Kevin Can’t Wait, Fires Up Portal To View State Employee Salaries

Ganim, Lembo
Mayor Joe Ganim and State Comptroller Kevin Lembo follow a tutorial of the Bridgeport financial portal.

It’s your loot and Connecticut Comptroller Kevin Lembo is making it easier to learn how and where it’s spent and what state employees are earning. On Tuesday he launched Open Payroll see here that highlights real-time payroll information about state employees as well as a portal of top earners and agency costs.

Lembo, a potential candidate for governor in 2018, was instrumental in the city’s launch of Open Bridgeport to search where local dollars are spent, modeled after a state site created by the comptroller’s office.

“OpenPayroll is an important addition to the OpenConnecticut portal that builds on my commitment to make Connecticut’s government the most open and transparent in the nation,” Lembo said in a statement. “In the flush of fake news offerings, OpenConnecticut continues to serve as an online oasis of data and facts where the public can get the most immediate and accurate state financial information.”

The financial portal provides compensation data for every state employee, including salaries and overtime pay. Previously, the state payroll data in Connecticut was updated only once annually. OpenPayroll will be updated bi-weekly to reflect the typical state employee pay cycle.

“OpenConnecticut will never be complete–it will always remain a work in progress as we continue to find new ways to expand access to government data,” Lembo said. “I look forward to continue growing this site and other initiatives that bring Connecticut residents closer to government.”



  1. Wow! Good stuff! Smart guy! (I bet Dan isn’t too pleased.) I would like to see a site that lists DEEP/PURA officials and Public Utility executives and major stock holders and the family, personal and political links between all the high-level players in this regard. Ratepayers are being fleeced by the utilities and their beneficiaries in the Governor’s Office, DEEP/PURA and the GA. The state, as a consumer-ratepayer is also being screwed, meaning the taxpayers are being screwed twice. And the Connecticut economy is being dragged down by rigged rates.
    Yes. Kevin Lembo might want to do a website dealing with the state finances and DEEP/PURA salaries in this regard.

  2. I must say this is the type of spirit, drive and dedication all elected officials should have but it seems only Kevin Lembo at this time is showing that type of leadership in Connecticut.

    1. Payroll $$ are what you take home in salary on a regular basis. Benefits include the expenses of funding healthcare, other group insurances, retirement income plans, and other post-employment entitlements.
      If as some researcher claim, public employees have TOTAL compensation at 40% greater expense than private employees, looking at salaries alone does not make a full case. Perhaps a comparison of TOTAL COMPENSATION related to TOTAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES in the Public sector and similar info for a job in the private sector. Time will tell.

      1. JML,
        Who or what organization came up with this figure of 40% higher compensation for public employees versus private employees? Can this be a reflection that private employees are LOSING total Compensation (Salary plus all other benefits, health, pension etc.)? I agree that compensation should be reviewed and changed if deemed excessive. Of course, the challenge is who decides what is excessive. I am concerned public employees are getting a backlash. In general, I feel ALL employees are receiving less benefits (etc.). The question for public and private employees is what is right and what is fair. That’s the hard part.

        1. Frank,
          At the risk of raising an alarm of some OIB posters, most public employees are represented by unions. Fewer than 20% of private employees have someone bargaining for them.
          In the public sphere, management has little skin in the game long term, so they have seen no problem with deferring promised dollars and then funding them skimpily if at all in the present. Leads to big underfunding problems with Defined Benefit plans and Other Post Employment benefit future funding.
          Private sector has moved from defined benefit to defined contribution substantially and has removed OPEB benefits for most private employees.
          In private sector unions face management with ‘skin in the game’ because of representation of stockholder interests and responsibility for current and long-term results.
          How to correct this in the public sphere? Anybody? And it gets worse when those in power do not own up to the expense of labor contracts ever!!! Time will tell.

          1. JML,
            As a former State employee I challenge the “40% higher” claim, primarily voiced by the Connecticut Yankee Institute (with their very specific agenda). Many public employee jobs have no private sector equivalents. Take a Prison Warden for example. I don’t think a private-sector CEO with hundreds of employees is paid less than someone running an equivalently sized business. And the pressures and responsibilities are arguably less stressful when you are manufacturing widgets.

