Wu: Employee-to-resident ratio suggests big govt.

May 05, 2012|By Jack Wu

I looked at this once in 2007, and again in 2010, so in celebration of May Day and International Workers' Day 2012, I am going to celebrate the People's Republic of Newport Beach city employees and the so-called republican (small r) City Council.

So, let me first reiterate my discontent for a statement by former Newport Beach City Manager Homer Bludau, stating that they were going to build a new city hall (back when it was still going to be on the Balboa Peninsula) to accommodate "future employee growth."

Future Employee Growth. Makes my head explode.

So is there any doubt in your mind that our new, $100-million to $150-million White Elephant/Taj Mahal/City Hall/Civic Center will be built to also accommodate future employee growth?


Under the prior city manager's regime, Newport Beach got lots and lots of employees, to the point where trailers were put up on the lawn to fit them all in.

And our council sat back and let it happen because times were good. So good that city employees were paid extremely well and earned amazing pensions and benefits. So good that the pension liability has grown large enough to choke multiple horses.

Anyway, in consecutive years, where our city had to cut back millions of dollars to balance the budget, I'm going to spew out the numbers which took me hours to gather.

According to the 2011-12 city budget, Newport Beach has 886.27 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees.

FTE? OK, if you take two, 20-hour a week employees, that's the equivalent to one full-time employee.

That's with fire, police, lifeguards, trash people, etc.

With an estimated population of 85,186 folks, Newport has:

•886.27 FTEs.

96.12 residents per city employee.

10.40 city employees per 1,000 residents.

Does that seem like a lot? Newport Beachians expect more than residents of other cities, of course. But under current City Manager Dave Kiff's regime, these numbers are actually better than they were before he took to top spot in September 2009.

In the 2009-10 city budget, Newport Beach had:

981.31 FTEs

87.89 residents per city employee,

11.38 city employees per 1,000 residents

Our Socialist, er Democratic-led, neighbors in Irvine, with their 219,156 residents, have:

1046.49 FTEs.

209.42 residents per city employee.

4.78 city employees per 1,000 residents.

Democrat-led Santa Ana and their 324,528 residents:

1,510 FTEs.

214.92 residents per city employee.

4.65 city employees per 1,000 Residents.

Republican (note the Capital R) Costa Mesa and its 109,960 residents:

557.84 FTEs.

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