SPECIAL REPORT: City salaries
As part of The Island’s ongoing look at the fiscal condition of our fair Island city, I’ve obtained a list of city workers’ salaries for 2008.
I just got the list yesterday so I don’t have a fancy database for you to search, but I retyped the spreadsheet from the PDF the city sent. (Eight hours of data entry. Don’t ever say I don’t love you.)
The numbers I have are total gross earnings – basically, all cash compensation, including overtime – for each of the 661 employees who worked for this city in 2008. Here’s the broad brush:
*Roughly 41 percent, or 269 of the city’s 661 employees last year, earned salaries of $100,000 or more. The top earner? Former police captain (and onetime acting chief) Craig Ojala, who left the city with earnings of $286,336.05. Ojala was one of eight city employees who earned more than $200,000; the rest of that list includes former city manager Debra Kurita; Corey Merrick, a former division chief for the fire department; Police Chief Walt Tibbet; Assistant City Manager David Brandt; Police Captain James Brock; AMP General Manager Girish Balachandran and Fire Chief David Kapler.
*The city paid around $60 million last year in salaries and other cash compensation, including overtime, deferred compensation, retention pay and more. (Benefits are a whole other ball of wax I’ll get into next week.) Of that $60 million, the city paid out $3.6 million in overtime, roughly two-thirds of it, or $2.2 million, to the Fire Department. Another $780,000 went to police personnel.
The top overtime pay getter was firefighter Louis F. Donati Jr., who earned $92,566.79 in overtime, which is just a little more than his annual salary. He earned $195,446.32 in 2008, which makes him one of the 10 highest paid employees in Alameda.
I asked Domenick Weaver, head of the local firefighters union, how someone could earn that much overtime in a year. “You live at the station,” he said. Weaver said fire staff don’t want to have to work the hours that earned many of them $30,000 and more a year in overtime, but that the department is chronically short-staffed. “We kept telling (the city) over and over again, it was not fiscally responsible. It never worked right,” he said.
*By way of comparison, I checked the Chronicle’s Data Center to see what employees were earning in some other East Bay cities. Alameda had the same number of employees earning six figures as bankrupt Vallejo (and Richmond had more). But the top-paid public safety employees in both cities earned far more than their counterparts here, with some fire staff in Vallejo in particular taking home $60,000 and $70,000 a year just in overtime. (Our fire staff averaged $20,362.06 in overtime last year.)
That said, the money we have is the money we have, and it ain’t looking good for right now: Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant has told city workers to expect layoffs of 5 to 10 percent. A list is due Wednesday.
As I always say … stay tuned.