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Small Town Manager, ridiculously overpaid bureaucratic

By   /   March 25, 2013  /   25 Comments

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Mark Nuaima, a first-timer rooky town manager in Yucca Valley, has a salary higher than public officials are paid to manage the worlds 9th largest economy (California). 

By comparison, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is the highest paid governor in the nation, according to a survey from a California state government commission.  He makes a paltry salary of $183,255.

A meager salary in comparison to a tiny little town in the remote desert community of Yucca Valley.

The town manager of this tiny town makes all told $300,000 a year according to his new pay package,  to which included 400 hours of requested, but undocumented, overtime.

Town Manager, Mark Nuaimi, works four days a month week, and commutes from Fontana, California where he lives with his family.

California Governor Jerry Brown is the seventh-highest paid governor in the nation. There is conflicting data on just how much the governor makes, but the highest amount the commission reported for 2012 salary was $173,000.

Lawmakers in California receive a base salary of $95,291, a larger amount than any other state’s lawmakers

While the town’s population according to current census is 21,009, California’s population is 37,683,933.  And while persons below the poverty level in the town is 15.5%,  the town just recently provided their town manager with a pay increase.

The land area in square miles is 40.2, while California’s land area is 155,779.22.

So why the inflated salary package? If you ask the flamboyant town manager he will sell you on the proposition he is worth every penny of his inflated salary because of the difficult task of managing the small town of Yucca Valley. He is a charmer indeed, and very political savy.

Moreover, White persons not Hispanic in Yucca Valley is 73.7%, the state’s white population is of same is 40.1%. The town council is made up of all White persons not Hispanic. And all but for one newly elected town councilmember live in the same exclusive neighborhood of Sky Harbor.

The four members of the Town Council at that time — in a desire to beef-up their lockbox power base — openly supported the local President of the Chamber of Commerce for town council, who also attended the same beautiful Joshua Springs church (as much of a hamlet as it a popular church) and who resided in the same neighborhood.

The councilmembers lost in their efforts to elect their companion. They were in disbelieve voters didn’t endorse their neighbor and Sky Harbor companion. It appears the public had enough of village nepotism.

The four companion town councilmembers set the salary of their coveted town manager very high. Even higher that the highest CIA Grade 15, Step 1 – 10: $99,628 – $129,517. Moreover, the estimated salary of the CIA Director is difficult to ascertain, the best figure is General Hayden. His salary as C.I.A. director was set a few years ago at $172,000.

Not  even close to what the town manager’s salary is in the valley of Shangri-La.

Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. Hilton describes Shangri-La as a mystical, harmonious valley, gently guided from a lamasery, enclosed in the western end of the Kunlun Mountains. Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise but particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia — a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world

This pretty much describes the mindset of four wayward town councilmembers when the town manager convinced his council to bump up his take home pay.

There is hope with the newly elected fifth councilmember, Bob Leone, who on March 19 joined the town council. It is surmised Mr. Leone will be an influential in leading and educating his peers, and maybe bring some sanity to the Valley of Shangri-La.






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About the author

Branson Hunter

(This story was posted by Cactus Thorn contributor Branson Hunter)

"The ends do not justify the means." If you use illegal mean to accomplish a legal and even desirable result, the good result does not make the bad means you used justifiable.


  1. RescueGuy RescueGuy says:

    Ben-son, your witch hunt is in full swing it seems. Is that Margo under your desk giving you hints?

    Mark is a standup guy and even though his package gives you and Margo a tingle, it is not out of line. The ex CEO of Apple Computer had a salary of $1. Do you realize that Marks salary is close to 300,000 times that salary??? OMG!!!

    What a buffoon you are. And to insult the intellect of the CT readers by having to provide a synopsis of the Hilton novel? Shameful.

    And with Leoni on the counsel at least it broke the color barrier of your white overlords. I think he is Mexican.

  2. Scots Slant Scots Slant says:

    “Nuami, works four days a month…”

    Reaaly? Only works four days a month?

    Does that mean he works one day a week each month, or does he get it over with real quick by lumping four days together during one week of the month while vacationing the other three?

    I’m also puzzled by the intro to this story: “Mark Nuaima, a first-timer rooky town manager in Yucca Valley, has a salary of more than the worlds 9th largest economy (California).”

    While I’m not exactly thrilled with some of the salaries paid to public officials, I think it’s a stretch to say the Town of Yucca Valley manager is paid more than the economy of California.

    Or was that just a teeny typo error that makes a huge difference in the meaning of the intro paragraph where the word “Governor” was left out?

  3. Mark Nuaimi Mark Nuaimi says:

    @RescueGuy — why you steal my Ben-son name for Ben (errrrr Branson)??

