How much is your city manager paid? Probably more than you

With Bell, Calif. pole-vaulting into national headlines for paying its city manager $800,000, it's human nature to wonder how much bacon the top manager in your community brings home -- and how much fat is on it. Bell covers 2.5 miles and has 36,000 residents, none of whom, it is fairly safe to say, earn anywhere near that much a year. So yeah, inquiring minds want to know: What does my city manager make?

The staff of looked into a range of communities across the country and found some surprising -- and not-so-surprising -- results:

For example, in tony Beverly Hills, population 30,000, city manager Rod Wood brings home $301,600 a year. Hey, there may only be 30,000 residents, but they are a vocal lot. Parks get watered and weeded; garbage men pick up any trash that falls on the golden streets; the homeless remain exceedingly well-hidden from sight. The man earns his money.

In celebrity-studded Malibu, the city manager earns a relatively paltry sum: $192,000 for dealing with the city's 12,000 residents. Of course his real headaches begin in the summer, when the town's population can swell to 100,000 on any given weekend and somebody has to be the heavy when local surfers toss paparazzi into the water for annoying the likes of Matthew McConaughey.