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The City of San Luis Obispo Supports Transparency in Local Government

In light of the recent news headlines regarding the City of Bell, the City of San Luis Obispo has received requests for employee compensation and benefit information.  Residents should be assured the City prides itself on transparency and citizen involvement.  Our fifteen advisory bodies are one indication of citizen involvement as is public goal-setting process that is used by the City Council to prioritize expenditures in the two-year financial plan and annual budgets.

The City of San Luis Obispo believes access to information empowers citizens and, therefore, all of the City’s important municipal documents such as City Council agendas and staff reports, various financial documents, current labor agreements, salary ranges for all City classifications, and the City’s Municipal Code are readily available on the City’s website, and have been for years. 

The following are answers to the most common questions the City has received regarding employee compensation.

How much does the City pay the City Manager?

The San Luis Obispo City Manager, Katie Lichtig, earns a base salary of $221,520 per year. In addition, she receives a benefits package (retirement, insurance, car allowance, etc.) of $86,528, for a total compensation rate of $308,048 annually. The spreadsheet of Annual Salary and Benefits for Appointed Officials and Department Heads lists the salary, retirement, insurance, and car or uniform benefits for each employee.  

How many vacation and sick leave days do the City Manager and department heads receive?

The City Manager accrues 160 hours of vacation a year and 96 hours of sick leave a year. The maximum number of vacation days that can be accrued is twice the annual accrual rate (for the City Manager it is 320 hours). Although any unused vacation can be cashed out at the end of employment, it does not affect final compensation for the calculation of retirement benefits. The spreadsheet of Annual Leave Accrual Rates for Appointed Officials and Department Heads lists the vacation, administrative leave, sick, and holiday hours benefits for each employee.

Does the City Council know how much the City Manager earns?

The City Council approved Katie Lichtig’s Contract of Employment in a public City Council session. The employment contract does not provide for any salary increases or automatic adjustments included for inflation. Any proposed increases in compensation or benefits would come before the City Council for approval at a regular City Council meeting.

What do other City employees earn?

The salary range for every City employee classification can be found on the City’s Job Description  webpage or Salary Schedule webpage.   Benefit information can be found in the Benefits Summary, or by reviewing the detailed Memorandum of Agreements (MOA’s) for each bargaining unit. All cost of living and benefits adjustments must be approved by Council in a regular City Council meeting. Additionally, the City Council has an adopted compensation philosophy to guide decisions about compensation.

How much does the Mayor and City Council earn?

The Mayor receives $1200 per month and each Council member receives a monthly salary of $1000, as specified by the Council Policies and Procedures Manual. City Council members are also enrolled in PERS, with the City paying the Council Members’ contribution. City Council members are eligible to receive health insurance and receive the same contribution amount as Department Head employees, although they may not receive cash in lieu of insurance if they have coverage through another provider.  Council compensation is reviewed with the assistance of a citizen committee every two years.  Any changes proposed to City Council member salaries or benefits must be passed by a City Council resolution during a public hearing.

How can I talk to City Council members about what’s happening in the City?

The San Luis Obispo City Council meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month, at 7:00 p.m., in the Council Chambers at City Hall (990 Palm Street). Other meetings or study sessions are held as needed.  Agenda documents and related staff reports are posted to the City’s website prior to all scheduled meetings.  Residents are encouraged to attend and participate in City Council meetings. Live video and audio streams of City Council Meetings are available online or on Charter television Channel 20. You can also check the City’s Facebook page.

The City of San Luis Obispo wants residents to be fully informed about their local government. If you have questions, comments, or concerns regarding any of the information you reviewed on this site, please go to the How Are We Doing? page and submit your concerns, or use the directory to contact a specific department representative for assistance.  Thank you


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