    @BenBran — you really should do your homework before you go spouting off this constant nonsense. Here is the link to the agenda when the council amended my contract:


    Now to the obvious misinformation (i.e. lies) included in this latest edition of bash-Nuaimi:

    1) We work a 9/80 schedule. That means I’m in the office 9 days every two weeks. That’s M-Th one week, M-F the next. The Friday is supposed to be an 8-hr day. You are welcome to come by my office ANY DAY and set up an appointment. I even encourage you to come by the office just about every evening at 7:30-8:00 PM and you’ll see my car is the only one in the parking lot;

    2) The staff report is very clear that the amended contract does not raise the salary for the period of the agreement. I will not receive ANY cost of living adjustments through 2016. So while I am very grateful for the $190,000 annual salary, don’t inflate it further. That number is important — it sets the Town’s costs for retirement, it establishes the value of any leave time (vacation, sick, PTO) — and it is staying constant for the next three years;

    3) You and others have repeatedly stated (incorrectly) that the original contract did not provide a mechanism for “overtime” … in the public sector, that is called Admin Time or PTO. The original contract allowed for 80 hours of PTO. The amended contract increased that to 160 hours of PTO and has a provision to allow the council to eliminate those additional hours if I’m not putting in the extra time. Your claim that the revised contract includes 400 hours is a lie, plain & simple. The Town Council decision to award an additional 80 hours was in acknowledgment of the hours I put into my job and DID NOT include the time I drive to and from home;

    4) You’re “rookie” reference is laughable. I have been active in local government since the mid-90s. Anyone in local government management over the past 5 years will tell you that managing during this recession is equiv. to 3 times the experience of working during the growth years. My experience in Colton, while distorted by others on this blog, taught me great lessons that have yielded dividends in YV already;

    5) The Bash-Nuaimi squad sat silent in July 2011 when the Town Council amended my contract the first time. I guess it wasn’t sexy then to document how much my total compensation was REDUCED from my original contract. Back in July 2011, my vacation was reduced by 40 hours and I began paying my full 8% towards my retirement costs. That reduced my total compensation from $289k down to $279k. But that’s ok, it was the right thing to do and I didn’t expect any words of praise. And BenBran, while I appreciate the compensation increase that you keep trying to give me, my total comp is $293k (not the $300k you spout off). Details matter BenBran;

    So, Ben, do yourself a favor and visit the Town website and follow the link I provided above. Then go to the LAST PAGE that provides a Total Compensation comparison for the Chief Executives for: Adelanto, Banning, Barstow, Big Bear, Desert Hot Springs, Hi-Desert Water District, Twentynine Palms, & Yucca Valley (pre & post amendment). You’ll find prior to the recent amendment, I was at the bottom of the total comp list. After the adjustment, I’m in the middle of the pack just above the HDWD General Manager. Of course this all assumes nobody is adjusting their compensation packages up or down.

    • Paparrazi Paparrazi says:

      Mark, couldn’t someone do the same job for 1/2 your salary?

      I’m not saying your the problem, but overpaying “Public Servants” is. Citizens need to put an end to over bloated salaries. Fleecing the public deserves a good flogging or maybe a tar and feather on a hot humid summer day.

      Overpaying for these types of services creates an atmosphere of severing for financial gain rather than for duty.

    • Town manager,

      Small town bureaucrats are not holy deities, monarchs, emperors, maharajahs, sultans or great caesars — but they have become persons who takes adulation and privileged treatment as a right and reacts with petulance to criticism or inconvenience.

      Why should you be making more money than the guy who runs the worlds 9th largest economy?

      This is no attack on you personally, but it is personal to four Y.V. town councilmembers because taxpayers are becoming very weary of this sorts of blatant ripoff where most people in town are humble with small incomes.

      Fridays is your day off. Monday through Thursday is a four day week: 4×1=4.

      A first timer manager is a rookie, no distortion. FACT.

      The whooping 112 page pdf Link is because?

      Simple arithmetic, round off the package in total for the duration of the recommended contract from $293,339.55 to to $300K;

      The threshold issue is small town local public servants are overpaid. Take you for example: The package includes everything from insurance benefit of $12,600.00 a year; auto allowance $7,200 a year, phone stipend $1380 a year, vacation 10,961.54 a year, Employer PERS $35,313.40.

      Small towns like Yucca Valley may as well throw in a chambermaid servant to bath the feet of its royal highness.

      The POTUS makes about $400.000 a year. In a few years — down the road — the runaway gravy train will be paying as much as the President.

      The Links provided in the blog are all correct.

      Why should small town bureaucrat public servants make more than a CIA Director, the California AG, the V.P. of the United States, or more that the highest paid U.S. governors?

      Small town managers’ income are just plain obscene. Bob Dylan – “Times They are a-Changin”. What is needed is small town leaders who will do the right thing. WE haven’t that yet in the Basin.

