Surge in $100K city workers: 114,000 now earn six figures. Are some paid too much? | #Education

NEW YORK, N.Y. — As Mayor Bill de Blasio continues to push for long term borrowing authority from the state, federal stimulus money, and has moved forward with unpaid furloughs for more than 9,000 city employees (including himself), here’s a look at the city’s payroll spending in recent years.

The city’s spending was compiled by government watchdog OpentheBooks.com

According to OpentheBooks.com, in 2016, there were 76,166 city employees with pay that exceeded $100,000. By 2019, there were more than 114,000 employees, or a 50% increase in six-figure earners.

In 2019, OpenTheBooks.com found that plumber helpers earned $172,988; thermostat repairmen made as much as $198,630; regular laborers took home $213,169; electricians received $253,132; and plumbers received $286,245.

School janitors got $256,000, out-earning principals at $154,000, OpenTheBooks.com found. Meanwhile, four deputy mayors made more than $241,641 each and 5,998 city employees made more than Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

OpentheBooks.com pointed out that the city has 331,520 full time employees from 297,349 in 2014.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the top spending offices

OFFICE OF THE MAYOR – $52 MILLION PAYROLL COST

OpentheBooks.com noted that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s base salary was $258,541, which includes free rent at Gracie Mansion and regular police-escorted trips to the gym.

First Deputy Mayor Dean Fuleihan earned $278,980 and three deputy mayors earned between $241,641 and $246,124, OpentheBooks.com found. And de Blasio’s executive chef Feliberto Estevez took home $124,285.

Though First Lady Chirlane McCray works as a volunteer in the Office of the Mayor, 14 city employees who help McCray, earned salaries that cost taxpayers $2 million per year, OpentheBooks.com said.

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION – $13 BILLION PAYROLL COST

OpentheBooks.com found 40 “custodial engineers” earned between $154,000 and $256,000, while 57 principals made less than $154,000.

Last year, more than 50,000 educators received a six-figure salary, including 37,324 teachers and substitutes, the report found.

OpentheBooks.com found that public schools spent $28,808 per student – twice the national average of $12,612.

Chancellor Richard Carranza made $357,973, which exceeds the salary of the U.S. Education Secretary Betsy Devos, who earned $199,900.

POLICE DEPARTMENT – $5.2 BILLION PAYROLL COST

OpentheBooks.com found that the NYPD’s payroll included 59,970 employees last year, and half of them made six-figures or more, including $728 million in overtime.

Four “stationary engineers,” who operate industrial machines increased the payroll as a result of excessive hours. OpentheBooks.com found that these workers made between $84,850 and $101,740 in overtime.

FIRE DEPARTMENT – $1.8 BILLION PAYROLL COST

OpentheBooks.com found that the FDNY’s payroll included 18,679 employees last year, which includes 8,970 staff that that made six-figures or more.

Those top earners included four assistant chiefs who were paid between 264,558 and $302,810. Commissioner Daniel Nigro did not make the top ten earners with a salary of $237,517.

Additionally, the FDNY’s former administrator Lyndelle Phillips sued over an allegation of unlawful termination and settled the lawsuit last year. In settling that suit, Phillips collected $500,000, in back pay in 2019, OpentheBooks.com found, and became the highest paid person on the entire city’s payroll.

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – $10.5 MILLION PAYROLL COST

The chair of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) Carmelyn Malalis made $222,990 last year, OpentheBooks.com found, while by comparison, a top paid staffer at the federal Equal Opportunity Commission made $189,600 and the U.S. Attorney General made $199,700.

OVERTIME AND ‘OTHER’ PAY – $3 BILLION PAYROLL COST

In 2019, OpentheBooks.com found that city workers secured an extra $1.9 billion by working 32 million hours of overtime — an average cost per hour of about $60, allowing some workers to double and triple their pay.

Some of those examples OpentheBooks.com found include plasterer Daniel Fitzmaurice at the Department of Corrections. Fitzmaurice had a regular salary $93,223 but received $189,371 with overtime.

There was also plumber supervisor Robert Procida at Housing Authority whose regular salary was $101,229 and $181,422 with overtime; steam fitter Stephen Meys at Citywide Administrative Services earned a regular salary of $100,100 but received $138,957 after overtime.

The Housing Authority provided a justification to OpentheBook.com: “NYCHA has been focused on improving productivity and delivering the highest level of service to our residents, and we will use all the tools at our disposal, including overtime.”

On behalf of all city agencies, the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio told OpentheBooks.com: “The de Blasio Administration has proved for years our ability to be fiscally responsible and prepare for adversity. That includes increasing our reserve levels to record levels, saving billions of dollars even when revenue was strong, and establishing a rainy day fund, something no other Mayor could accomplish. Our track record speaks for itself.”


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