California State Workers Salary Database Update for 2021



The headquarters of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, or CalSTRS, on Waterfront Place in West Sacramento is seen on the right in a drone photo on December 5, 2020.

The Sacramento Bee State Worker Salary Database has been updated with data for 2021.

The data is searchable by employee name and state department, and includes 2021 salary information for public service employees as well as those working for California State University. It includes 2020 salary information for those working at the University of California. University of California salary data for 2021 will be available later this year.

Governor Gavin Newsom and the Legislature restored state employee pay in July after cutting it a year earlier amid projections of a budget deficit that never materialized.

Most state workers also received salary increases of approximately 5% – or approximately 2.5% for each of the fiscal years ending in 2020 and 2021. Certain employee classifications received additional recruiting and retention increases.

The state paid about 260,000 civil servants totaling about $21.8 billion in calendar year 2021, according to updated pay data from the state comptroller’s office. This includes full-time, part-time, and intermittent workers, and excludes California State University and University of California employees.

The total is up from 2020, when the state paid about 1,000 more people for a total of about $20.8 billion.

Investment officers in state pension systems topped the list of highest paid employees again. California rules for paying people in these jobs differ from those for the rest of the state’s civil service, to allow pension funds to hire in the competitive world of finance.

But, unlike last year, top executives in California’s state teachers’ retirement system received bigger payouts than most of their peers in California’s public employee retirement system after the two systems exceeded revenue targets in the fiscal year ending June.

Seven of the state’s 10 highest-paid employees worked at CalSTRS, the data shows. The system’s chief investment officer, Christopher Ailman, tops the list with $1.67 million in total salary. This included approximately $568,000 in regular salary and $1.1 million in other salaries.

Managing Director Jack Ehnes and Deputy Chief Investment Officer Scott Chan also cleared $1 million, with Ehnes earning $1.1 million and Chan earning $1.03 million, according to the data. Ehnes retired in June.

State Compensation Insurance Fund President and CEO Vernon Steiner was the fourth highest earner at $841,000.

This is followed by four other CalSTRS investment officers and a consultant from the state comptroller’s office.

Dan Welcome, who served as the interim chief investment officer of CalPERS as a system looking for a permanent CIOwas the 10th highest earner in the state, with a total salary of $791,000, according to the data.

This story was originally published January 25, 2022 5:00 a.m.

CORRECTION: This story was updated the morning of January 27 to correct the title of former CalSTRS CEO Jack Ehnes.

Corrected on January 27, 2022

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Wes Venteicher presents The Bee’s popular coverage of State Worker in the newspaper’s Capitol Bureau. It covers taxes, pensions, unions, state expenses, and the California government. A native of Montana, he reported on health care and politics in Chicago and Pittsburgh before joining The Bee in 2018.


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