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inewsource, formerly the Watchdog Institute, obtained San Diego County payroll information for calendar year 2010 through a request under the California Public Records Act. This year, the county provided the records at no cost.

inewsource also obtained three previous years of county employee compensation data through a public records request. inewsource filed the request January 20, 2010, received the last of the records June 3, 2010, and paid $980 for programming time on the part of San Diego County.

Employment figures include all employees who were paid by the county in a given year, regardless of whether they worked for the county for the whole year or one month. For example, the county employed a total 19,282 people in 2007. But, that does not mean all of them were employed the entire year. Indeed, more than 1,400 people stopped working for the county in 2007.

Employee compensation was tracked year over year by using an employee’s full name and hire date.

Six main types of pay were included in the data:

Regular Pay or Base Pay: includes an employee’s base pay, reimbursements for expenses such as mileage and tuition.

Overtime Pay: Includes only overtime pay for an employee.

Special Pay: Includes auto and uniform allowances, shift differentials and premium pay, which can refer to extra pay for work in hazardous conditions, training, increased responsibilities or extra pay for bilingual workers in certain jobs. You can view all of the types of premium pay for 2009 on San Diego County’s website, starting at ordinance 1.7.

Vacation Pay: Includes payment for an employee’s unused vacation time. It is considered terminal pay.

Sick Pay: Includes payment for an employee’s unused sick leave. It is considered terminal pay.

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