Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

City of Santa Monica Pay 20 Employees, More Than Calif. Governor Brown. Why?

City Manager: $330,000. City Clerk: $255,000. Public Works Dir. $270,000. What gives?

We received a press release saying that Santa Monica Public Works Director Martin Pastucha, has announced his retirement. His current salary is $270,924 annually.

This made me curious (and envious): The City just hired a City Clerk who earns $255,000 a year. The City Manager makes $330,000 a year.

First of all, these are astronomical to me, a journalist. Second, the highest elected official in California, Governor Jerry Brown, earns $192,000 a year. Why is it that the SM City Clerk earns $255,000 a year, and the SM Public Works Director earns $271,000 a year? In other words, what is it about their jobs that entitles them to more money than the State's governor?

"The City of Santa Monica sets salaries based on several factors including salaries for comparable positions in comparable cities," says Communications and Public Affairs Officer for the City Manager, Debbie Lee "Salaries may fluctuate based on what falls under the PW Director's purview, as that may vary from city to city as well. Our Public Works Department is quite expansive, as stated in the press release you received. The current average salary for a Public Works Director in the US is $201,462," Lee says.

"Elected positions are different from staff positions and comparing the two would be difficult. You should review what senior assistants make in the Governor's office as an example of this point."

Here is the link where you can see all salaries on our website:

Debbie, I'd do it for a lot less. Honest. And I'm experienced at . . . . err, let me get back to you on that. Anyway, in case your curious, the City Press Release continues:

During his tenure in Public Works, Pastucha managed an annual budget of $125.8 million and oversaw nine divisions totaling 505 full-time employees. The work that the Public Works team accomplished under Pastucha's leadership is impressive. Major projects include EXPO Light Rail integration, the construction of the Tongva Park, Ken Genser Square, Colorado Esplanade, Pico Branch Library, CityTV facility, seismic retrofit of City Hall and California Incline.

He was responsible for building the new Charnock Water Well, and multiple citywide water and wastewater pipeline rehab and replacement projects. Martin also held the position of Airport Director, overseeing the operations at SMO and in 2015, Pastucha served as interim Assistant City Manager, playing a key leadership role while the city searched for a new City Manager.

Prior to joining the Santa Monica City team in January of 2011, Pastucha was Public Works Director for the cities of Pasadena and La Habra. Mr. Pastucha has been active with the League of California Cities, serving as the President of the Public Works Officer Department in 2010 and on the Board of Directors from 2012-14. He is also a member of the International Affairs Committee of American Public Works Association, the Board of Directors of Southern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association, and CALTRANS Transportation Advisory Committee.

An internal recruitment will be conducted for a new Public Works Director. I guess I better update my resume.


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