County CEO salaries draw harsh scrutiny |

County CEO salaries draw harsh scrutiny

Matthew Renda
Staff Writer

County Executive Officer Rick makes a total of $177,170 as the leader of Nevada County, which employs an equivalent of 773.5 full-time positions.

Salaries for county executive officers have come under scrutiny across the state after the San Francisco Chronicle reported Alameda County's Susan Muranishi is the highest-paid county administrator in California, with a $413,000 annual compensation package. County records show the 63-year-old Muranishi receives a $301,000 base salary, $24,000 performance bonus and $9,000 for serving on the Surplus Property Authority, the Associated Press reported.

Muranishi, who has worked for Alameda County for 38 years, also receives $24,000 in equity pay to guarantee she makes at least 10 percent more than any other county employee and $54,000 in longevity pay for working in the county for more than 30 years — as well as an $8,292 car allowance.

By contrast, Haffey earns $159,600 in base pay and an additional $7,900 in confidentiality pay, which is given to all county employees who handle sensitive information for the public entity, said Human Resources Director Charlie Wilson. Haffey earns about $4,000 in longevity pay, which is available to any county employee who has tabulated 10 years or more in service, Wilson said.

“(Haffey) is a very effective executive, and the reason the county is in such sound shape is a very consequence of his fiscal responsibility”

— Supervisor Nate Beason

Haffey's contract stipulates the CEO is entitled to $4,800 per year for a car allowance and is allowed $800 to pay toward gym membership or organizational dues or other discretionary entities, Wilson said.

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The county administrator is paid $309,000 in Santa Clara County, $257,000 in Contra Costa County and $259,402 in San Francisco, according to the Chronicle.

"Rick is highly competent," said Supervisor Nate Beason, who is serving his third term on Nevada County's supervisory board. "He is a very effective executive, and the reason the county is in such sound shape is a very consequence of his fiscal responsibility."

Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty says Muranishi is "worth every dime," comparing the job to being CEO of a $2.4 billion corporation with 9,000 employees.

Haffey is evaluated at the end of every calendar year in a closed session with the board of supervisors, according to his contract.

In 2010, while the county was enacting reductions to the employee roster in an effort to curtail expenditures in the face of dwindling revenues, Haffey voluntarily took a 5 percent pay cut, reducing his base pay from $168,000 to the current level. Haffey also agreed to increase his contribution to his retirement package.

Second to the CEO, Nevada County District Attorney Cliff Newell makes about $154,000 per year with County Counsel Alison Barratt-Green and Chief Information Officer Steve Monaghan each making slightly more than $150,000 as the third and fourth highest paid county employees, respectively.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email or 530-477-4239.

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