Let’s Make Friends, The Top 100 Wage Earners For 2017

It’s a rite of passage on OIB serenading the list of top 100 municipal wage earners. In 2017 the narrative is essentially the same as decades prior with city police officers dominating the list via overtime. Leading the pack in 2017 is an outlier, Jimmy Honis who retired as deputy chief after 47 years of service, with a $513,709 payout involving accumulated personal days, comp time, holiday and unused vacation time. It wasn’t in Honis’ vocabulary to take a vacation or call in sick. Mayor Joe Ganim finished number 30 on the list at $152,876, combining his base pay $146,920 with unused vacation time and longevity pay as a bridge employee from previous service. Mayor, how about a bottle of wine?

Top 10 of top 100
Jimmy Honis, Deputy Police Chief, $513,709
Aresta Johnson, Schools Superintendent, $252,747
Richard Mercado, Police Officer, $252,577
Brian McCarthy, Police Captain, $236,589
Adam Radzimirski, Deputy Police Chief, $236,393
Marlene Siegel, Schools Chief Financial Officer, $225,420
Ilidio Pereira, Police Officer, $189,449
Brian Grabinski, Police Officer, $187,836
John Cummings, Police Lieutenant, $182,094
Brian Fitzgerald, Police Captain, $176,729

To provide context regarding police officer overtime Pereira received $92,916, Cummings $80,623, Fitzgerald $60,756.

See the full list here.



    1. I find this one interesting: SIEGEL ,MARLENE CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER 225,420.00 212,823.00 (BOE).

      Is Marlene Siegel the only person in her department doing all the work to deserve or earn this much. Ken Flatto nor Nestor Nkwo didn’t make it to the top 100 list. Here’s the approved Budget for the city’s bean counters which includes keeping tack of the BOE budget:

      FY 2017
      FY 2018
      FY 2018
      Adopted Variance
      1 1 0 0 0 DIRECTOR OF FINANCE 127,213 126,592 126,592 621
      1 1 0 0 0 EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT FINANCE 82,610 82,610 82,610 0
      1 1 0 0 0 ASSISTANT INTERNAL AUDITOR 78,925 78,925 78,925 0
      1 1 0 0 0 PROJECT MANAGER 87,125 101,272 101,272 -14,147
      1 1 0 0 0 PAYROLL MANAGER 87,125 101,272 101,272 -14,147
      01015000 1 0 0 0 -1 DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF F 45,269 0 0 45,269
      FINANCE DEPARTMENT 6 5 0 0 -1 508,267 490,671 490,671 17,596

      1. Joel,
        Ken and Nestor’s work on the BOE budget?? Do they really keep track? Or is it a “cut and paste” computer assignment since the BOE has its own finance Committee and budget.
        Marlene Siegel earns a good salary and has kept BOE in the ball game while the last two Mayors have dithered on BOE Operating Funds and support for schools (except for photos of new buildings going up after the shovel pictures were processed.) Someone may check, but I believe that Ms. Siegel gets the salary, but has waived all benefits including healthcare and pension. For a budget that is larger overall )including all State and Fed funds) than the COB operating, and is so dependent on State funds, Federal grants and detailed reporting, perhaps you can appreciate a womoan of integrity, candor, and with who answers questions with fact and truth and occasionally a smile. What is the expense of benefits forsaken? Time will tell.

        1. Thanks to advanced computer technology, Ken and Nestor’s work is much easier when cut and paste is required. Here’s another example of you ignoring the flip side of the coin. The same technology that makes Ken and Nestor’s job more convenient, is the very same technology that makes Ms. Siegel’s job much easier. Considering all the technology, the support, and only 180 school days a year, I’d say she is over paid. She’d have no problem cutting teacher’s, assistant principal’s positions or others but, wouldn’t dare to even consider a pay cut or give-back for herself.
          The kind of woman or men I appreciate are like those teachers who put in the extra time and even money out their pockets to help the students.

          “perhaps you can appreciate a womoan of integrity, candor, and with who answers questions with fact and truth and occasionally a smile.” Sounds like a stab at Ken and Nestor. Ken Flatto should come on the Blog again and bring Nestor along to snap you back to reality with their points of view and facts.


          1. As to technology new members of the Council are attempting to overcome the stonewalling from City financial players who declare that release of basic data in excel format is dangerous in some manner or other. Of course it would allow those interested in comparisons between years, departments and spotting trends over time to become routine. These are not things that the City is wont to do itself.
            The City Council has failed to spend all of its Stipend Account and 80% of its Other Services accounts for years. Do they think about cutting? There is no sign of it.
            Just trying to attempt to SNAP YOU BACK TO REALITY AND FACTS, Joel!! (By the way on the matter discussed offline, I completely understand your point of view and advice. I chose to approach the subject in one manner. If it does not work, your method is still available to me. It’s a matter of seeing how serious and confident some folks are about thwarting the Charter to achieve their objectives.)
            Marlene Siegel puts out all of the financial information on BOE site, that includes personnel assigned to positions at a given moment, grants in place for certain services,etc. This is more info than Ken and Nestor are able to put out for the public. Ability in this sense has nothing to do with technology but a willingness to share ALL OF THE INFO, real transparency, when accountability is being sought. Any problem with that Joel? Time will tell.

