Culver City Observer -

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By Neil Rubenstein
Observer Columnist 

Culver Public 'Servants' Make Big Money



September 6, 2018

How much do you make each year? Are you, as a popular TV and radio advertisement asks, “financially comfortable”?

Perhaps you are not, but many of our taxpayer-funded City employees are.

According to Transparent California, the state’s largest public pay and pension database, here is what Culver taxpayers are paying for their “public servants”:

2017 salaries for Culver City.

Name Job Title Total pay & benefits total

Robert Bixby Police Chief $539,278.78

David White Fire Chief $502,129.73

Ronald Iizuka Assistant Chief $473,607.36

Michael Bowden Assistant Fire Chief $438,808.67

Michael Nagy Fire Marshal $418,058.13

Osama Agaiby Police Captain $409,967.44

John Nachbar City Manager $409,540.74

Kenneth Powell Battalion Chief $406,092.63

Michael Shank Police Lieutenant $398,988.69

Carol Warshaw City Attorney $384,615.98

Jason Sims Police Captain $383,877.13

Heather Baker Assistant City Attorney $310,143.38

Jeremy Debie Battalion Chief $309,788.35

David Gardner Fire Engineer $308,697.59

Jeff Muir Chief Financial Officer $308,684.96

Roger Braum Fire Captain $301,667.65

Derek Still Fire Engineer $300,496.37

Peter Hernandez Police Lieutenant $297,099.35

Eric Arthur Firefighter $290,231.40

Charles Herbertson Public Works Director $290,001.48

Paul Voorhees Fire Captain $288,075.11

Michele Williams Chief Information Officer $287,309.73

Brandon Kay Firefighter $287,309.87

Art Ida Transportation Director $287,195.62

Christopher Miller Fire Captain $286,577.91

Daniel Sukal Police Sergeant $285,764.89

Nicholas Mendes Fire Engineer $284,132.10

Vote Against More Local Tax Hikes

Vote NO to raise Culver’s local sales and property-taxes in November. The new tax revenue would probably not help schools because the money would be diverted to higher salaries and pension plans, plus medical benefits and “time-off” for holidays.

Yet, public school teaching as a career seems to have lost some of its allure. A survey of parents found that only 46 percent would support a teaching career, down sharply from the 70 percent polled in 2009 and from a high of 75 percent in 1969.

Americans may not want their children to become teachers, but most said that they have trust and confidence in today’s teachers. About 61 percent are confident, but that means 39 percent are not.

Culver School District Budget Out of Control

While looking through the School District’s 2017-18 budget, I noticed that there was a little box close to the end of the budget that showed what one-percent of each of the bargaining units’ salaries and statutory benefits cost the District.

Adding them together, they totaled $543,420.

So, 100 percent of the District’s total cost for its salaries and statutory benefits were $54,342,000--not including medical insurance and health and welfare benefits.

I then looked at the latest budget for 2018-19 for this year’s corresponding figures. The new, updated figures totaled $716,872. That’s an enormous increase of 30 percent.

So, the total cost of the District’s adult salaries and pension costs for 2018-19 is projected to be $71,687,200.

What drove most of this 30 percent increase in salaries and pension contributions? Since last year, as with this coming year, there were no salary raises negotiated--other than step and column increases.

Without any raises given, it looks like pension contributions were the driving force.

New Bill would Protect Pregnant Prisoners

Our local representative in Congress, Karen Bass, plans to introduce legislation soon to finally create a national standard addressing the care of pregnant women in prisons.

Restraints and solitary confinement are still used on women during their pregnancy, or even when they are in labor. The bill that Bass has authored would address such issues.

The proposed legislation is expected to be introduced by the second week of September. It is already supported by the majority of the women members in both parties—a real bipartisan bill, not just a bunch of Dems and one Republican.

This commentary does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Observer. Previous columns by Neil Rubenstein can be found at


Reader Comments(2)

Osal writes:

NO Clay, he is not quoting the salary he is stating the COMPENSATION, except it does NOT include ALL compensation because it does NOT account for PAID TIME OFF (so add another 30%): PAID sick leave (12 days), PAID holidays (14 total, 12 + 2 floating), PAID vacation (15-40 days). I guess because fringe benefits, which in many cases actually exceeds base salary in the CA Fantasyland of public employment, must be free because it does not result in a $ gain. Don't tell us, you're a public employee.

ClayB writes:

In this opinion piece, the author claims to quote salaries from Transparent California’s website. The only problem is that every single salary seems to be $200,000 higher than the figure actually given on the site. There are two possibilities. One is that Mr Rubenstein missed the disclaimer that the numbers already include a “best estimate” for pension and medical costs and has assumed (rather wildly) that every single employee is given $200,000 a year in additional benefits. Hmmmm.


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