See the Valley’s top three public salaries
More than 200 elected officials hold office in city and county government across the central San Joaquin Valley.
Most are not the types of jobs that provide a lot in terms of pay – a few hundred dollars a month as a stipend, or perhaps nothing at all, for members of city councils in the Valley’s smaller cities.
But other positions chosen by voters, including county supervisors, city council members in larger cities, or the heads of major county agencies that effectively become full-time jobs, offer more substantial compensation for their officeholders.
Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Jim Yovino, for example, was the highest-paid local government elected official in the Valley in 2018.
Yovino, who has led the Fresno County Office of Education since 2013, earned about $285,500 in base salary and other pay last year. Coupled with another $50,000 in retirement contributions and health insurance, Yovino’s total compensation package amounted to almost $336,000.
Through nearly five dozen public records requests in recent weeks, The Bee has compiled a database that shows the 2018 compensation, including salary, overtime and benefits, for not only elected officials throughout the Valley, but also more than 45,000 public employees from local government agencies that have responded thus far.
Two of Yovino’s counterparts in Madera and Tulare counties weren’t far behind on the salary scale.
In Tulare County, now-former county Superintendent James Vidak ranked second in salary and benefits among the Valley’s elected officials, with almost $260,000 in pay; benefits for retirement and health insurance boosted his total compensation to more than $302,600.
Madera County’s schools superintendent, Cecilia Massetti, had the third highest base pay among the region’s electeds. Massetti’s base pay was a little more than $198,000. She also received about $4,500 in lump sum and other pay. Her pay, plus an additional $41,600 in county-provided retirement and health benefits, brought her compensation to almost $245,000.
Others among the 10 highest-paid elected officials in the region, and their 2018 base pay, were: Tulare County Sheriff-Coroner Mike Boudreaux, $197,255; Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward, $193,813; Kings County District Attorney Keith Fagundes, $175,325; Madera County District Attorney David Linn, who has since left office, $174,252; Tulare County Assessor/Clerk-Recorder Roland Hill, $167,793; Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp, $166,492; and Kings County Sheriff David Robinson, $165,712.
Falling just outside the top 10 elected officials in base pay were Madera County Sheriff-Coroner Jay Varney, $165,624; and Fresno County Sheriff-Coroner-Public Administrator Margaret Mims, $163,626.
The highest-paid city council members in the Valley are in Fresno. Each of the seven city council members last year – Esmeralda Soria, Clint Olivier, Garry Bredefeld, Paul Caprioglio, Luis Chavez and Steve Brandau – each received at least $65,000 in base pay and around $5,000 in other pay. Soria and Olivier, who each spent part of the year as president of the Fresno City Council, received a little more, with Soria topping out at almost $76,000.
Fresno also provides its city council members with benefits such as health insurance that brought the total compensation for each member to more than $80,000.
Fresno Mayor Lee Brand’s base pay was $130,000, and he received an extra $6,900 in other pay. Together with benefits, his compensation added up to more than $147,000.
At the opposite end of the spectrum were city council members for some of the Valley’s smallest cities. In Woodlake and Corcoran, council members received neither pay nor benefits. Another 28 council members, including all of the council members in Coalinga, Porterville, San Joaquin and Tulare, received less than $1,000 in pay or stipends for their time representing voters.
The interactive feature below can be used to search The Bee’s database of more than 47,000 public employee salaries, benefits and compensation, including those of elected officials from cities, counties and larger school districts that responded to public records requests. Each query is limited to 250 results