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Did You Make The List Of Top 100 City Employee Wage Earners? Cops Tops On List, Mayor Trails Far Behind

March 22nd, 2013 · 71 Comments · Analysis and Comment, News and Events

Hey, there’s more than one reason to make friends with a cop. OIB has received a list of the top city employee wage earners for 2012 and as usual it’s dominated by police officers, particularly the top 50, who in many cases received double their base pay from overtime. The list OIB reviewed does not break out base pay from overtime, but lumps the earnings together.

Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas leads the pack among 2012 wage earners at $224,374, followed by Police Chief Joe Gaudett, $222,939. Roughly $89,000 of Gaudett’s income is from his police pension. Gaudett, as a contract employee, is allowed to access his pension, something he started in 2011.

Then comes Police Sergeant Jessica Tillson, $179,119, Police Lieutenant Lonnie Blackwell $178,607, School Principal James Adams $178,583, Police Captain James Viadero $178,415,  School Principal Audrey Skoda $174,741, Police Sergeant Michael Sample $172,753, Police Sergeant John Gale $169,192, Police Lieutenant Kevin Gilleran, $167,939.

To judge the amount of overtime received by police officers, the highest income base scale for a sergeant is $71,276,  for lieutenant it’s $81,900. The base pay for a deputy chief is roughly $108,000. Two deputy police chiefs Anthony Armeno $155,382 and Adam Radzimirski $155,154 both finish in the top 20 among wage earners. Dozens of other patrol officers and detectives on the list received double their base salary in overtime.

Charlie Carroll, the director of Public Facilities, tops wage earners among civilian department heads, $154,506, number 20 on the list. Poor Mayor Bill Finch barely cracks the top 45 at $138,808.

Other notables in the top 100, former Mayor John Fabrizi, director of adult education, $140,116, Chief Administrative Officer Andy Nunn $135,973, Deputy Director of Labor Relations Tom McCarthy $135,011 (includes $9,000 stipend as a member of the City Council as well as the approximate six weeks he served as department director in absence of director on medical leave), Assistant Chief Administrative Office Alanna Kabel $131,180.

Come on, let’s be friends!

Technically, the highest wage earner on the list is no longer a city employee. Former school chief John Ramos, canned in 2011 following his support of  state takeover of schools, received $233,909 as part of his buyout package.

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71 Comments so far ↓

  • Andrew C Fardy

    What a list. Will someone tell me how administrators or mayoral assistants get overtime? Who monitors their overtime? How does McCarthy make almost $40k IN OVERTIME?
    The cops are out of control. How and why do deputy chiefs get overtime? Just look at the PD overtime and its officers, not the people in patrol. Just think how many street cops we could put on if we did not have to pay these blood suckers OT. The PD is $3.5 million over their expected and budgeted OT.

    • LennieGrimaldi

      Andy, if your reference is to Tom McCarthy, included in that number is his City Council stipend. He does not receive overtime pay.

      • countdown

        Could you clarify, Andy or Lennie? What is McCarthy’s base pay and what is the stipend to be council president? I thought all the councilpersons got was approx $5000 for expenses. So do you mean these six city employees get a stipend to be on the council that adds to their regular paycheck? Clarify please.

        • LennieGrimaldi

          All council members can receive a yearly stipend of $9,000. They can choose to use all of it or none of it. McCarthy, as council president, does not receive a higher stipend. The city is now calculating the stipend in the total payout to city employees serving on the council.

          • The Fixer

            If the City is counting it towards the total payout, as you say, that makes it pensionable. So these employees are inflating their City pensions with their City Council stipends. I thought the City was broke. I guess it’s only broke when it pertains to the union workers’ wages and benefits but not to the double-dippers. This is what happens when there is ABSOLUTELY NO OVERSIGHT.

          • Joel Gonzalez

            “… Tom McCarthy $135,011 (includes $9,000 stipend as a member of the City Council as well as the approximate six weeks he served as department director in absence of director on medical leave)”

            But Larry Osborne still managed to pull in $131,880.

      • Andrew C Fardy

        Lennie, I was under the impression McCarthy was making $91,000 per year. I am not sure if he used the entire $9,000 stipend. Let’s assume that is included, that means he makes $124,000 per year which means he has received a lot of raises in the past two years. How did that happen?

