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Politics & Policy

The Standard Top 10: Who is SF’s highest-paid city official?

Illustration - Leo Cooperband

San Francisco is the nation’s most expensive U.S. city to live in, so it follows that jobs pay more here—and city officials are no exception. 

The latest Transparent California data show Mayor London Breed earned a base salary of $351,000 in 2020 making her the highest-paid mayor in America. By comparison, Los Angeles’ Mayor Eric Garcetti earned $277,000 and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio earned $259,000.

Mayor Breed's base salary is also more than twice that of the mayor of San Jose and three times that of San Diego's mayor.

Adding in benefits, Mayor Breed’s total compensation reached $435,000, more than Governor Gavin Newsom, who only earned $278,561 in 2020.

A look at the compensation awarded to other San Francisco city officials shows the Board of Supervisors members receive similar total compensation annually, approximately $179,000.

And though District Attorney Chesa Boudin and Police Chief William Scott III may have their differences, they likely both agree that SF is a generous employer, with total compensation of $366,000 and $428,000, respectively.

And despite Mayor Breed’s compensatory superiority when compared to her mayoral peers, she ranks only 39th on the list of the most highly compensated employees in the city she governs.

The best-compensated city workers are those tasked with managing the $34.5 billion of assets in the the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System. Its Chief Investment Officer, William J. Coaker Jr., earned $735,000 in 2020, making him SF’s highest-paid city official.

Other top-paid city workers include medical professionals and supervising positions in the city’s homeless care ranks. And some employees of the sheriff’s department make more money than the mayor, because of high overtime pay.