            The true analysis is much more complex than throwing the 40% figure out for public consumption.

          2. Note to Ed Davies (below),
            Each of us are proud members of Rotary International and familiar with The Four Way Test. The first question is: Is it the Truth?

            I write and live with that question in mind. I did see the Yankee Policy Institute article and read it as I do many sources. If, as they say, salaries are similar for similar occupations at certain levels with respect to public and private employment, then the differences must be related to the benefits.
            Ed, you are the beneficiary of a negotiated Defined Benefit Pension plan with the State. Our contemporaries in the private sector of similar age, for the most part are receiving income from Defined Contribution plans variously called Profit Sharing, 401K plans, or 403B plans. The major difference is the risk of investment returns over a working lifetime or the mortality of a retiree is carried by the taxpayer beyond a worker’s retirement. The plan stays on the hook for making up investment deficits from plan assumptions or long lives on the part of retirees and spouses. The cost of those plans is not well understood by the public. That is not a fault of the Yankee Institute.
            Another major difference in benefit structure is the Other Post Employment Benefit (OPEB) category where Bridgeport currently has around $1 Billion of liability. In the private sector those plans have not been made available for years or have been terminated by private corporations as too expensive.
            As you indicate Ed, there are many truths in this pursuit that require greater discussion, better sources of information, and broad-based voter-taxpayer understanding when decisions are being made.
            As an OIB contributor, fiscal watchdog in Bridgeport, and volunteer for many community activities necessary because the public safety net is not necessarily spread fairly, equivalently or justly, I write to make subjects more OPEN, ACCOUNTABLE, TRANSPARENT and HONEST to readers. Let’s have coffee, soon. Congratulations on your recent Service award. Time will tell.

  3. JML,
    I thought you had previously posted Bridgeport would NOT post any payroll information due to privacy concerns and FOI rules.
    Well if the state can do it so can the city. So don’t buy any nonsense from city officials about this.
    And anything about Bridgeport’s payroll regardless of whether it includes benefits or not would be a welcome step in the right direction.

    1. Bob,
      Ask Av Harris. I only stated what was said in the past. By the way, the new OPENPAYROLL was not available in the City rollout. It may not be in the City $24,000 package today, either.
      And I repeated the privacy issues mentioned when I asked the question. Note the State is showing what the position pays, and not the person.
      It is fascinating to me that I attend meetings to learn current info and report on it publicly but there are a couple people who think I am paid to provide them ever up-to-date info that agrees with their opinions. Bob Walsh, Ron Mackey, et al., come on down to City Hall tomorrow at 11am for the quarterly Pension A meeting Ken Flatto will host with the advisors. It should be interesting. Time will tell.

      1. JML, tell me what private-sector jobs are out there that perform life and death duties 7 days 24 hours a day like firefighters and police and what are their benefits and pay and who don’t have the ability to go on strike.

        1. The police and firefighters are not part of the studies I have read, there is no private sector job similar to your very necessary and honorable profession.
          I suppose paramedics and emergency room physicians and nurses might come close in life and death duties on 24-hour shifts.

        2. Ron,
          A police officer joins the force, becomes trained in the vocation, lives up to the practices and processes, and earns the pay and benefits the union negotiates. However, a given police officer, indeed what may be a large percentage of the force day in and day out are performing duties that are mundane, non-violent and away from where bullets are flying.
          The fact that at some years of their careers, performing one or another duty, they face life and death situations must be considered. But what weight do we put on the “life and death” when a majority of officers in any given week are not in that situation, even though they carry weapons and have training?
          We are not talking about military forces, are we? And we are not talking about conscripts, but volunteers for this type of duty. Danger or the potential for harm and hazard, including stress-related hypertension, are factors, but only part of the picture, I suggest.
          Should the public know what the annual expense for public safety officers is? If the cost of all compensation is not shown to the public, how will they know and be able to express an informed opinion? Hope to continue this discussion. Time will tell.

          1. JML, once again please tell me some of the private-sector jobs that are comparable to a paid firefighter and police officer and what are their benefits. I notice you never talk about those heads of industry who make unbelievable pay and benefits even when their business is losing money and who can just turn around and send their business offshore in order not to pay their employees a decent wage to American workers.

