Calif. County Administrator To Be Paid $400,000 A Year -- For Life

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Susan Muranishi retirementLike a lot of county governments in California, Alameda County has been facing severe, multimillion-dollar budget deficits. But unlike most county governments, Alameda has guaranteed its County Administrator Susan Muranishi a Wall Street-like salary for the rest of her life.

According to news reports, Susan Muranishi receives a base salary of $301,000, plus an additional $100,000-plus in other compensation, including $24,000 in "equity" pay, a $24,000 performance bonus and $8,292 car allowance.

Muranishi, 63, has been a county employee for 38 years, and so when she retires, her annual pension will be equal to her pay package. She also is set to receive another taxpayer-financed executive pension. Her total pension will be $423,664, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty told The Associated Press that Muranishi is "worth every dime," and he compared her job to that of a CEO of a major corporation. Alameda County has a population of 1.5 million and encompasses Berkeley, Oakland and much of the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay area. But Muranishi is the highest paid county administrator in California -- and even earns as much as President Obama.

"It's astounding, really," Sue Caro, chair of the Alameda County Republican party, told ABC station KGO-TV in San Francisco. "A healthy woman of 63 has a life expectancy of 22 more years. When you calculate her pay package times 22 years, Alameda County will be paying her well over $9 million dollars in her retirement."

Muranishi moved into government service after working as a Macy's retail executive. In a 2007 interview with the San Francisco Business Times, she was asked to name her "best decision" and she said it was moving into public service. Her definition of success? "Making a positive difference."

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