I count more than 250 full-time employees of L.A.'s Community Redevelopment Agency, and only one person - a clerical assistant - making less than $50,000. That's nice money for filing and phone answering. Most jobs are in the $100,000 to $150,000 range, which is what you'd expect for middle- and senior-level bureaucrats. Is the pay justified? Who knows? Salary lists don't tell you all that much about the effectiveness of an operation. But now that local officials are taking aim at Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies, it's up to the CRA to justify those 250+ people and their relatively handsome salaries. Officials will get their chance when the state Controller's office reviews the books. Anyway, here's the list of who gets paid what.
From the LAT:
For years, housing advocates and critics of redevelopment have urged the state to better police the agencies, some of which have been mired in scandal. Reporting last fall by The Times found corruption and mismanagement at agencies throughout the state. It also found that state officials did little to force agencies to follow the law. Many state officials, including Chiang's office, said they did not have the money to do aggressive and comprehensive audits. "I think greater scrutiny is long overdue," said Catherine Rodman, a San Diego lawyer who has sued several redevelopment agencies over their use of housing funds. "The state has literally been hands off for half a century."
John Shirey, the head of the California Redevelopment Assn., which lobbies on behalf of the agencies, questioned whether the auditors had allowed themselves enough time to determine how much economic activity is created through redevelopment. "That is an economic study that is difficult to do, requires pretty sophisticated kinds of analyses and over a period of time," he said. His organization put out a study Monday alleging that abolishing redevelopment will result in "the loss of more than 304,000 jobs, $40 billion in economic activity and more than $2 billion in state and local tax revenues each and every year."
Those numbers seem absurdly high (and only vaguely documented), but for the 250+ folks in L.A. who want to stay employed, the truth might not matter at this point.