      Please explain why a very small town petty bureaucrat should earn more than a United States CIA Director. Do not quote what other town pay. I want you to kindly tell the readers why local taxpayers ought to pay you so much. Explain to them how you justify what you are paid.

  4. Mark Nuaimi Mark Nuaimi says:

    @BenBran — clearly you have difficulty understanding that when the salary is FIXED through 2016, so too are the costs of the other benefits. As for the costs of the medical insurance — those are the same costs for the lowest paid employee all the way to my position. Every employee in Yucca Valley gets $1050/mo to provide medical insurance for their family. We performed a compensation survey and found that was par for other governmental agencies. Many higher, some lower. The Employer PERS is a percentage of the salary (18.7%) — so for the employee making $100k, it would be $18,700. I’m earning 3 weeks vacation starting in July. Many upper managers START with 4-weeks of vacation. I know it must really tick you off that people like me have chosen this line of profession. There’s nothing that stopped you from investing years in college and the professional world to achieve this position. And if you got the job, you would have been referred to as a ROOKIE your first year. Since I plan on working for Yucca Valley for the next several years, using your logic I’ll be a 7th year rookie. Unbelievable! And BTW, WE WORK EVERY OTHER FRIDAY and I’m in many of the OFF FRIDAYS as well. Lastly, I could care less what the CIA pays. I might as well post what a college basketball coach earns and argue that salary is more appropriate. Like a basketball coach, City Managers can be FIRED on a whim and are not protected civil servants (lie your CIA employee that you cite).

    @Paparazzi — well, if someone were to do the job for 1/2 my salary, they would be making less than all the directors, the engineer, and equiv. to mid-managers in the organization. They would be making less than many line management in the police department, they would be making less than management in the water district, etc. If we adjusted everyone down accordingly, you wouldn’t be able to recruit or retain QUALIFIED or QUALITY staff. You get what you pay for. So I would have to answer you “NO’ — if you advertised the position at $95,000 per year, you would get no quality applicants and no INTERNAL candidates would want to take this wonderful assignment along with a PAY CUT.

    • Town Manager,

      The CIA has a 44 billion budget. What is your budget… a couple of million. The number of agents and employees around the world and in the USA is kept secret but it plenty more than you direct. Why should you be making more money than the Director of the CIA?

      California has 2.4 million government employees. How many employees are you responsible for? Why should you be making more money than the guy who runs the worlds 9th largest economy?

      The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff annual Base Salary is $220,734.36. He commands USA active military personnel of approximately 1,390,000. USA reserve military approximately 1,460,000. Why should you make more money than this man?

      Right back at you Town Manager.. you have difficulty answering simple question. Be a kind gentleman and answer these three above-stated rather easy questions.

  5. Nuaimi’s contract:”Employee’s compensation is NOT based on hours worked AND Employee SHALL NOT be entitled to ANY compensation for overtime.” Section 1.2 (Caps added for emphasis)

    BEN DID NOT LIE, fella. (Caps added for emphasis)

    Fact check: Nuaimi’s contract June 17, 2010- Section 1.2 as cited above.

    Per Staff report:Nuaimi calculated between 400-500 hours of HIS OVERTIME and based on his hourly rate would have a value of $30,000-$50,000, as per his own pitch for some sort of OVERTIME compensation during his contract negotiations.

    Did Nuaimi punch in on a time clock? No.

    Did Nuaimi provide a journal to log his hours? No.

    Did Nuaimi remember his contract states he will not be entitled to overtime compensation? No!

    Did Yucca Valley Council members Abel, Lombardo, Huntington or Rowe review Nuaimi’s contract, Section 1.2, which cites in plain english..”Employee’s compensation is NOT based on hours worked AND Employee SHALL NOT be entitled to ANY compensation for overtime.” -Apparently not!

    Nuaimi states his “Dream Job” is to be the manager of Fontana…please pray for that door to open for him.

    • LINDAG LINDAG says:

      a. It’s the moronic bobble-head councils that are handing out our money in these bloated salary agreements.
      b. All public servants are overpaid.
      c. Mark keeps throwing out the challenge to try and hire a city manager for around $100,000, claiming it will not be possible. If somebody took up this challenge and found his replacement, would he resign? – how else can this issue be proven?

  6. Dean M Gray Dean M Gray says:

    Bottom line…
    1. The salary for town manager is excessive and unrealistic.
    2. Nuaimi is a greedy and selfish opportunist.
    3. The town council is lazy and careless.
    The answer is an informed pubic willing to make difficult choices.

  7. Mark Clemons Mark Clemons says:

    Let the good times roll
    Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi is currently paid more than $420,000 in pay and benefits… and she will receive more than $420,000 annually for the rest of her life.