  1. This is in the paper every year and you wonder what is the point of it? These people must be in some position to be offered the opportunity to make the extra money. You have to question why a captain and lieutenant are not paid by salary.

    I am sure they have perks other cops of lesser rank don’t have. Perhaps it is time for any Officer above the rank of sergeant be put on salary, it would save the city a lot of money.

      1. The private sector doesn’t have minimum manning like the fire and police department has in order to provide 24 hours a day 7 days a week protection for residents of Bridgeport. Overtime comes into play once the manning goes under that set number who are on duty because someone is on vacation, holiday, injury and sick.

  2. This just in!!!!!
    The city of Bridgeport was named one of the top 20 finalist for Amazon to open its 2nd Headquatrrs.
    Beaten out by such cities as Pittsburg and NEWARK NJ!!
    Welcome to the real world Joe Ganim and Toni Harp.

  3. Headline Hunter Joe Ganim strikes again.
    All splash and no substance.
    ECDC head Tom Gill said they will asked Amazon to reconsider with the caveat that they will deal soley with the mayor on tax incentive. Wink

  4. The police salaries should be broken down by over time source. How much was from outside overtime and how much was department overtime.
    People need to know that citizens are paying for the increased pension costs brought on by the outside overtime.

  5. Ok Andy. So we break it down. Then what???
    Overtime is overtime no matter how you cut and dry it.
    Then we have to see what we bill on outside OT.
    Then what we collect. Is it more or is it less?
    Did we make money?
    Before you know it it’s all water over the dam.

    1. B.S., Bob! The police/labor negotiations for 2012-16 did not allow the City to raise the expense of officers on external overtime. Formerly there had been item #41645 outside overtime surcharge, currently budgeted at $185,000 per year that some City commentators have called a “profit”. Whatever you call it, once the City moved from Plan B to MERS and overtime earnings were included in retirement benefit calculations, the taxpayer was the only person paying for the increased contribution to MERS from the original calculation, and now comprising principal and interest on the $99 Million bond.
      The new labor/police offer seems to allow an increased charge to some external hires but not for others. Such calculations should be accessed by Public Safety and Budget and Appropriations to see what is ongoing. Requests for a running report of potential police retrerments (those eligible to depart with full benefits) will provide a basis for seeing how newly recruited police classes to provide new faces and keep overtime down should be available. If the Police Commission is monitoring such, perhaps the Chairman of the Police Commission confuses his night time Commission responsibilities with his current day time City job and something has to give? Time will tell.

  6. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on where you sit on these issues, overtime work, especially for law enforcement is a necessary evil. Most if not all PD’s are understaffed and coverage is always needed to protect the public. These lists just cause some in the general public to have another reason to dislike the Police. In the 80’s and 90’s I was often on these lists of “highest” paid. Never was it printed that I worked 60 to 80 hours per week or that I made over 250 felony arrests per year during those years. Never was it printed that over time I have had several surgeries directly resulting from injuries received while in the performance of those duties. Never was a list printed showing the numbers of violent individuals that were taken off the street, some of course let out to early and allowed to continue their crimes against the common citizens only to be arrested again. So I’m just saying that you can’t blame the individual. If you need to blame anything then blame the politicians who create the systems and conditions the individuals work under. Cities look at like this: it’s cheaper to pay one employee twice than to hire another employee. I took advantage of the manpower shortage, worked the extra shifts and made the extra money and served the public. That’s what the cops today do. Maybe some police positions are not imperative to fill on OT but certainly those duties that directly impact public safety should be everyone’s priority How would you like to call for help and be told sorry we have no one to send. It happened a lot in the 70’s in Harlem and the south Bronx- I know. I lived there. Have a nice day.

  7. Most of the street OT was started with an ordinance back over 30 years +. There is no state law that requires a police officer at every street job. Why not take some of our residents who are not working and hire them to monitor these sites. OSHA has a short course on how to manage traffic at construction sites. Once this course is taken the person is cleared to work these sites. Right now contractors are paying in excess of $60 per hour for these police officer. I forget how much has not been collected and nothing is being charge for the added pension costs this outside OT is costing us.
    I am sure we would have a number of people applying for these jobs with a starting pay of $18.00 ph its a lot less than $60.00

  8. I made no money on those jobs. I worked in a street narcotics unit when crack appeared on the streets back then. (What fun what fun!!) The job was always undermanned by a minimum of 30 to 40 officers. Even when I was in the uniform division I rarely worked construction site jobs- (side-jobs) I worked all the various shifts that were routinely undermanned. But as far as the side jobs go you must understand that 1- the city always used side job availability to get a better deal when negotiating contracts with the union and 2- that the city makes money on every hour a cop is paid on those jobs. I know it’s a bit different today vis-à-vis the end game but remember what I said….blame the politicians for the system that exists if you don’t like it. You can’t blame the guy doing the job.

