The wages earned and paid to some city employees is an outrage to other city employees and to many residents and taxpayers unable to fathom how a police Lt. can earn $259,000 while Police Commissioner Ed Davis earned only $177,000.
The top money earner in the city, School Superintendent Carol Johnson, presides over a school system whose MCAS scores ranks among the very lowest in Massachusetts. She was paid $323,000 and an annual pension type payment of $56,000.
Compare this to Mayor Thomas Menino. He received $175,000 – and if anyone in this city working a municipal position believes they worked more hours than the mayor than let that man or woman raise his or her hand.
Former Boston Fire Chief Ronald Keating took home more than $313,000. Keating is a great guy. His men loved him. He ran a great fire department. He made double the mayor’s salary.
A police detective was paid $112,00 in overtime pay alone. And on and on and on the list goes.
To those of us in the private sector running businesses there is the general impression that wages, overtime, sick-time, vacation pay are all out of whack. That is to say, how can anything make sense in a city like ours when a police officer makes twice the salary of the man he ostensibly works for, who is the mayor?
The next question those of us who do not work for the city tend to ask ourselves is how a lower municipal public safety officer can make more than $100,000 in overtime when his or her salary might amount to $80,000 to $90,000. And on and on and on the story goes.
It is absolutely incomprehensible how some lower classification employees in this city make more than twice what their bosses make.
In attempting to answer such questions we are told we simply don’t understand the system. But then, who wants to try to understand a system in which lower status employees make much more than their bosses, when overtime can amount to more than one year’s wages, when vacation and sick time packages can amount to $167,000 for employees who are retiring and when nearly everyone in this rather absurdly construed city pay system make more than the mayor?
Why does the school superintendent make more than the mayor when her school system is among the worst in the state, consistently?
Why does a Boston fire chief make $140,000 more than the mayor?
Even the police commissioner makes more than the mayor.
A few dozen school department officials make much more than the mayor.
Where we wonder, did the municipal employee pay system depart from the common sense that tells us the mayor is the most important in the city pecking order – not the police chief, not the fire chief, not the school superintendent, not a detective, not a fire captain and on and on and on.
There should be a wholesale review and reordering of salaries and allowable overtime paid her.
There won’t be.
But there should be such a review and it won’t come a year too soon because salaries paid as they are in this city are unsustainable in the years to come.