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13 California State Bar Employees Get Paid More Than the Governor

By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. | Last updated on

Want to become rich while working in the California state government? Don't run for governor, don't become director of the department of health, don't put yourself in charge of the state's water resources control board. Get a job with the California State Bar Association.

That's right. The state bar's top executives get paid much more than similar employees elsewhere in state government -- including the 13 Cal Bar employees who make more than the governor.

Get Rich With the State Bar

The California State Bar is again facing criticism from state auditors, who take the organization to task for its lack of transparency and questionable financial decisions. The most recent report from the state auditor claims that the bar 'has not fully disclosed its financial situation over the last three years," and takes the organization to task for overpaying its executives and charging "inappropriate expenses."

As the audit notes, top employees with the state bar paid "significantly higher than salaries for comparable positions in state government."

Meanwhile, the bar's Client Security Fund, which compensates those defrauded by lawyers, remains vastly underfunded. The fund would need almost $17 million to repay its backlog of claims, according to NBC Bay Area.

The report makes a series of recommendations to improve the state bar's transparency and financial affairs. That includes a call for greater supervision and control of the bar's finances by the California State Bar's Board of Trustees.

The report comes less than a year after the state auditor issued a highly critical report on the state's attorney discipline process.

Who Is Making a Killing With the State Bar?

So, just how much do the top California State Bar employees make over their peers? The audit included a helpful list of more than 60 executive-level employees and their salaries. Here are the top 20, with the state bar employees highlighted in bold. You'll find Governor Jerry Brown down towards the bottom.

    1. Executive Director/CEO, State Bar of California $267,500
    2. Agency Secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, $243,360
    3. Chief Operating Officer, State Bar, $239,500
    4. Director, California Department of Public Health, $239,064
    5. Chief Trial Counsel, State Bar, $229,079
    6. Director, California Department of Social Services, $219,264
    7. Chief Legal Officer, State Bar, $216,869
    8. Deputy General Counsel, State Bar, $208,255
    9. Senior Director, Admissions, State Bar, $208,255
    10. Senior Director, State Bar Court, State Bar, $202,257
    11. Senior Director, Information Technology, State Bar, $195,445
    12. Executive Director, State Board of Equalization, $188,448
    13. Deputy Chief Trial Counsel, State Bar, $188,223
    14. Chief Assistant General Counsel, State Bar, $188,223
    15. Senior Director, Education, State Bar, $187,927
    16. Senior Director, Administration of Justice, State Bar, $187,927
    17. Director, General Services, State Bar, $187,676
    18. Governor, State of California, $182,784
    19. Director, California Department of Water Resources, $177,683
    20. Director, California Department of Transportation, $177,683

But don't get confused. Though they're paid more than their peers, California Bar employees aren't the highest paid workers in state government. The top spot goes to James Mora, head coach of the UCLA Bruins. He took in a salary of over $3.5 million last year, according to the Sacramento Bee. State bar execs seem like paupers in comparison.

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