        • LennieGrimaldi

          Andy, you may recall last year the City Council voted to modernize salaries of management positions. McCarthy recused himself on that vote but the position he holds as deputy director received an upward adjustment as a result. The salary grid the council approved will provide insight into salary ranges. Larry Osborne, director of Labor Relations earned $131,880 in 2012, according to the wage list.

          • The Fixer

            That is totally and thoroughly disgusting. They “modernize” their own salaries while the real workers get squat. The measly 2% increases are eaten up by the increase in copays for health benefits. The little guy has been losing money, going backwards for the last five years. Employees cover for their bosses all the time and do not receive the higher salary. Did McCarthy write up his own labor agreement? I am totally disappointed in McCarthy. He has become a pig like the rest of them. This city needs a revolution. We need to revolt and overthrow this administration now before there is nothing left to save.

    • TheSqueakyWheel

      Keep in mind OT from road jobs is paid by the company hiring the officer. Shift overtime is paid by the city. Road job OT is administered by the city, and it charges a surcharge to the company on top of what the officer makes. These lists do not delineate shift OT vs extra duty/road job OT.

      • BOE SPY

        But how many of those companies are doing contract work for the city? Like repairing roads and fixing sewers? Then the contractor is charging a surcharge to hire the cop.

  • Chosen 1

    One thing sure to never be heard around city hall, Chuckles Carroll is worth every dime of his salary. He takes the “it’s better to be feared than respected” saying to new levels.

  • BlackRockGuy

    Vallas is getting over $200K for a part-time job. This is disgraceful. And Finch would be overpaid if he were getting minimum wage.

  • The Fixer

    How about a list of top wage earners for employees out on paid leave? Or how about a list of the top lawsuit settlements?

    CT Post is reporting a rookie cop, Robert Voccola, was awarded $100,000 by a jury because Chief Norwood fired him when the rookie failed a physical agility test because he hurt his ankle while running. The paper reports there were three witnesses to the fall and a hospital report from St. Vincent’s to backup what happened. Norwood accused the rookie of falsifying the documents. The guy got his day in court and is now up a sweet $100 grand, minus Tom Bucci Sr’s cut.

    This is a case that was reported. How much is paid out we don’t know about? How many employees, besides Honis, are out on “paid leave” while Labor Relations trips over each other trying to figure out which end is up? What a joke!

  • The Fixer

    How about a list of DTC members/employees and their salaries?

  • brown eyed girl

    This is Bridgeport CT not Huntsville Alabama, salaries seem reasonable with cost of living.

  • Pork City

    Right on, Fixer!!! A list of lawsuit settlements would be mind-blowing to say the least. This administration encourages bullying the hard-working (i.e. non-connected) employees. C’mon Lennie, we need to expose this administration and show the public the millions of taxpayer $$$ they are costing us because of their bullying and arrogance.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    If the top earners list were extended to the top 150, we would still be in the range of $125,000. Imagine printing a list of everyone earning above $75,000. Imagine if we looked at the combined salary of the husband and wife city employees. Imagine if we calculated the amount of $ going to employees living out of town (too good for Bridgeport crowd).

    Lennie, there is one employee who grabs my attention. Raleigh Little who is listed as a part-time aide showing gross earnings of $148,687. How in hell can someone working part time earn that much money? Must be a school principal.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    This city’s overtime policy is a joke. In private industry management does not get OT and are expected to put in extra hours. Here management such as Nunn, McCarthy and Carroll to name a few get OT. Who signs off on their OT? When is the last time ANYONE SAW A DEPUTY CHIEF FROM THE PD DOING OUTSIDE OT GUARDING A CONSTRUCTION PROJECT?
    This OT list for the most part is a looting of the city treasury, pure and simple.

  • BlackRockGuy

    Jacqueline Kelleher has resigned as Chairperson of the Board of Ed according to one of my sources …

  • Joel Gonzalez

    In the meantime, back in Bridgeport Connecticut, Mayor Bill Finch maintains Paul Vallas turned around the CPS–Chicago Public Schools.
    news.msn.com/us/chicago-to-close-54-schools-to-address-dollar1b-deficit

  • barry soitera

    The OT issue with the PD is a management issue. There is absolutely no reason why a DC should have one hour of OT. They along with the captains and lieutenants are sucking the place dry. There are only one or two exceptions of course. (Mainly personnel in the Db. Most of cops are at least working on a post getting their OT. They’re not in a office watching football and disappearing and putting in for 8 hours. Everybody knows who’s working. Thank god for the new AC. He sees what’s going on and is putting a stop to it. I hope the AC becomes the new chief very shortly.

