Letter: A Shock That Fails to Shock

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The Indy website has corrected its report that our new city manager makes more than her Newport Beach counterpart. But regretting the error, and amending the story online, leaves the red meat intact: that Shohreh’s annual salary of $275,000, approved by a 5-0 vote of the City Council, is a red flag for “city government watchdogs.”

Michele Monda, the only watchdog quoted, expresses her disapproval by comparing the per capita cost with Newport and Huntington Beach, a novel and untested metric for deciding what to pay a city manager. An alternate basis for comparison can be found on Transparent California (“California’s largest public pay and pension database”). Based on its current data, Shohreh is the 167th highest-paid city manager in California. True, that’s about five percent more than what they pay in Huntington Beach, unless the Indy has another correction in the works.

If that shocks the reader’s conscience, you are as easily shocked as Michele. As a fellow self-appointed watchdog, I prefer to look at the differential as combat pay.

Christopher Quilter, Laguna Beach

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