They say if you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere. But for government workers, it seems the best place to "make it" is in the Big Apple itself.
The New York Post covered
our latest investigation of city payroll. New York City can be a hub of opportunity, and not just for aspiring Broadway stars. All sorts of city workers earn big bucks.
In NYC, plumbers and plumber’s helpers can make up to $200,000 annually; carpenters can bank $166,000; plasterers can earn up to $184,711; and painters can amass up to $161,324. Opportunities are endless: By repairing thermostats for a living in New York, someone could make $234,217. Even a city truck driver can bring home $216,036.
Our team at OpenTheBooks.com recently analyzed New York City payroll data for fiscal year 2016. We found 76,166 rank-and-file NYC public employees were paid more than $100,000 each, costing taxpayers $11 billion. These highly compensated employees made regular salaries plus a stunning $1.3 billion in overtime charges, another $728 million in 'extra pay,' and another 30 percent estimated for pension, health insurance, vacations, sick time and holiday pay – amounting to $11 billion.
Search the entire 2016 NYC payroll, click here
. A few fast facts regarding the city’s 2016 payroll:
- 76,000 Six-Figure Earners – Although nearly 37,000 city workers received six-figure base salaries, adding overtime payments and ‘extra pay’ nearly doubled the number of six-figure earners and skyrocketed taxpayer costs to $11 billion. Now, one in four NYC employees makes $100,000 .
- $1.9 Billion for Overtime – NYC employees worked 33 million hours of overtime in 2016, and the tab for these hours totaled $1.9 billion. More than 34,000 employees pocketed $20,000 in overtime pay each. Some employees claimed 2,000 hours of overtime while others billed thousands of overtime hours at $135 per hour!
- $1.1 Billion in ‘Extra Pay’ –The definition of ‘extra pay’ includes differentials, lump sums, allowances, retroactive pay increases, settlement amounts, bonuses and other types of compensation. Some NYC employees earned up to $100,000 in ‘extra pay’ and 80 workers received $40,000 in ‘extra pay’ alone.
- The Mayor’s Office – Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office paid six-figure salaries to 147 employees. De Blasio, who made $223,799, was out-earned by First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris, who earned $260,447; two deputy mayors, Richard Buery and Alicia Glen, who each were paid $225,321; and a press officer, Phillip Walzak, who earned $225,321. The mayor’s office paid 64 six-figure special assistants up to $203,684. Even the chef at Gracie Mansion – the mayor’s residence officielle – costs taxpayers approximately $150,000 per year ($109,561 salary plus benefits).
- City Collects $11 Billion in Income-Tax Revenue – New York City has its own income tax, yet the revenue barely covers the payroll costs for all 76,000 highly compensated city employees. Every dollar of the $11 billion collected by the NYC income tax funds the city’s six-figure employee payroll costs.
Overtime Kings and Queens
The police and fire departments billed 58 percent of all overtime (nearly $1.1 billion) while 90 other city agencies paid out $795 million. Here are some of the highest earners outside of public safety who profited the most from working late:
- $200,000 Overtime Pay Club – Plumber Vincenzo Giurbino made $369,785 at the NYC Housing Authority including a stunning $228,633 in overtime. Giurbino made more in overtime pay alone than his CEO boss, Shola Olatoy, made in total compensation ($226,042). Kevin Higgins, a supervisor plumber at the NYC Housing Authority, made $205,633 in overtime and $379,384 in total compensation; Curtis Pierre, a senior stationary engineer at the Department of Correction, made $203,659 in overtime and $410,812 overall.
- 2,000-Hour Overtime Club – These employees doubled their workweeks using overtime: John Murphy, an associate inspector at the Department of Buildings, ($248,272); Wilcelse St. Jacques, a motor vehicle supervisor at the Administration for Children’s Services ($141,575); and Franklin Holmes, a captain at the Department of Correction ($270,272).
NYC Police Department
The New York Police Department (NYPD) had the most six-figure employees in the city last year, but the officers’ hard work paid off, as NYC saw a record-low crime rate. However, while the NYPD paid out $717 million for 12.4 million hours of overtime, the money didn’t just go to hardworking officers patrolling the streets.
More than 1,850 employees at the NYPD pocketed $40,000 each in overtime pay, and they included civilians: carpenters, oilers, plumbers, steamfitters and thermostat repairers.
- Adolfo Redillo, a maintenance worker, tallied 1,233 overtime hours to receive $50,881 in overtime pay. Michael DeRosa, a sheet metal worker, recorded 1,200 overtime hours for $60,352 in overtime pay. Both Redillo and DeRosa earned six-figure incomes thanks to overtime payments.
- Thomas O’Brien, a thermostat repairer in Queens, made $83,519 for working 638 hours of overtime – that means he made $131 per extra hour!
- NYPD Commissioner William Bratton ($217,442) was out-earned by 39 employees including stationary engineers, oilers, thermostat repairers and plumbers who worked extensive overtime.
Officers and detectives also are tallying huge overtime hours. Police officers alone made $213 million in overtime. Here are some individual examples:
- Stephen Cambria, a sergeant supervisor of a detective squad, put in 937 hours of overtime for $81,879, bumping his total compensation to $218,430.
- Paul Stuart, a police detective in Manhattan, made $79,890 in overtime alone, boosting his total income to $201,949.
NYC Fire Department
At the Fire Department, 5.7 million hours of overtime cost taxpayers $369 million. We found 1,488 employees made at least $40,000 each in overtime pay, and six employees made more than $100,000 in overtime pay alone.
Overtime pay allowed stationary engineers, oilers, plumbers and carpenters to out-earn FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro, who made $217,442. For example, Vito Lasora, an oiler in Queens, put in 994 hours of overtime, boosting his $170,440 base salary to $312,185. Two senior stationary engineers and two supervisor plumbers each earned more than $260,000.
NYC Department of Education
The NYC Education Department signed a $7.6 billion payroll last year, funding 106,263 city educators in the country’s largest school system. More than 15,821 teachers and administrators in the NYC public schools made more than $100,000. The highest earner was Joseph Ponzo, assistant principal at PS/MS 89 in the Bronx, who made $251,847.
NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina double-dipped the pension and pay systems, making a total of $478,795. Farina had retired in 2006 from a 40-year career in the city schools on a $211,984 pension, then she was rehired in 2014 for the top education job at a salary of $266,811.
And only in New York do janitors out-earn principals. There were 694 six-figure "custodian engineers" who earned up to $206,000, with most surpassing the average salary of principals ($150,000). Here are the top three custodian engineers earning over $200,000 – Donald Tierney ($206,371); Frank Zapata ($202,647); and Simon Kocovic ($200,320).
The supplemental pay in NYC – overtime plus 'extra pay' – accounts for 12 percent of total compensation. That's more than three times the 3.5 percent rate in the private sector. In 2015, De Blasio promised to cap overtime hours at the Police Department. Two years later, the cap has never been enforced.
New York is the city that never sleeps. And, unless de Blasio gets serious, it’s the city that’s always spending.