The Vanguard has a new home, please update your bookmarks to

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

100K Club of Davis

The Vanguard introduces the 100K Club of Davis. A listing of those Davis city employees who earned in 2007 over $100,000 in salary and overtime. This list does not include benefits in it. Once again these records were obtained via a Public Records Act request from the city of Davis.

One of the striking features of the 100K Club of Davis is that the city employee who earned the most money last year was not City Manager Bill Emlen but rather Fire Captain Richard Moore on the strength of over $77,000 in overtime wages. The only other non-public safety official in the top 10 was Parks and Community Services Director Donna Silva.

In all there are 61 members of the 100K Club of Davis from 2007. 48 of those were public safety employees. Of those 38 were firefighters.

This fact becomes more startling as we breakdown the top average salaries by department.

Here we see that the Fire Department has the top average base salary at $88,555 followed by the City Manager's office. The Police Department by contrast is fourth and just higher than the average city salary. Parks and Finance are the two lowest compensated departments in the city followed by the Public Works Department.

However, this graph does not tell the full story. The real story emerges when overtime wages are factored in.

Here we see the full magnitude of the current salary system. The Police Department benefits somewhat by the overtime system however, nothing compared to the Fire Department. With overtime factored in the average employee in the Fire Department out earns the next highest the department, the City Manager's Office, by over $35,000. The Fire Department makes just under 50% more than the next highest department in the city. And, the average worker for the city does not benefit much from overtime rules. The average wage only moves from $63.1 to $67.9K when overtime is factored in.

In all, the city paid out just under $2 million in overtime wages in 2007. One of the open questions is whether and at what point it is more cost effective to simply hire more employees rather than paying for the current employees time and a half to work overtime. Factored into that equation is the difference between overtime pay from regular wages versus the amount the city would have to pay in additional benefits and retirement to additional employees. However, on the surface, it would appear the city might be able to hire an additional 10 to 15 employees for what they are paying overtime.

This is the second in a series of Vanguard reports on the fiscal state of affairs for the city of Davis.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting