— San Diego city council staffers make a lot of money, but they are way outdistanced by their counterparts over at the County. At city hall, only one chief of staff, Ben Hueso's Ana Molina-Rodriguez, who makes $101,982, cracks the six-figure barrier. At the County, on the other hand, all of the five supervisors' top assistants are well into that heady range. At the top of the list is Greg Cox's chief of staff, Pamela O'Neil, who gets $122,188.80, according to documents recently released by the County after a request under the state's Public Records Act. Cox's website says O'Neil, who joined his staff after he took office in 1995, had been "the senior policy advisor" to Cox's First District predecessor, Brian Bilbray, from 1985 through 1994.

Next comes John Weil, Pam Slater-Price's longtime chief of staff, with $120,094. Then there is Geoffrey Patnoe, who works for Dianne Jacob; he's paid $116,084. A former aide to Pete Wilson and onetime high-tech PR man as well as ex-executive director of the San Diego Taxpayers Association, Patnoe is credited on Jacob's website with being "one of the lead political strategists behind the voter-approval of Petco Park, the downtown home of the San Diego Padres."

Fourth in line at the trough, at $119,038, is Joan Wonsley, whose previously undisclosed real estate dealings with boss Bill Horn stirred up controversy during the campaign season but didn't get in the way of his reelection bid. Finally comes Darren Pudgil, chief of staff for Ron Roberts, with a not-so-measly $109,012. According to the Roberts website, "In 2003, Darren took a leave of absence to work on Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign for Governor of California. He served as media liaison for Maria Shriver and also coordinated election day media coverage at the Schwarzeneggers' polling place in Pacific Palisades."

The second-highest-paid assistants in each office are Slater-Price's Y. Sachiko Kohatsu ($83,163); Horn "senior policy advisor" David Graham ($80,017); Jacob PR woman Jennifer Stone, an ex-radio news reporter ($75,955); Cox PR aide Nicole Cretelle ($75,052); and Roberts "scheduler/office manager" Charista Toomer ($62,734). Each supervisor is paid $119,810. Ranked by total salary expenditures, Slater-Price comes first with $715,183; followed by Cox ($693,138); Jacob ($649,940); Horn ($628,046); and Roberts ($517,099). Two employees in the board's front office get a total of $85,969, for a grand staffing total of $3,289,377.

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