For those disenchanted by reports of continued high unemployment, sequestration and the devaluation of your hard earned dollars, take heart, apparently it's not all doom and gloom. According to a study conducted by the California Public Policy Center (CPPC), we in the media haven't been entirely vigilant about telling the full story when it comes to some salaried workers--notably employees of the city of Irvine--who seem to be doing just fine.
According to the study, the average total compensation for full-time employees in 2012 was $143,691, far higher than the average given by the State Controller in 2011, which pegged the figure at $58,596. Note the "average total compensation" qualifier which accounts for direct benefits paid to employees as opposed to merely figuring base wages.
"It is vital for journalists, politicians and voters to fully understand the concept of total compensation," said the study's author Ed Ring. "Base wages and salaries are only part of what workers earn."
In recent years, the CPPC also looked at the cities of Costa Mesa, Anaheim and San Jose and found in all cases the average total compensation to be between $140,000 and $150,000.
The most recent study figured the cost to Irvine tax payers for shouldering city employee salaries, with the addition of county-contracted fire services, was $634 annually, double what the State Controller figured.
To be fair, a solid pension is a fine way to protect retirees against the scourge of cuts to social security and fixed incomes in the face of the increased costs of death-bed living.
This shouldn't stop today's Irvine residents from looking at the unfinished Great Park and considering the possibility that when the current crop of city employees lay in their death beds years from now the park will remain unfinished.
And even if at some point in the future the Great Park is flourishing, residents will have to look back and ask themselves if it was worth the price they paid.