Annually, the City of La Palma prepares Employee Compensation Reports, which provide detailed information, by position, of each employee's total calendar year compensation, broken out by salary and various benefits. Council Member compensation is listed first, followed by Executive Management Team compensation, followed by all full-time and part-time employee compensation sorted by highest paid to lowest paid.
The report provides the position title; department; monthly salary rate as of December 31; annual salary rate as of December 31; actual base pay; overtime pay; specialty pay; other pay; leave payouts; insurance and medicare benefits; the cost to the City of pension benefits; and total calendar year compensation. A description of specialty and other pays can be found in the Employee Benefits Schedule.
The Employee Benefits Schedule provides detailed information about the various benefits that City of La Palma employees receive depending on their respective employee bargaining unit. Information is provided on retirement benefits, including formulas and the cost to the City; health, dental, and vision benefits; life, AD&D, and disability benefits; deferred compensation plans; paid time off benefits, including holidays, vacation, and administrative leave; leave cashout provisions; and other pays that may include, bilingual pay, boot allowance, uniform allowance, vehicle allowance, wellness benefits, Intermediate POST Certification pay, Advanced POST Certification pay, educational incentive pays, professional development pay, detective pay, motor officer pay, canine officer pay, field training officer pay, and corporal-in-charge pay.
Under various Federal, State, and local laws many conditions that affect wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment must be conferred with the recognized employee organization. This process is more commonly known as labor negotiations, which usually results in a labor agreement. These agreements are called Memorandums of Understanding (MOU), and are approved by the employee organization's membership and then ratified by the La Palma City Council in an open meeting. Current and previous MOU's for the City's various labor groups are provided on the Labor Agreements webpage.
When establishing salaries and benefits, the City Council strives to maintain affordability while ensuring that employees are fairly compensated for the work that they do. In general, La Palma employee salaries and total benefits tend to be below Orange County averages. The California State Controller also maintains a website, which contains a large database of government compensations; including La Palma's compensation data.
Each La Palma City Council Member receives a monthly salary of $300, as specified by La Palma Municipal Code Section 2-6. Like other part-time staff, Council Members are also enrolled in a 414h type of of retirement benefit (similar to a 401k), with the Council Member paying 3.75% of their salary and the City matching that contribution. While Council Members receive a small life insurance benefit ($10,000), they do not receive health insurance benefits. Please note that some Council members receive additional compensation from regional committees that they are appointed to – for example, OC Fire Authority, OC Sanitation District, and the OC Vector Control District. The compensation rates for sitting on those committees are set and paid for by those agencies.
Because the City Council has consistently been responsible with the public’s money, the City Council has a policy of maintaining a General Fund Reserve – the City’s “rainy day fund” – at 50% of ongoing operating expenditures. The public is encouraged to review a variety of La Palma financial documents on the City’s Finance web page. These documents include the City's current adopted Budget, previous year’s budgets, and several years worth of Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR).
The City of La Palma wants residents to be fully informed about their local government. If you have questions, comments, or concerns about any of the City’s financial or labor documents, please contact the Administrative Services Department or call (714) 690-3300.