The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

March 10, 2011
From the notebook: More about Caltrans employee pay, benefits

110307 Anderson press conference.JPGWe never get all of what we learn into a news story, but this blog can give users the notes and quotes from the notebook that informed what was published.

We wrote an item for today's Bee that looks at Sen. Joel Anderson's statement that Caltrans employees' average pay and benefits package is more than $100,000 per year.

Turns out that he's correct about the average compensation cost per employee if you look at proposed positions and wages for 2010-11, but the department's personnel composition -- lots of engineers with education and specialized skills -- skews the statistic.

Here are sources we considered for our analysis:

The Anderson press release mentions the average Caltrans employee compensation figure, one item on a list of reasons the senator wants to shift highway maintenance and repair from the state to local and regional governments..

Caltrans proposed positions and wage data for 2010-11. Here's the last page of that document.

Here's Bureau of Labor Statistics data that includes what civil engineers earn in the private sector

We looked at Caltrans Associate Transportation Engineer job specifications (for registered engineers) and salary ranges, since about 5,000 Caltrans employees are in that job class.

The Bee's Phillip Reese ran 2010 Caltrans payroll numbers from the State Controller's Office. That data is what he uses to build the state worker pay database.

The average benefit cost factor for Caltrans employees, 38.25 percent, was supplied to The State Worker by the Department of Finance.

We didn't reference this in our analysis, but Professional Engineers in California Government responded to Anderson's Caltrans slam with a press release of its own.

PHOTO CREDIT: Sen. Joel Anderson speaks to media at a press conference Monday, March 7, 2011. Torey Van Oot / Sacramento Bee

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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