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The Million Dollar Club
(Updated Aug 15, 2003)

The Million Dollar Club

The State of California is facing a serious budget crisis. For years the ELARC has been operating with a budget deficit. We expect that our children's services will be closely scrutinized for budget cuts. In the face of fiscal crisis, where should cuts be made?

Consider this: the top ten wage earners at the ELARC cost the taxpayers over one million dollars a year. Fifty-two year old Gloria Wong and fifty-three year old Felipe Hernandez account for over a quarter of that annual booty! Are they worth it? How do these salaries compare with industry norms?

There's no question that the top brass at the ELARC feather their own nests pretty well, but how do the salaries of the underlings compare?



Gloria Wong


Felipe Hernandez


Jesse Valdez


Adeline Esquivel


Frances Jacobs


Elin Nozaki


Martin Cogan


Arturo De La Torre


Jose Hurtado


Stephen Wong



* Gross annual salary based on 2000-2001 data. Does not include employer taxes, insurance, benefits, additional compensation, bonuses, etc.

We reviewed salaries on The salaries of Ms. Wong and Mr. Hernandez were way over the Southern California norm for comparable jobs. The Southern California median salaries for their positions were $118,503 and $68,716, respectively.

When we looked at salaries for the service coordinators, however, they were under the norm. In fact, for an ELARC service coordinator with less than 5 years experience (annual salary about $31,000), they were at the bottom of the range for BSW salaries in Southern California (median $39,897).

Gloria Wong's $160,000 salary exceeds the highest salary for a "Top Community Development Executive," according to

Felipe Hernandez' $91,000 salary exceeds the highest salary for a "Program Director," according to

The ELARC salary data paints a very clear pictures of their management style--frontline employees, the people who are responsible for interfacing with our children, and who are most responsible for assuring that our children receive quality services, are underpaid. The higher you climb the administrative ladder at the ELARC, the more rapidly your salary climbs. Service coordinators who are devoted to their clients and diligent in the performance of their duties might feel compelled to move away from service coordination in order to improve their own lot in life.

Service coordinator salaries at the ELARC (average $31,000) are below the median of $39,897.

We feel that this management philosophy is in direct conflict with the Lanterman Act which states that "service coordination" is the primary responsibility of a regional center.

A note of interest: we found that while the vast majority of ELARC service coordinators and first level supervisors are women, there are more men than women in the Million Dollar Club. We wonder, where'd all those guys come from?!!

Your experiences and opinions may differ from ours. We encourage you to post your comments on the elarc.netMessage Board.

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