    • The Fixer

      Take a look around the Government Center. Most offices have brand-new televisions mounted on the walls. Ask Sherwood what these cost or did they fall out of the back of a truck! Why does the payroll office need a television? Or OPM? Or the Central Grants Office? I thought we were broke!

  • yahooy

    It is interesting to note Stamford and New Haven do not have these issues of extreme ‘pensionable’ extra compensation. The stated explanation is unions do not have the influence as they do in Bridgeport. The other stated explanation is the voters would not allow it. Go figure.

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Bullshit yahooy, Stamford’s PD seems to be like Bridgeport. I’m not sure of New Haven, but they did let go some police officers.

    • yahooy

      Being a janitor at the BPD makes you an expert on compensation practices of other communities?

      • Joel Gonzalez

        BTW, this janitor made $39,213 including all overtime. We are limited to only four (4) OT on the weekend cover. The number of “janitors” has been cut from five (5) to two (2), yet the OT is not greatly affected or increased. When you calculate the difference between the raise and the 108% increase in insurance premium, we took a pay cut. I had the qualities of an expert way before I became a janitor.

      • yahooy

        Stamford paid out $5.5 million in police overtime, significantly over budget. Not one penny was applied to a police officer’s pension calculation. That was my point, Joel; that’s what I meant. Read before you continue to embarrass yourself.

  • Bob

    If any of the above-mentioned overpaid city employees were in the private sector, two things would already have happened.
    1. They wouldn’t have a pay scale like unioned civil employees that includes benefits and pensions, nor would they have such extraordinary overtime.
    2. They’d mostly be let go for incompetence.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Now we are getting somewhere. When you look at where the money goes and why it goes there, it becomes pretty obvious City management has been playing softball relative to union contracts. That has been the problem with unionization in the public sector. No one is representing the taxpayer interest in funding not only current compensation practices that appear far above the private marketplace, but also much grander post-retirement pension and healthcare benefits.

    Even the way stipends have morphed into reportable pay is interesting. There has been no dialogue to speak of at public meetings but the sands have shifted to debit cards I hear and that would not be a reimbursement basis, would it? And how many Council members want to report what they spend, or on what, and why it fits reasonably into City governance that should be funded by taxpayers?

    Anybody out there want to sit in on some Special hearings in April about department appropriations for the coming year? Sign up for BOB by contacting Andy Fardy or me. If the Council sees we are serious about NO TAX INCREASE they may have a reason to perform actual pushback and request honest documentation from Tom Sherwood. (The last sentence includes oxymoronic phrasing I recognize.) Time will tell.

    • Phil Smith

      John, the “stipends” have always been reported because the IRS considers unvouchered payments income. They only reason they were called “stipends” was to avoid the referendum that was required if they were salaries.

      • John Marshall Lee

        Phil,
        Stipends have been reported in different ways in the Purchasing records than in the Proposed budget–Actual past year. Stipends have not been received by everyone according to those same records. Would you call me on Monday during the business day so I can tap into your experience and understanding to come to agreement on how taxpayer money is used by the City Council but in ways they do not wish to disclose? Look forward to your call 203-259-9642. Time will tell.

  • Andrew C Fardy

    This has not been mentioned and it’s a killer. The police union is about to ratify a contract that involves pension changes.
    The PD will be going under the state pension system which allows their pensions to be calculated by their last three years of earnings. Is it any wonder the top wage earners for the most part are ranking officers?
    No one at this point knows or is saying what the city will have to pay into this fund. It is possible one or more of the listed 100 could retire with a 100% pension based on what they earned. Another question, does their outside overtime count towards their pension? How many more street cops could we have if one of those dumbass chiefs kept OT under control.

    • BARF

      Pension changes may be coming again to the fire department. You can check, the Mayor met with the fire commissioners today, one by one, his office. He wants the majority of the money back that was agreed upon when pension plan B was separated from the current fire members into the state plan. The Commissioners had voted with their fiduciary duties the first time. Now the City wants to revisit that decision, and TAKE the money for, whatever?
      Let’s see how many keep their positions this time.
      This is the perfect example of why you don’t appoint an expired commissioner!

      • John Marshall Lee

        BARF,
        If your report is accurate, it covers the reason the Mayor has failed to tell us about what happens to the current pension assets in Plan B Fire and Plan B Police.

        The Commissioners as Trustees cannot avoid their fiduciary duties except by resigning. And a Board that reneges or avoids its Trustee responsibilities is looking for member pushback or taxpayer appeal. Let’s get it out in the open. The Mayor has not provided a public report for several years on the matter. Are the funds meant to go to Hartford or not? If they are, then the longer they are held by the City, the City will likely bear the risks of market decrease.

        Do you have a copy or any info on Fire Commissioner decision? Anything on what the Police Commission is considering? As of June 30 last year the two public safety B plans had about $193 Million invested combined. Between stocks and equity mutual funds over 60% of the money was in equities. With the recent increase of equity indexes, it would not be surprising to find that % has increased. What risk does the City face if market volatility causes the balances to drop from highs that we will be obligated to put in additional money? Who has the answer? Keep asking, please. Time will tell.

        • BARF

          JML
          I think a call to any of the commissioners would be the best way to find out, or call the Mayor. Is “Mayor” capitalized? OK. Yes, the mayor Finch, and probably the City Attorney, who may have been there. I am not sure about the totals for all “B” pensioners, but I believe the fire portion was approximately $73 million. When B was separated from the new plan, they were given 50 of that. That’s what would make it solvent since there were no longer any deposits from members, since they were retired. I think the count is 75.
          That left the active members, not sure of the count, probably 275 or so.
          Not sure what happened today, and I have no way to tell, but as you say, “time will tell.”

          • John Marshall Lee

            So you are indicating the State will take some of the assets for the plan B fire beneficiaries who have already retired, it seems? (Can you phone me on Monday to confirm this info at 203-259-9642?) And presumably will do a similar calculation for the Police Department as well? But if there are 100 or more officers just waiting to put in their papers, will the State look for more funds from Police B? If Police or Fire feel their pensions with the state are not adequately funded, will they have a right to come back and sue the City? And will the current B retirees receive pension payments from the City from the assets left with the City? And if those assets decline in volatile markets will City taxpayers have to make up the losses, as we have had to do with Pension A?

            By the way does anyone know or care about when Pension Plans A, or either of the B Plans are discussed by the respective Trustees? Or where these fiduciaries keep records of decisions, etc., available for community review? Are you interested because your taxes are paying for these plans? Time will tell.

  • yahooy

    See, unions really do stink.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      yahooy, let’s talk about the benefits and gross earnings your wife and your two kids–all educators as you have stated–get thanks to their stinking union negotiations. It must be real nice to be able to spend half the year with the family.

  • eyedoctor

    Are the take-home vehicles no one is supposed to know about that are taken home included in the salary? There are quite a few with regular plates and NO city markings. I’ll bet THEY don’t have GPS on them!!!

    • BOE SPY

      I am not sure if those perks are listed on the paycheck stub but they should be declared to the IRS as income. The IRS wised up to this. If I pay you $50K you pay $7.5K income tax then lease a car. If I lease you a $50K car to use, you get the $50K car and no taxes. These perks used to be a good way to get stuff and avoid income and, sometimes, property tax.

  • Black Rockin

    Now it’s about time for another cell phone use investigation. I didn’t–you did!
    It’s all okay, Bridgeport shuts down in two years.
    Bankrupt.

    • Joel Gonzalez

      Talking about cell phones BR, what happened to the one thousand cell phones the city ordered last year? What was the total cost on that alone?

  • Mojo

    *** Is it reasonable for city government to pay out those sums of money in general with future promises for higher wages in coming contracts while taxes continue to rise and city services continue to decline? *** WHICH WAY IS UP? ***

  • Dave Walker

    Just another example of mismanagement by failing to determine who should be eligible for overtime and not adequately controlling overtime for people who should be eligible. Overtime is just one of many areas to cut spending.

  • Dave Walker

    When you read this list keep two things in mind. Median household income in Bridgeport is about $35,000/yr. In addition, the amount listed for City and BOE employees does not include health care, pension and other benefits that are much more generous than most private-sector employees get.

