Joseph A. Fletcher Was 2nd Highest Paid Muni Worker in State as Santa Ana's City Attorney

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City Attorney Joseph A. Fletcher left the cracked streets of Santa Ana a January ago with more than $605,000 in salary, severance and benies, and new data released by the State Controller show that brought him this "distinction":

Fletcher earned more in 2010 than any other municipal employee in California except "Jabba the Corrupt" Robert Rizzo of Bell.

Fletcher is among an elite class of 10 city workers who earned more than $400,000 apiece in total 2010 compensation. Three were from Bell, three were from San Jose and two were from Compton, while none were from California's largest cities of Los Angeles and San Diego. Fletcher, naturally, topped the list of city attorneys, with the next highest paid being Palmdale's, who took more than $386,000 to finish No. 21 on the top-compensated list released by State Controller John Chiang.

That's right, Fletcher took that much home while his City Hall colleagues left miles and miles of potholes, squeezed local merchants for ungodly fees and let its fire department free fall financially.

But don't worry about Fletch, he'll be fine. Growing up in the Pasadena area, he began his career as Modesto's deputy city attorney in 1983. He later left for Anaheim and Burbank, which hired him as its first appointed city attorney in 1990. Six years later, Santa Ana snagged him and made him a very rich man.

Fletcher was living in Tustin when he announced his retirement in December 2010, later re-surfacing in Menifee, where he was paid $165 an hour plus expenses under a four-month contract. On Feb. 1, Fletcher becomes the city attorney for Ojai, which has not yet disclosed his compensation package.

Hopefully those who come up with the figures will use The Google so that Ojaians can avoid a neat trick in a hush-hush contract amendment that allowed Fletch to carry over vacation time and sick leave extending back 13 years before he was hired. Santa Ana gave Fletcher that lucrative perk in 2002, something some council members swear they did not know until the city attorney said, "Adios, motherfuckers!" . . . Figuratively, of course.

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