By Len Ramirez

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – While two Santa Clara County jail guards have been arrested on alleged misconduct, they are still being paid their six-figure salary.

Santa Clara County only requires a high school diploma or a GED to work in the jails. But according to county pay records published at, jail guards bank some of the biggest paychecks, more than county judges, lawyers or psychologists.

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“I think it’s important that we taxpayers, all of us, know where our tax dollars are going,” former judge and retired San Jose police auditor LaDoris Cordell told KPIX 5.

Cordell looked up the earnings of the two correctional deputies most recently arrested.

Ryan Saunders, who faces charges of illegally accessing a confidential criminal database, earned a base salary of $89,000 last year. But with overtime, other pay and benefits, his total compensation ballooned to almost $243,000.

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Mark Navarrete Jr., who was charged with workers comp fraud, earned almost $216,000 in total compensation.

“I’m just stunned that the people who work in the jails can make over $100,000 more than people with quite a more extensive education and more years with the county,” Cordell said.

Correctional deputies are allowed to work six days in a row, and up to 60 hours of overtime in a two week pay period.

Cordell said, “It may result in them not getting enough sleep, not enough rest. As a result, being short tempered. Not really being focused on the job which may account for some of these behaviors. We don’t know.”

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While their court cases move forward, the deputies are still collecting paychecks, both are on paid administrative leave.