    • BlackRockGuy

      That is because under Bush, private-sector employees were getting screwed over by their employers. Tell us Dave, what extras did you get as Controller General and what kind of salary and pension do you get. So far I have yet to see any answer here. People who working for a living should be getting medical care and some kind of old-age pension whether private or public or do you think because you were a high-ranking govt official only big shots in govt and business deserve such bennies.

      • Dave Walker

        BlacRockGuy,
        This is the third and last time I will answer you. I do not have any federal pension or retiree health benefits. In addition, I was not part of the Bush 43 Administration. He was a fiscally irresponsible President and I have said so on many occasions.

  • BARF

    … just heard the chairman of the Board of Ed just resigned!

  • Nancy Hadley

    BARF,
    Kelleher is staying on the Board. She just stepped down as Chair so she could participate in the debate. They really need a strong parliamentarian who will ‘call the question’ in order to have those meetings end in less than five-hour marathons.

    • BlackRockGuy

      She stepped down because of a power play. Kennie Moales’ relatives have been getting lucrative contracts from the Bd of Ed for their privately operated schools.

  • BARF

    Thanks for the clarification; and yes, those meetings are very long!

  • Pork City

    You’re dead on again, Fixer!!! “Take a look around the Government Center. Most offices have brand-new televisions mounted on the walls. Ask Sherwood what these cost or did they fall out of the back of a truck! Why does the payroll office need a television? Or OPM? Or the Central Grants Office? I thought we were broke!” Absolutely true!!! Tom Sherwood is a freakin’ weasel. They lay off people and demand furloughs from the lowest-paid employees, then turn around and purchase with taxpayer dollars completely unnecessary televisions. Huh? Why? Why in hell does the Central Grants director need a TV in her office? And we won’t even talk about all the beautiful new furniture, all approved by Tom “the wuss” Sherwood. I’d like to kick his a**!!!

  • park city fan

    Curious as to where the fire chief was on the list of top wage earners. It has been mentioned here, on more than one occasion, Chief Rooney was also collecting a city pension and salary. How is it then Chief Gaudett knocked down $220K+ yet Chief Rooney did not?

  • park city fan

    I would love to see a list of the top 10 “outside attorneys” paid to do work on behalf of the city. Any chance of seeing that list, Lennie?

  • flubadub

    As a Bridgeport resident/taxpayer I too am concerned with the apparent overuse and abuse of overtime to boost salaries for city workers. However, as a long-time private sector union member I am also concerned about the anti-union sentiment expressed by many here. While it is true public-sector employees enjoy a high standard of living, it was not so long ago those of us in the private sector enjoyed a similar standard. Unfortunately over the last couple of decades we have become victims of “globalized vulture capitalism” which purpose is to enrich the elites at the expense of the working class. Many may take some comfort, if not glee, in the reduction of the standard of living of those of us in the private sector and now rail against public-sector employees who are now beginning to face the same assault as we did. If you do, you should remember the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller from Nazi Germany that begin “First they came for the communists, but I did not speak out because I was not a communist …” It can happen to you too. The dollar owes allegiance to no country! I’ll leave this link for your edification.
    www .theamericanconservative.com/articles/revolt-of-the-rich/

  • park city fan

    I couldn’t agree more, flub!

  • The Fixer

    Yes, the value of the take-home cars is included as taxable income but is also pensionable. Another way the appointees inflate their pensions.

  • Dave Walker

    Only base salary should count as part of any pension calculation. Anything else is an abuse that should be eliminated.

    • The Fixer

      Good luck on that, Mr. Walker. If you do a forensic audit and determine when the abuses started, it will lead you right to Tom Sherwood. He is out of control as are the other top members of this administration. They are bleeding the city dry. The budgets are so full of hidden money and fake positions, it would take a true team of forensic auditors to figure out how the money was and is being spent. There are people on the inside who have valuable information but are afraid to speak out. Those who dare to question are dealt with quickly.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Today I ran across a prayer that was used more than 50 years ago in Rome before every session of the Second Vatican Council. One sentence spoke to me of the emotions so often heard in our City:

    “You desire justice for all; enable us to uphold the rights of others; do not allow us to be misled by ignorance or corrupted by fear or favor.”

    Ignorance caused by failure to teach and share info or allow materials to become public does mislead. Corruption does occur when many people are fearful or when a few too often are provided with favorable treatment and rewards. Bridgeport seems to be rife with behavior that calls for “light and strength.” Let us pray, each in our own tradition, in addition to working together. Time will tell.

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