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20111102_ha_JOHN_CHIANG0365.JPGCalifornia's highest paid city employee last year was the city manager of Buena Park, who was paid $545,394 in 2012, according to the latest compilation of local salary data by state Controller John Chiang's office.

The second highest was a police sergeant in South Gate, $486,044.

But the highest paid county employee can top that. An orthopedic surgeon on contract to Kern County was being paid $1,040,651 last year. The 10 highest paid county employees in the survey were all physicians working in county-owned medical facilities.

Most of the highest paid listed on Chiang's ranking -- the city manager and police sergeant, for instance -- included vacation pay or other one-time payouts.

"Making compensation of public employees transparent provides taxpayers with the ability to be more informed and active in local government decisions," Chiang said in a statement. "I'm especially encouraged with the cooperation that cities and counties have provided in helping us make all government more accountable to Californians."

The newest report, which lists salaries by position and not by name, covers wage and benefit data for 637,435 positions local positions and more than $38.86 billion in wages paid in 2012.

PHOTO: Controller John Chiang in 2011. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua.


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