Does your city pay its employees more than the state pays the Governor?

In an analysis of 2017 employee compensation of the 50 largest cities in the state of Utah, it was found that 29 of the 50 cities pay at least one employee more than Governor Gary Herbert’s annual total compensation. The governor’s salary, including wages and benefits, in 2017 was $190,187.59. The highest paid city employee in 2017 was an employee in Provo City’s public works department that was paid $318,530.98. The Provo employee’s salary was exceptionally higher than previous years as the employee received over $88,000 in “leave pay” in 2017. The second highest paid employee is the Chief of Police for Salt Lake City, who earned $272,551.12 in 2017. The third highest paid employee is the city manager of West Valley City who was paid $259,277.56.

City Managers, City Attorneys and Police Chiefs are the employees that tend to receive the highest pay at the city level. In 35 of the 50 cities, the City Manager ranked in the top three of the highest paid employee in the city. The city manager, or city administrator, is typically the top day-to-day employee over a city and reports to the city council and mayor.

Elected officials for most of the cities receive relatively modest compensation and did not rank in the highest paid employees for the 50 cities with the exception of two cities. The mayors of Tooele and Ogden both are in the top three in compensation for their city. Unelected employees in almost every city of the 50 examined represented the top wage and benefit earners.

The same can be said for the Governor’s office. While the Governor receives more than $190,000 in total compensation, his staff actually earns more. In 2017, the governor’s chief of staff was compensated $230,694.60. The executive director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget also made more than the state’s top elected official as they were compensated $225,258.38 last year.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates Utah’s median household income to be $62,518. For all 50 cities that were reviewed, the top three highest compensated employees all received total compensation greater than $100,000.

Data for the analysis was taken from the Utah Public Finance Website ( Figures were taken from the 2017 employee compensation tabs contained on the website.

Utah cities with at least one employee paid more than the governor:

American Fork               Layton                       Provo                      Spanish Fork
Bountiful                         Lehi                            Riverton                 Springville
Clearfield                         Logan                        Roy                          St. George
Clinton                             Midvale                     Salt Lake City        West Jordan
Cottonwood Heights     Murray                      Sandy                      West Valley City
Draper                              North Salt Lake       Saratoga Springs
Farmington                     Ogden                        South Jordan
Kaysville                          Orem                          South Salt Lake

Find the top paid employees in your city by reading our report here