Employee Compensation and Benefits

Compensation / Labor Relations

Vista Civic Center

Public Pay

The City of Vista is committed to a clear and open government and transparency of employee compensation to every member of the public. The City’s charter sets out how the city is governed in line with the highest standards of public service.

The City Council, along with the City Manager, promotes a culture across all employee groups that demonstrates and supports the city’s mission to provide outstanding service to the community in order to improve the quality of life for all Vista residents and to enhance the uniqueness of our community. Our mission reflects our core values: respect, fairness, teamwork, integrity, compassion and stewardship. The City is committed to ensuring effective and efficient service delivery to Vista residents. These shared goals are expressed each year in the City budget. It spells out our needs, quantifies what we can afford, and sets in motion the initiatives and corrective measures that will guide us through the fiscal year.

Vista has long been transparent about pay and benefits. Each year, the schedule of pay and benefits is publicly reviewed and adopted by the City Council (“Classification & Compensation Index.”) This remains on our website all year. However, in order to make the information more accessible to the public and to the media, we have put together this data on salary compensation and benefits.

The City of Vista has also been at the forefront of reducing its employer costs to CalPERS (California Public Employees Retirement System). Vista was the first city in North County to reduce the employer’s cost by having employees pay their share of the CalPERS pension. As early as 2003, employees incrementally began to pick up more and more of the Employee Contribution, and in July, 2006, all Local Miscellaneous group employees were paying their entire 8% contribution, and in December 2013, all Fire Safety group employees began paying their full 9% contribution.

We know the public expects and demands that elected officials and their staff approach their job in an ethical, responsible and professional manner. The public is right to expect this and the City of Vista will continue to acknowledge this right and to provide a transparent government to the public.

Judy Ritter, Mayor

Patrick Johnson, City Manager

City Council Classification & Compensation Policies

The City Council is comprised of four elected Council members who serve four-year terms and an elected Mayor who serves a four-year term. The positions are not traditional full-time scheduled positions. The City Council sets the pay, benefits and other terms affecting all public employees who work for the City of Vista. Each year, the Council adopts a Classification and Compensation Index that sets out pay ranges for all positions. The Council has final approval of all terms and conditions of employment, including benefits and pensions.

Elected Officials

In accordance with Municipal Code Section 2.12.010 and subsequent ordinances 2008-1 and 2009-8, the Mayor receives $2,721.59 per month; and City Council member receive $2,621.59 per month as base salary. The Mayor and City Council members also serve as the governing members of the Buena Sanitation District (BSD). As members, they receive $147.75 per BSD meetings (maximum two meetings per month).

The Mayor and City Council members receive $90.00 per month for cell phone and PDA costs. Council members may choose to contribute towards Medical, Dental, and Vision benefit coverage under the City’s employee benefit plans. Membership in CalPERS retirement system is optional, if eligible.

Council members are authorized to attend conferences, workshops and meetings that directly relate to City business. They receive reimbursement of expenses for city-related functions. The actual expenses are public records.

In addition to their City Council duties, most members of the City Council also serve as a governing board member or liaison to a variety of local, county and regional agencies, organizations and projects. In most cases, those assignments are made annually by the Mayor with the approval of the City Council. Please note a few of the governing bodies that Vista City Council members participate in provide a stipend for each meeting attended. The Mayor and Council members may directly receive additional reimbursements or stipends from Encina, Regional Solid Waste Association (RSWA), North County Transit District (NCTD) and/or SANDAG that would not be paid through the City of Vista.

Mayor Judy Ritter

Annual Base Salary: $32,659.12

Council Member Dave Cowles

Annual Base Salary: $31,458.86

Council Member John J. Aguilera

Annual Base Salary: $31,458.86

Council Member Cody Campbell

Annual Base Salary: $31,458.86

Council Member Amanda Rigby

Annual Base Salary: $31,458.86

 

Salary & Compensation Information

City Manager

Annual Salary $219,950
Annual salary less 8% of retirement contribution paid by employee: $202,354

City Attorney

Annual Salary $228,800

Assistant City Manager

Annual Salary $ 174,447
Annual salary less 8% of retirement contribution paid by employee: $160,492

Director of Community Projects

Annual Salary $110,500
Annual salary less 8% of retirement contribution paid by employee: $101,660

City Clerk

Annual Salary $115,418
Annual salary less 8% of retirement contribution paid by employee: $106,184

Director of Community Development & Engineering

Annual Salary $185,120
Annual salary less 8% of retirement contribution paid by employee: $170,310

Director of Economic Development

Annual Salary $150,000
Annual salary less 8% of retirement contribution paid by employee: $138,000

Fire Chief

Annual Salary $165,438
Annual salary less 8% of retirement contribution paid by employee: $152,203

Director of Recreation & Community Services

Annual Salary $140,000
Annual salary less 8% of retirement contribution paid by employee: $128,800

Director of Redevelopment & Housing

Annual Salary $155,000
Annual salary less 8% of retirement contribution paid by employee: $142,600

Director of Finance/Treasurer

Annual Salary $140,000
Annual salary less 8% of retirement contribution paid by employee: $128,800

Employment Contracts / MOU's / Personnel Rules

The Personnel Rules establish the personnel system for the City of Vista. These rules apply to all offices, positions and employments in the service of the City except those exempted by the Municipal Code or by resolution of the City Council, or as noted therein. Management and Confidential employees are unrepresented employees whose terms and conditions of employment are addressed in the Management and Confidential Employees Compensation Plan. The City recognizes the following collective bargaining units: Vista Firefighters Association, Vista City Maintenance Association, and the Vista City Employees Association. There is a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU’s”) with each association which are contracts resulting from good faith negotiations under the terms of the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act. The City Council has also entered into Employment Agreements with the City Manager and the City Attorney that define conditions of their employment.

Public Pay in the News

As a result of the controversy over pay abuse in Bell, California, investigations have been launched by the California Attorney General's office and the Los Angeles County District Attorney.

A number of other efforts have been launched to improve transparency of public officials’ salaries to ensure an abuse like the incident that occurred in Bell does not happen again. Below are links to some of those efforts: