified benefits. Calabrigo makes $29,262 in "other compensation," bringing his salary to $236,574; Moniz makes $71,422 in other compensation, which brings his total salary to $356,542.
Councilman Dave Hudson said in an email that the city manager job requires real leadership "and we got the best" to run San Ramon.
"I do know that the citizens get more than their monies worth with our city manager, city council and mayor," Hudson said. "I had the opportunity to see what it was like with different leadership 2002 (through) 2004. We'll keep Herb."
Wilson has said part of the reason for Moniz's high pay is that he works without an assistant city manager. Considering the $145,258 pay of Danville's Assistant Town Manager, Marcia Somers, Danville actually pays $25,290 more for municipal management than San Ramon.
Of course, Moniz doesn't work 80 hours a week, the combined hours of Calabrigo and Somers.
But he does carry a lot of responsibility, unlike city managers of some larger Bay Area cities, notably San Jose, with a population of more than one million, where City Manager Debra Figone earns $304,206, more than $52,000 a year below Moniz's salary.
San Ramon City Councilman Scott Perkins said that is because the two cities are run differently.
"San Jose has a different municipal structure -- (a) strong mayor and the city administrator works for the Mayor who is the chief executive of the city. San Ramon has a City Manager and elected council," Perkins said in an email. "The Mayor of San Ramon has NO day-to-day responsibility for the running of the city. Day-to-day operations are managed by the City Manager."
Still, San Ramon is cutting services.
Wilson explained at a recent City Council meeting that cuts to street sweeping would be in the winter when it isn't necessary to clean the streets every day.
"Fountains don't have to be running 24/7," he added.