Alameda County, like many other counties, is facing a multimillion-dollar deficit. That's part of the reason taxpayers are stunned; not only by the administrator's current salary, but also because she'll earn that amount long after she leaves this office.
"You know, all the money's going up to the top and everybody at the bottom has to suffer," Alameda County resident Billy Rodgers said.
Rodgers was referring to the salary and reported future retirement benefits of Alameda County's administrator Susan Muranishi.
According to state records, Muranishi makes a base salary of nearly $302,000. But with more than $121,000 in other compensation, including equity and longevity pay, a performance bonus, and car allowance among other things, her annual salary now tops $423,000. That's the highest for any county administrator in California.
"That's a hell of a lot, 423 thousand dollars," Rodgers exclaimed.
Oakland resident Gail Dubose added, "I work with children, so they're always taking the money from the children and that bothers me. So, I feel like when it comes to administration, they get too much."
But it doesn't stop with Muranishi's salary. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the 63-year-old administrator is guaranteed basically the same amount of money, more than $400,000 per year, in retirement for life.
"It's astounding, really," said Sue Caro. She's the chairman of the Alameda County Republican party.
"She's 63-years-old," Caro said. "A healthy woman of 63 has a life expectancy of 22 years more. And when you calculate her pay package times 22 years, Alameda County taxpayers are going to be paying her well over nine million dollars in her retirement."
None of the current county supervisors would comment for our story Monday. Neither did Muranishi, who has worked for the county for 38 years.
But Jon Coupal, the president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers' Association, said this in a statement, "The obscenely exorbitant salary received by the CAO of Alameda County reveals a fundamental disconnect between our public leaders and ordinary citizens. The 'guaranteed salary for life' is particularly galling and will burden Alameda County taxpayers for decades."
A recent study by the state found that Alameda County's public employees has the second highest average salaries in the state. That said, most are nothing like the county administrator's. We're talking about an average salary just over $69,000 per year.