KEY POINTS

  • California has one of the largest economies in the United States
  • Mayors in cities across California are among the highest paid in the country
  • London Breed is reportedly the highest-paid mayor in California

California boasts one of the largest state economies in the United States, having a gross state product (GSP) of nearly $3.2 trillion as of 2019. Mayors in the state are also among the highest-paid in the country. Read on to find out which mayor has the highest salary in California.

"The Golden State" is the most populous in the U.S., home to 39 million people. According to Zip Recruiter, mayors in California have the 12th highest average salary in the country at $188,848 per year. Washington tops the list at $210,398. 

Mayors in various California cities are paid differently, with some earning upwards of $300,00 and some only getting $6,000 annually. With the responsibilities mayors have in managing their cities, some expect these officials to have lucrative paychecks. But their salaries are dependent on different factors. 

The highest-paid California mayor is San Francisco's Mayor London Breed who earned a total of $342,974 in 2019, according to data from the State Controller's Office. One reason for her higher pay is San Francisco’s expanding economy, caused by rising property prices and property taxes, BizJournals noted.

Next on the list is Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles who earned $272,586 in the same year. Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland came in at third with $212,422. Rounding up the list of the 10 highest-paid California mayors are those from Chula Vista, Long Beach, San Jose, Fresno, Sacramento, San Bernardino and Inglewood.

On the other end of the spectrum, Mayor Allen Joines of Winston-Salem, who works part-time, only earned $8,400. Oroville mayor Chuck Reynolds earned just $500 per month, per state data.

Mayors are responsible for managing a city’s local government, helping officials address the concerns of citizens and signing ordinances into law. They also receive reports from other local agencies such as police and fire departments.

Breed’s annual salary is only her base salary. She also reportedly earns more than $100,000 in benefits. She earns nearly $100,000 more than Gov. Jerry Brown, California’s highest-paid governor.

Despite her salary, Breed is not the highest-paid San Francisco employee. The position goes to William Coaker Jr., Chief Investment Officer for the city’s Employees’ Retirement System. Additionally, there were eight other city employees who earned higher salaries than the mayor herself, noted BizJournals.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that his California city might not host large gatherings, such as sporting events and concerts, before 2021 Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Photo: AFP / Robyn Beck