Pulling back the curtain on salaries and benefits of public employees
The current city mayor, Mayor Wharton, is a great believer in transparency and when he was the county mayor, I found him to be so. Therefore click on any of the following to see city and sheriff department salaries and benefits. See 2009 city employees base salaries and cost of benefits, the 2009 city employees actual salaries and the 2009 sheriff department actual salaries.
In late 2009 I asked for information on all city base salaries and benefits for 2009. I received that information. Then in January I asked for total 2009 salaries including overtime and any other enhancements over and above the base salary mentioned in the first request. I finally received this information. I also asked for total remuneration for the Sheriff’s department. I received this also.
I have just started to analyze the information but several things jump out and need answers.
- There is a great discrepancy between base annual salary and actual pay for a number of job titles. For instance I found a job title of “LieutenantPolice” with a base salary of $63,951.94. However I found an actual payment for this job of $118,671.03. This is a difference of $54,719.09, 85%. In the fire department I found a job title of ChiefDivision with an annual regular salary of $90,891.32 but actual pay of $119,997.10. This is a difference of $29105.78, a difference of 32%.
- Overall I added up the base salaries for the City of Memphis for 2009 and I came up with $358 million but actual payment of $394 million, a difference of $35 million dollars. I found that $32 million of this difference was in the fire and police departments.
- I also requested and received the total salaries of the Sheriff’s department and while I do not have the base salaries, I did not see the high level of top salaries that I found in the City Police and Fire Department. The Police have 2874 employees with 110 earning more than $90,000/year. The Fire Department has 1867 employees with 63 earning more than $90,000 per year. The Sheriff’s Department has 2755 employees with 18 earning more than $90,000 per year.
As a result of these discrepancies, I started to look at the contracts between the city of Memphis and the Memphis Police Association and the International of Fire Fighters Local 1784. Here are some of the terms of these contracts. (It must be noted that I do not have the latest contracts but these are contracts that I got from the internet. I will be requesting the latest contracts in an open records request). Here are some of the extras over and above base salaries.
- Sick leave. Basically the same as the City of Memphis, or 2.5 days per month or 30 days per year for employees with 15 years of service.
- Bonus days. If an employee works three months without a sick day, he earns a bonus day. However an employee still gets paid for up to 65 of those unused sick leave days at retirement at his pay scale in effect at retirement.
- Vacations. 56 hour employees with 15 years of service get 6 week of vacation. 40 hour employees get 5 weeks of vacation after 25 years of service.
- The employee shall receive out-of-rank base pay rate at a base rate of the rank performed.
- Paid holidays, 11.
- Mileage and detail compensation. Any fifty-six (56) hour employee who reports for duty and is detailed to another engine house shall receive six dollars ($6.00) detail compensation.
- Uniform allowance. 1. Probationary employees in their first year of service $400.00. 2. Uniform members in their second year, $350.00. 3. Uniform members in their third year and each year thereafter, $275.00 4. Members who are required to wear plain clothing and those required to wear class A, B, or C uniforms, daily $350.00.
- Hospitalization Insurance. The City pays 70% of the premium and the employee 30%.
- Longevity Pay. The longer you work, the more you get. At the end of 5 years you get $20/month more. 10 years, $30, 15 years, $45, 20 year $55, 25 years $70 and 30 years $80.
- Educational Achievement Pay. 1 year of college (25 hours) 1.0 percent,2 years of college (55 hours) or Associate Degree 2.5 percent, 3 years of college (85 hours) 5.0 percent, 4 years of college (degree) 7.5 percent.
- Shift Differentials. The City shall pay to all employees who work a non-rotating fixed shift, a shift premium for all time worked during the second and third shifts.
- Off duty disability. In the police contract is the following. If an employee is disabled due to an off duty injury/illness and has a minimum of five (5) years of service, then that employee will be eligible for a pension benefit equal to the greater of twenty-five percent (25%) of his/her average monthly compensation or his/her accrued benefit as of the date of such disability as is provided by the City Pension.
It is time to look closely at these agreements and to bring back equity between the taxpayers who pay these salaries and benefits and the public servants who are far ahead of their employers. See a recent article on the gross inequity between public and private sector employees.