Who tops the list of highest-paid San Jose employees?
An aerial view of downtown San Jose is pictured in this file photo.

As San Jose braces for unprecedented financial deficits caused by the pandemic, the city broke its record in employee compensation, with 34 officials netting more than $400,000 in pay and benefits last year.

Seven of the 10 top-paid city employees worked at the San Jose Police Department, many of whom earned more in overtime than their salary. City Manager Dave Sykes and two fire battalion chiefs also made the list.

Eight city employees earned more than $400,000 in pay and benefits a year in 2018, city data shows. That number increased to 12 in 2019. In 2020, the number of employees netting more than $400,000 a year increased almost threefold, at 34, according to a San José Spotlight analysis. City data shows that a police captain topped the list last year with roughly $542,000 in compensation and benefits.

Overtime wages also jumped by $8.2 million since 2019 and currently sit at $78 million, data shows. Sixty one percent of those wages went to police officers last year, according to the analysis.

SJPD has seen a 300% increase in overtime in the past decade, according to a recent audit, making up roughly 10% of the department’s budget in 2019. Staffing levels plummeted between 2010 and 2017 and are slowly recovering.

The city employed about 8,100 workers in 22 departments last year. It currently faces a $48.1 million revenue shortfall brought on by the tax revenue decline during the pandemic.

These are the top 10 highest-paid San Jose employees in 2020:


Michael Kihmm

Kihmm was a San Jose police captain with 29 years of experience before he left last year to become Vallejo’s deputy chief.

Title (as of Dec. 31, 2020): Police captain

Base pay: $195,860

Overtime: $97,948.78

Other: $157,504.86

Benefits: $91,475.23

Total: $542,788.87

Manuel Pereira

Pereira has been with the San Jose Fire Department since at least 2011.

Title (as of Dec. 31, 2020): Battalion chief

Base pay: $204,792.42

Overtime: $214,438.98

Other: $7,926.16

Benefits: $75,160.73

Total: $502,318.29

Ken Tran

Tran worked as a police officer, detective and sergeant before becoming a lieutenant this year. He's been with SJPD since at least 2011.

Title (as of Dec. 31, 2020): Police sergeant

Base pay: $157,852.80

Overtime: $206,640.68

Other: $55,620.17

Benefits: $79,564.56

Total: $499,678.21

Dave Sykes

Sykes is the city manager who recently announced his resignation on May 26 after more than three decades at San Jose City Hall. Sykes began as a part-time engineering trainee in 1987. He was also the city’s Public Works director and a city engineer.

Title (as of Dec. 31, 2020): City manager

Base pay: $375,809.70

Overtime: $0

Other: $19,057.60

Benefits: $91,271.99

Total: $486,139.29

Brian Shab

Shab has been with SJPD since 1998. He currently heads the department’s homicide unit.

Title (as of Dec. 31, 2020): Police lieutenant

Base pay: $182,844.00

Overtime: $190,471.73

Other: $38,847.12

Benefits: $69,834.17

Total: $481,997.02

Joseph Crivello

Crivello works as a battalion chief with the San Jose Fire Department since at least 2011.

Title (as of Dec. 31, 2020): Battalion chief

Base pay: $204,792.42

Overtime: $174,221.20

Other: $2,836.48

Benefits: $92,362.00

Total: $474,212.10

Daniel Guerra

Guerra has worked as a police officer for San Jose since 2011.

Title (as of Dec. 31, 2020): Police officer

Base pay: $136,382.40

Overtime: $208,545.10

Other: $35,563.35

Benefits: $73,154.53

Total: $453,645.38

Kyle Oki

Oki is the supervisor of San Jose’s crime scene unit. He's been with the department since 1992.

Title (as of Dec. 31, 2020): Police sergeant

Base pay: $157,852.80

Overtime: $188,775.91

Other: $25,663.11

Benefits: $78,941.95

Total: $451,233.77

Richard Galea

Galea has worked for San Jose’s police department since at least 2005. He was recently named in a lawsuit filed by a local business alleging harassment and selective enforcement.

Title (as of Dec. 31, 2020): Police sergeant

Base pay: $157,852.80

Overtime: $186,777.06

Other: $25,663.11

Benefits: $78,887.90

Total: $449,180.87

Edgardo Garcia

Garcia, with 28 years of experience at the San Jose Police Department, became police chief in 2016. After resigning last year, Garcia landed a new job as the first Latino police chief of Dallas, Texas.

Title (as of Dec. 31, 2020): Police chief

Base pay: $297,995.26

Overtime: $0

Other: $45,238.91

Benefits: $97,525.99

Total: $440,760.16

Contact Tran Nguyen at [email protected] or follow @nguyenntrann of Twitter. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.