  4. Out of curiosity, I entered the name of a state employee I interacted with in a previous position. I was familiar with their skill sets and responsibilities. I was floored by their salary. Even more amazing was the cost of their benefits package. Something is amiss. Hopefully, Lembo’s efforts for openness and transparency will demonstrate, among other things, the results of the cozy relationship between state employee unions and the Democrat party.

  5. Not to worry. With the new administration in DC I wouldn’t be surprised to see a dismantling of the National Labor Relations Act. Trump is already blaming the Steelworkers’ Union for Carrier’s issues. Four billionaires and counting for his new administration appointments. A real man of the people.

  6. Ron Mackey,
    With respect, you rarely stop to answer questions I ask when we get into a potential discussion, but only ask me questions about oranges when we are talking about apples, or so it seems. And you show no interest in further in-person discussions where man-to-man we can see how serious the other person is in such discussions. It’s a form of something, but I need not say what, as you are disinterested in pushing the current boundaries of discussion and learning. Perhaps in the future? TIME WILL TELL.

  7. Ron,
    You are so right. First of all, the link that Jennifer provided talked about state employees not city. The study shows anywhere between 26% – 40% but anti-labor advocates choose the high end of the range and say 40%.
    When you read their methodology it is so imprecise I am sure the same result would occur no matter what data they used. The end result shaped the data and not the converse. It was performed by a very conservative, anti-union group.
    But if the likes of JML and David Walker can simply say studies say and people don’t challenge them then they get away with twisting the truth any way they want.

    1. Bob, you got that right, David M. Walker never lets anyone forget he was the former United States Comptroller General from 1998 to 2008 and all the committees he is on and his appearance on 60 Minutes. He thinks when he makes a comment, everybody has to accept whatever he’s saying because he’d David M. Walker former U.S. Comptroller General, well he’s no different than Donald Trump, his comments need to be challenged and not accepted as gospel. Both Walker and JML are anti-union, they believe the marketplace should determine how much you make but that theory doesn’t work for City emergency workers.

    2. Bob,
      Our City and our State have significant underfunding in benefit plans that will provide dollars to people when they are no longer working here. Some of those benefits will be the potential of police and fire retirees to double their former salary-based pension benefits if they work enough overtime in three of their 25 years and generate overtime earnings equal to their base pay. Does that seem equitable or necessary, fair or prudent, and if it were realized by most taxpayers and voters would they be finding ways to lower the costs of such “planning?” I think so. Are there ways to do this without upsetting the current Pension Plan? I believe there is and will share that in January or February at a cw4bb meeting if provided that opportunity.

      I attended the quarterly meeting of the Pension A committee today at 11am. This is the approach Ganim1 took to deal with obligations to retired fire and police hired before the early ’80s. He borrowed $350 Million using a Pension Obligation Bond that would cost City taxpayers $30 Million per year for 30 years. Do the math. Taxpayers will pay $900 Million by 2029 to invest the $350 Million in 2000-01.
      Perhaps the actuaries expected the plan to earn more than the bond cost. That would have been smart. However, a couple of challenging markets that lost capital; assumptions in the plan that return would be 8 or 8.5% but has turned out to be only 5% in the past 10 years, and the usual friction of management and legal expenses, alas the fund balance appears to be under $65 Million. Finally, benefit payments were almost $35 Million in FY 2016. More will be revealed when the CAFR is released by the external auditor in the next month. How does this sound to you as a manner of funding long-term promises? Time will tell.

  8. It is December 9, 25 hours after my last post on this thread. No comments on the facts I reported. Do facts silence some of OIB’s more opinionated posters? Perhaps so. This is not the first time this has been reported. Looks to me municipal and state unions have put management over a barrel but the taxpayers are footing the bill with no accountability from a series of Mayoral leaders. If I criticize salaries and benefits of City employees, does that make me anti-union, or pro-responsible budgeting? Ron and Bob look for shortcuts to label people with facts or views they dislike. Too bad, guys. Study the entire subject. I have no inherent advantage in digging out the info, talking to the current managers, thinking, reflecting and writing. What steps are you guys missing where it is easier to attack a person ad hominem rather than dig into the subject? Time will tell.


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