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Los Angeles Payroll Report Shows That Significant Numbers of City Employees Aren’t Local

City Controller Mejia’s Report Calls Attention to City Workers Place of Residence

By Dolores Quintana

In the realm of payroll, understanding the destination of your tax dollars is paramount. Payroll stands as a significant facet of the city of Los Angeles’ budgetary landscape, prompting common inquiries such as “How many City employees reside within the City of Los Angeles?” and “What is the potential for these funds to circulate back into our community?”

L.A. City Controller Kenneth Mejia released The L.A. Payroll Employee Residence Analysis today, taking stock of exactly how many Los Angeles City employees live there. While residency within the city is not obligatory for City employees, several advantages arise when they choose to live in the area they serve:

  • Reinvestment in the City: Contributing to local spending and bolstering local tax revenue.
  • Budgetary Boost: Elevating the city budget through increased local revenue, fostering additional spending on vital resources and services.
  • Community Engagement: Facilitating more meaningful connections with the local communities served by City employees.
  • Operational Efficiency: Reducing commute times and enhancing response times during work emergencies.
  • Environmental and Personal Well-being: Mitigating traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, and worker and family stress.

It has been stated before that employees of many businesses, like janitorial and maid staff for hotels, within city limits can no longer afford to live in Los Angeles or other cities within the metropolitan area. According to this analysis, out of 50,312 L.A. city employees, 32,006 do not live in the city of Los Angeles. That is 63.73% of total city employees who live outside of the city, and only 36.27% live in Los Angeles. Five hundred six city employees live out of the state. These numbers do not include workers at the Department of Water and Power. 

Meija’s report states that Initiatives like “Targeted Local Hire” contribute to this relationship, yet reforming the Civil Service system is imperative to extend these opportunities beyond entry-level positions. This becomes crucial considering the persistent staffing vacancies in our City, with one in every six positions remaining unfilled. The report adds that other major cities have successfully implemented incentives, including for first responders, encouraging residents in the communities they serve.

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