Contra Costa fire chiefs manage multimillion-dollar public agencies responsible for many lives and much property. Are they worth what taxpayers pay for their salaries, insurance and retirement? A sampling from the 2011 Bay Area News Group public employee salary database shows what they earned and the value of their benefits.

  • San Ramon Fire Chief Richard Price topped the Contra Costa list with a salary of $260,410. His benefits were worth an additional $175,011. (To save the district money, Price "retired" this year but remains on the payroll as chief for $1 a month. He worked in another Bay Area district for most of his career, where he draws most of his pension.)

  • Lagging in second place, Moraga-Orinda Chief Randy Bradley earned $204,754, while his benefits cost $79,397.

  • By comparison, the chiefs of the two largest fire districts in neighboring Alameda County collected pay and benefits comparable to the San Ramon and Moraga-Orinda leaders. Now-retired Alameda County Fire District Chief Sheldon Gilbert was paid $230,262 plus $94,692 in benefits. Then-Oakland Fire Chief Mark Hoffmann collected $209,213 in wages, and his benefits cost an additional $70,367.


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  • Rounding out the middle of the Contra Costa pack were El Cerrito Fire Chief Lance Maples with a salary of $162,838 plus $92,132 in benefits; East Contra Costa Fire District Chief Hugh Henderson, with $138,232 in wages and $114,340 in benefits; and Contra Costa Fire District Chief Daryl Louder with $184,260 in wages plus $62,897 in benefits. Richmond Fire Chief Michael Banks was last at $185,325 in salary. His benefits cost $56,369.

    Source: Bay Area News Group 2011 public employee salary database