Ranking Local Government Leaders' Salaries

Pay for Pols


On the heels of a year when news headlines focused on the inner workings of city and county governments (think of the Turkia Mullin severance-package scandal in Wayne County), now seems as good a time as any to examine who makes what in the ranks of local-government leadership and how their paychecks stack up from city to city and state to state.

Salary statistics are only one indicator of overall income, though. Mayoral residences and city-owned cars provided to council members — uncommon perks that apply to Detroit — also come at a cost to taxpayers. And despite relatively low salaries, Detroit City Council’s budget makes up 1 percent of the city’s general-fund spending, the largest among the 15 cities the Philadelphia Research Initiative studied in 2010.

Mayoral Salaries in Major U.S. Cities:

Los Angeles: $232,425

New York: $225,000*

Chicago: $216,210

Boston: $169,750

Detroit: $158,558

Baltimore: $155,493

Cincinnati: $131,399

Pittsburgh: $103,425

*New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a multi-billionaire draws a symbolic $1 annual compensation.


City Council Members’ Salaries in Major U.S. Cities:

Los Angeles: $178,789; full time

Washington, D.C.: $130,538; part time

New York: $121,725; part time

Philadelphia: $121,107; full time

Chicago: $109,261; part time

San Jose: $89,710; full time

Boston: $87,500; full time

San Diego: $75,096; full time

Detroit: $73,595; full time

Baltimore: $63,178; full time

Phoenix: $61,610; part time

Pittsburgh: $57,815; part time

Houston: $55,770; full time

Dallas: $37,500; part time

San Antonio: $1,400; part time


Local County Commissioner & Executive Salaries: Macomb County

Commissioners: $30,746; part time

Board of Commissioners Chairperson: $66,595; full time

County Executive: $139,773; full time


Oakland County

Commissioners: $33,782; part time

County Executive: $173,500


Wayne County

Commissioners: $61,808; part time

County Executive: $154,521

Sources: League of Women Voters, Pew Charitable Trust: Philadelphia Research Initiative 2010, and public records. Council data from 2010. All other data reflect 2011 rates.

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