  8. In this mornings news, there is a story on how China is cracking down on high salaries and perks being spend on their public servants and party bosses.

    President Xi Jinping has imposed a form of austerity on the nations civil servants and party bosses. Warning that gluttony threaten to bring down the ruling Communists.

    The campaign is winning high marks from a citizenry long disgusted by the outlandish salaries and perks and acts of arrogance.

  9. Peytonplace Peytonplace says:



  10. Tim Humphreville Tim Humphreville says:

    How can a person such as yourself Who is not man enough to put his name behind his comment be entitled to any opinion Peyton Place is quite a handle. cowboy up put a fake name like Brandon hunter on there.

    • Silent Majority Silent Majority says:

      Your comments shine a light on what’s wrong with the current City Manager and his small flock of disciples. When appointed officials such as yourself start telling people they are not entitled to an opinion, you are doing a disservice by breeding dissension and strife in the town. I would be very concerned about any elected official, appointed commissioner or paid staff member that felt certain people are not entitled to an opinion for any reason. Based on your comments, it is pretty clear you are following in the footsteps of Mark Nuaimi who among other things has consistently mocked certain individuals who post on this blog while calling constituents liars, urban idiots and claiming they are doing a disservice to the town by expressing their differing thoughts and opinions. In reality, such unprofessional and condescending behavior is what does a disservice to the town. Happy Easter to all!!

    • Tim, it Branson not “Brandon”. How many times have I put my name out here? Too many to count. Is there anything on content you’d to speak to. The theme of the story is that town manager’s top pay is too much. Get it?

  11. Mark Nuaimi Mark Nuaimi says:

    @Silent Majority — if you have tracked this blog for an extended period of time, you will find that I answer questions posed by the public and I try to provide insight into why recommendations are brought forward. Unfortunately, these blogs also allow a select few who an opportunity to completely distort what is actually happening. They appear to have an unlimited resource — time — with which to fabricate and disseminate misinformation. When they are presented with the facts, they resort to muckraking, insults, and/or they continue pushing their misinformation.

    I come onto this blog to ensure accurate information is shared with the public. I offer to meet with folks — and have NEVER been taken up on that offer by the likes of Ben, Margo, and other frequent critics. If they were simply posting different opinions there would be no issue. But when they completely fabricate information, as is done almost DAILY on this blog, I will take them to task.

    Hope you and your family enjoyed a blessed Easter. I also offer to meet with you anytime to review your concerns with the manner in which I engage the public.

    • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

      Hey Mark be careful – I do not fabricate information and you seem to be casting all into your pot of stew that is Yucca Valley.

      You have a problem on your hands in Yucca – I would ask that you do not stereotype and imply that all that post on this site fabricate – for if that were true you too would be a fabricator.

      Keep your Yucca issues to Yucca if you please – thanks.

      • Mark Nuaimi Mark Nuaimi says:

        @Steve, I did not cast all into the caldron of misinformation that is often stirred by “a select few” … (see quote below)…

        “Unfortunately, these blogs also allow a select few … an opportunity to completely distort what is actually happening.”

        “Select Few” is just that… a select few. Unfortunately there are too few on these blogs who actually police the misinformation that is allowed to fester out here.

        • Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

          Seriously Police free speech? Is that what your are asking for Mark? It seems that if I police one side I would have to police the other too.

          You seem willing and able to defend your positions. You seem to self police, your detractors…. You don’t need me to hide behind.

          The only time I get into the fray with you folks is when they attempt to sabotage the blog itself as in what Mr. Drozd attempted or you attack me personally.

          I’ll tell you straight up, if a sinkhole develops just to the West of Airway to Navajo Rd in a few months and we are still able to travass the cassam on our way down the hill I would not be affected by the loss.

          Just as long as I have my Wally World and Home Depot… I’ll be just fine.

        • Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

          Copy on that Mark. Thanks.

        • Town Manager, it’s clear you are up to your old routine of swinging the axe at locals whom get in your way. This has been documented so many times that it is getting to be like to an old rerun of ”Two And a Half Men“.

          Once again you are invited to answer some questions for the readers in this Blog. Will you voluntarily reduce your high salary to show good faith in the face what the Inland Empire newspapers call a 17% cutback in the town workforce. Should you decide to do the right thing by sharing in the pain — overspending, cutbacks in services, loss of town personnel, wiping out critical youth programs and community concerts — you will clearly demonstrate your concerns for this town are compassionate and genuine.

          If you can’t do that, the your omission to act speaks for itself.

  12. Tim Humphreville Tim Humphreville says:

    @ silent majority, If you feel so strongly about the baseless accusations written on this blog, You need to attend the meetings yourself, ask questions, face to face. Then you might change your mind, or not. But it is very easy to throw stones behind a fake handle. Condescending behavior is the best you or people like Payton place deserve with those kind of actions

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