    1. Additionally- I think that most would agree that as far as things we don’t like and wish to change, in most cases, will never be fixed by a dozen people on a blog. Look at our political system in this city. They say it’s run by a restaurateur who makes a good pizza. Who’s fault is that? Issues come up that no one likes and the public pays for them due to their silence and apathy. Rarely does the public come out to fight against issues that they know may affect them negatively. People who have the “there’s nothing you can do about it” attitude or those who have self-interests in mind are the ones responsible for the atmosphere which exists. Look at the situation in the 133rd- a bartender who slings drinks for the pizza guy gets the most votes!! (unless the court finds otherwise!) What has he ever done to be positioned for this elected office that represents the citizens of that district? Does he have the skill sets to properly represent the constituents or will he just do as he is told? Where are the credentials? Let me not get too personal but IT IS a good example of why Bridgeport is such a mess. Blame the politicians, blame the voters and those who don’t vote, but don’t blame those who simply live and work under the conditions that are in place. “TIME FOR A CHANGE” has never had more meaning if one applies it to this City. Time to change the political regime and some of their side kick cohorts. I see that it has started a bit with the election of some new blood to the Common Council. Lets hope the trend continues.

      1. Andy and Rich you both make excellent points. Why not train individuals who are trained and cleared to perform the job of construction-site observation and related responsibilities? Good point Andy. No one will listen, but good suggestion just the same. Rich, you are right regarding your observation of the Bridgeport political pollution led by the little monster. However, there are some of us who keep on trying. Sometimes we lose, sometimes we chip away, and we’re doing it again as we communicate. Sacrificing hours of our personal time, with no expectation of a reward or favor, just die-hard individuals who refuse to give up. Keep up the good input guys!!

  9. This list is a salary / overtime index limited to city employees.
    I’d like to see a productivity index that includes those without sick days, paid vacationns or other perks.

  10. You can’ t blame a cop who works the overtime by filling a vacancy by another Officers absence or a construction company that needs a cop at a job site. By looking at some of these people they may be attached to some unit that has overtime in by the nature of their work.

    You have to question why an Officer above the rank of sergeant is not on a set salary? I am sure some of them may have some perks that goes with the rank like a take home car. Which is another unnecessary expense. Since other cops have to get to work on their own dime why not these high salary earners? It’s not like they can’t afford it.

    The city could trim the fat in a lot of places if they cared to. It seems there are different rules for different people. Once again there are politics at play. This is why there needs to be some oversite committee looking at the day to day operation of the city. There is waste everywhere.

    There are taxes and fines not being collected so between what is being paid and what is owed is not close to center. The city is always going to be in the red. The city is in the red because of poor management and other practices that must be changed.

    If the city wants to get serious about spening perhaps a cost to beneifit analysis should be done citywide along with audit that is open to the Mr. & Mrs. Tax Payer.

  11. The “side job” issue is a bit more complex than just placing someone trained as a “flag man”. There are too many facets and intricacies involved, both legal and procedural, and I don’t mean simply doing traffic, to go into here on the blog. This issue has its roots going back to about 1990 when I led the Stamford Police Union. (So the 30 years ago comment is on point by Mr Fardy). Strong moves were initiated to shift side jobs from the men and women who I represented to a private contractor who just happened to be a retired cop. We dealt with that issue in many ways including legal and we prevailed. Hence other departments followed on our decision. That decision included for the first time the fact that Cities could now make money on those jobs which had never been done before. Again my point is that there is always more to the story then just not agreeing with what one sees or hears. There are many more public safety issues at hand regarding this topic as well. Energy would be better spent on trying to bring Police Departments to their proper strength. In Bridgeport that’s about 100 more Police Officers. Who will support that cost. Someone let me know when you find out. Have a nice day

    1. What other safety issues are there. the police department always uses an excessive amount of OT no matter how many cops we add. Lets clear out the dead wood and then see what the numbers are.
      By dead would I mean people that are on long term sick leave. send them to a department doctor and based on his findings retire these people. Same for line of duty injury are these on the job injuries monitored for time off? Send these injured to a department doctor and if they can not return to duty in a set period of time retire them on disability.
      Save more money by selling the horses and putting the cowboy cops back on patrol. Any officer working inside put them outside.
      Just so you know we are owed a lot of money from deadbeat contractors

      1. One more thing check on the people on disability retirement. We retired a sgt on disability who ended up being a cop in Meriden How do I know this ? He shot and killed a burglar while on duty

    2. Rich Augustynowicz: “Again my point is that there is always more to the story then just not agreeing with what one sees or hears.”

      The point made above is pretty much what I’ve mentioned for years–the flip-side of the coin. The minute one takes the time to consider the flip-side, a better understanding is the least they should come out with.


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