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Compensation Information

There has been much discussion recently regarding compensation of city council members, and city employees.  The City of Rancho Santa Margarita embraces a philosophy of openness and transparency, and in an effort to provide compensation information of elected and appointed officials, and staff the City has placed this information on the it's website. Below is a summary of the compensation information for city officials and staff based on a disclosure model provided by the Orange County Grand Jury Report entitled "Transparency Breaking Up Compensation Fog - But Why Hide Pension Costs"

City of Rancho Santa Margarita Compensation Information

Below is the Compensation Schedule for City Council Members and City Employees with Base Salary of over $100,000 for the FY Ended June 30, 2013 (per the recommended disclosure model)



 Other Pay (a) 

 Insurance Premiums 

 Pension Costs 

 Total Compensation 

Council Member






Council Member






Council Member






Council Member (5 mos.)






Council Member (8 mos.)






Council Member (9.5 mos.)          






City Manager






Administrative Svcs Director






City Engineer






Development Svcs Director






City Clerk






Principal Engineer






(a) Includes mandatory retirement contributions, fees, deferred compensation, incentive bonus, auto allowance and pay in lieu of time off. 

Additionally, you can view the compensation schedule for all City Employees here 

General Compensation Information

City Council Compensation:

    Provided by the City:
    $463.50 monthly salary. 
    $1,321 monthly benefit allowance for medical, dental, vision & other benefits.  
    $57.47 monthly mandatory retirement contribution represents 
    12.4% of the salary amount allocated to a retirement account administered by 
    ICMA on their behalf.  
    City Council Members do not receive CalPERS retirement benefits.  
    Total Compensation:  $1841.97 per month.

    Provided by Other Agencies:
    Transportation Corridor Agencies - $120.00 per meeting & mileage at IRS rate. 
    (One council member; one alternate)

    Orange County Fire Authority - $100.00 per meeting. 
    (One council member; one alternate)

    Transportation Corridor System - $120.00 per meeting.  
    (One council member; one alternate)

Planning Commission:     
$75.00 stipend per meeting based on
resolution 04-07-14-01 adopted July 14, 2004.  Total Compensation:  $75.00 per meeting

City Manager:   
The current City Manager's base salary is one hundred eighty seven thousand dollars ($187,000) annually.  The City Manager's contract can be viewed here.    

The City of RSM does not have associations organized under collective bargaining agreements.  Only  the City Manager has an employment contract.  All other staff are unrepresented and work under polices adopted by the City Council.

Current Salary Resolution for all city staff.  Staff also receives $1,471 monthly benefit allowance for the purchase of medical, dental, vision and other benefits. 
Adjustments to employee compensation are approved by City Council in accordance with City Council Policy 3.2. To view a copy of City Council Policy 3.2, please click 

For a list of all the salary resolutions adopted by the City Council since incorporation in 2000, click

The City contracts with CalPERS for retirement benefits at the 2.5% at 55 formula, for employees hired prior to February 27, 2011. All employees hired after this date, are subject to the newly adopted formula of 2% at 60. For a complete schedule of the retirement contributions made to CalPERS, click here

Effective January 1, 2013, AB 340: Public Employees Pension Reform Act of 2013 will add the new pension formula of 2% @ 62 for all new members.  A new member is defined as:

1.      An individual who becomes a member of a public retirement system for the first time on or after January 1, 2013 and who is not a member of another public retirement system prior to that date,

2.      An individual who becomes a member of a public retirement system for the first time on or after January 1, 2013, and who is a member of another public retirement system prior to that date, but was not subject to reciprocity under PERS or CERL,

3.      An individual who was an active member in a retirement system and who, after a break in service of more than six months, returned to active membership in that system with a new employer.

Employees who are hired after January 1, 2013 and meet the “new member” eligibility criteria will be enrolled at the 2% @ 62 benefit level.  At this time, CalPERS has not established contribution rates.  This webpage will be updated once the contribution rates are published.

Employees who are hired after January 1, 2013 and meet the “new member” eligibility criteria, the initial contribution rate will be at least 50% of the normal cost or “the current contribution rate of similarly situated employees”, whichever is greater.

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