By Adam Andrzejewski
CEO & founder, OpenTheBooks.com
Last week, our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com identified the Las Vegas $100,000 Club – 2,037 city employees who made six-figures or more – a threshold salary of $100,000. All compensation amounts are for the year ending 1/1/2021.
We found that a big driver of city compensation was overtime. In fact, 614 city employees made five and six-figures ($10,000 ) in overtime pay.
The city employee with the highest overtime was Collin Sears, a firefighter/paramedic. Sears earned $120,005 in overtime and total compensation of $300,299 in 2021.
In fact, eight of the top ten high overtime earners were firefighters/ paramedics – each earning $74,062 or more in overtime pay. The overtime pay drove earning to over $236,000 each.
Overall, there were 477 fire employees earning $10,000-$120,005 in overtime alone – allowing employees to double or triple their salaries.
We reached out to Fire Chief Fernando Gray for comment. For example, how does a fire employee earn up to $120,000 a year in overtime? What does that process look like? How many hours of overtime were worked?
The public affairs department at the city responded with a statement:
Statement: Public Safety is a top priority for the city of Las Vegas, and our Las Vegas Fire & Rescue personnel, including paramedics and firefighters, provide essential life-saving services. Contractually the city is obligated to meet staffing and service levels, and overtime helps to ensure that there is adequate emergency response coverage to keep the community safe.
Department of Public Safety (DPS) had 106 employees earning $10,000-$48,408 in overtime alone. We reached out to the city spokesperson for comment. The top 16 overtime earners were corrections officers, not city marshals.
In total, across all agencies, the city paid out almost $20.4 million in overtime last year to 1854 employees. Therefore, the average employee – who earned overtime – made an extra $5,300.
Last week, our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com found that the new ‘minimum wage’ for city work is now $100,000 . One of every two city employees has a compensation package costing taxpayers more than six figures.
Wages as of the trailing 12-months ending on 01.01.2021. Total pay equals gross wages (cash compensation) plus the pension benefit contribution and health insurance payment funded by taxpayers.
High earners included:
- New city manager Jorge Cervantes earned $324,976 – that is $227,278 in base pay plus $97,698 in perks, health insurance, and pension benefits. Cervantes transitioned from the operations and development chief to city manager on November 15, 2020.
- Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s compensation package cost taxpayers $224,923. This included $156,205 in base pay plus $45,690 in pension and $13,810 in health insurance benefits.
- Each of the six city council members cost taxpayers an average of $122,000 each – including $25,000 in taxpayer-paid pension benefits.
Learn more at OpenTheBooks.com.