Compensation surprise: Are you prepared to pay more?


I was curious how our Rancho Santa Fe Association employees compensation compares to employees of big cities around the country. Under California law governing HOAs (homeowners associations), the information regarding the top 10 highest paid employees is public information, as long as titles, rather than names are used. I requested the salary and benefit information from the RSF Association office and received the table below.

I further went online (Google) and researched the salaries of mayors for the biggest cities in the U.S. to see how our compensation compared with those cities. Needless to say, I was shocked by what I found:

  1. New York


  1. Los Angeles


  1. Chicago


  1. Houston


  1. Philadelphia


  1. Phoenix


  1. San Antonio


  1. San Diego


  1. Dallas


  1. San Jose

Pretty astounding comparison. Our Association manager deals with 1,800 property owners/members, while these mayors deal with real big city problems of crime, sanitation, transportation, public housing, homelessness and public transportation. Does it seem logical that the mayors of New York and Los Angeles earn less than our Association manager?

I suspect that this has happened over time, because we are never made aware of our Association employees’ compensation, nor have I ever seen a comparative analysis of compensation. Salary creep, bonuses, and automatic increases appear to be the culprits.

Perhaps, compared to the earnings of many of our residents, these salaries don’t seem high. But salaries should be based upon responsibilities, not on some irrational basis that makes some of us feel good. We don’t compensate our household employees based upon our incomes, we compensate based upon industry standards and responsibilities. At some point these compensation packages will overwhelm the finances of our Association, and we will ultimately have to increase our dues simply to cover employee expense.

Are you prepared to pay more?

Kim Eggleston

Covenant Resident since June 2006

RSF assoc salaries