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Who were the highest paid City of Tacoma employees in 2010?

Post by John Henrikson / The News Tribune on April 15, 2011 at 8:00 am with 32 Comments »
April 15, 2011 10:35 am
City Manager Eric Anderson = $248,911.12
Utilities Director Bill Gaines = $300,594.80

We now have updated 2010 City of Tacoma employee pay data in our SoundInfo section. (Also see updated public school employee and Pierce County employee data posted earlier.)


Some highlights from the data:

• Tacoma Public Utilities chief Bill Gaines topped the $300,000 mark last year and was again the top paid city employee, ahead of City Manager Eric Anderson at $248,911. Anderson shouldn’t feel too bad. His pay surged from $214,318 in 2009 – after receiving a pay hike last year, as reported earlier by Lewis Kamb.

• Tacoma Utilities managers – mostly Power division employees – made up nine of the 25 top paid employees. Six were fire department employees.

• 745 city employees were in the six-figure club, making $100,000 or more. That’s up from 650 in 2009. (This is total gross pay, including overtime.) Kamb’s overview showed highly paid employees benefited more from the city’s “Compensation and Classification” review, which resulted in raises for thousands of employees over the past couple years.

• Full-time city employees made an average of $74,582 last year. Among larger departments, fire employees took home $96,475, while police employees received $88,680. Lowest paid were library employees at $48,923. (These averages likely understate reality because they include employees who worked only part of the year. The data is essentially a snapshot.)

Below is a list of best compensated city government employees:

RankNameJob TitleDepartmentAnnual Salary2010 Pay
1William GainesUtilities DirectorTPU Director$298,459$300,595
2Eric AndersonCity ManagerCity Manager$235,373$248,911
3Theodore CoatesUtilities Dir Dpty Power SuptPower$234,291$233,585
4Patrick McCartyPower Section ManagerPower$208,790$211,738
5George WhitenerPower Section ManagerPower$208,790$208,886
6Reynaldo ArellanoCity Manager, DeputyCity Manager$209,227$208,446
7Elizabeth PauliCity AttorneyLegal$188,406$187,528
8Robert BilesFinance DirectorFinance$188,302$183,105
9David WardPower Section ManagerPower$182,125$181,819
10Ronald StephensFire ChiefFire$172,890$178,874
11John BriehlHuman Rights/Human Svcs DirHuman Rights/Services$154,773$178,156
12Donald RamsdellPolice ChiefPolice$171,954$177,906
13Jon LendoskyFire Chief DeputyFire$169,657$175,840
14Robert SheehanPolice Chief AsstPolice$169,657$175,188
15Jeffrey JensenFire Chief DeputyFire$168,813$174,598
16Steven HatcherCustomer Services MgrCustomer Service$170,477$172,813
17John PappuleasFire Chief Battalion w25Fire$129,210$172,117
18Chris RobinsonPower Section ManagerPower$179,878$171,784
19Daniel CrottyFire Chief DeputyFire$169,657$171,489
20James HowatsonPolice Chief AsstPolice$169,657$171,342
21Jolene DavisFire Chief DeputyFire$169,657$171,146
22Cynthia WikstromPower Section ManagerPower$171,163$170,876
23Richard McCreaPolice Chief AsstPolice$169,657$169,967
24Dale KingUtilities Dir Dpty Rail SuptRail$170,040$169,755
25Frederick EmrickPower Section Manager, AssistantPower$162,926$169,527
26James DugganFire Chief AsstFire$161,609$167,514
27Dolores StegemanPower Section Manager, AssistantPower$167,024$167,024
28Joy St. GermainHuman Resources DirectorHuman Resources$168,210$166,860
29Faith MuellerFire Chief AsstFire$161,609$166,573
30Richard McKinleyPublic Works DirPublic Works$169,478$165,866
31Rodney KerslakeHearing ExaminerHearings Examiner$160,971$165,159
32Linda McCreaUtilities Dir Dep Wtr SuptWater$161,325$164,945
33James ScottFire Chief BattalionFire$126,691$163,740
34Gary SteinhoffFire Chief Battalion w25Fire$129,210$163,345
35Robert MackUtilities Director DeputyCommunity/Media Services$163,093$162,819
36Steven FischerPower Section Manager, AssistantPower$162,926$161,825
37John LawrencePower Section Manager, AssistantPower$162,926$161,774

Leave a comment Comments → 32
  1. dster420 says:

    It must be nice, while the rest of the state is hurting so bad, schools getting closed,etc., that these guys all get a big raise… What did they do to deserve it?

  2. Sure why not… rape the tacoma city customers and give it to the headcheese.

  3. All this money at the top and they complain about the workers pay…..

  4. John Wohn says:

    Now you know why our utilities are so high.

  5. So it seems a 10 to 20 % pay deduction execpt for police and fire would help a lot.
    with not retroactive pay when things get better.
    I think that the city manager is way over paid and also the TPU Director the Utilities Director and also the Power Section Managers. these could be cut almost in half.
    Why do we have 2 Power Setion manager at $200 +.

  6. Omega6234 says:

    746 City employees make over 100k??!?!??!? Wow. And our city is still in shambles.

  7. SwordofPerseus says:

    Just more examples of waste, fraud and abuse at all levels of government, top clown at city power makes over 300k/yr! What does he do to earn that salary I would love to know…..

  8. m9078jk3 says:

    Jeez some of these people are getting close to what the POTUS earns.
    Several of these people on this list are earning more than the Vice President of the United States though.

  9. troublemaker says:

    Hi Lewis, what percentage of the City’s work force is paid more than $100,000? Has the percentage increased since the last analysis? Thanks.

  10. JoshHight says:

    This is sickining!! and if you scroll down the Tribunes home page most of you want teachers to take pay cuts!! I wish some of you would grows some…..And stand up for the people. How can we let this happen??? I am so mad. Does anyone know what to do? How do we stop this from happening? Suggestions ( real ones please).

  11. LakewoodGuy says:

    AWESOME! Raises for Tacoma Power managers at the same time they laid off normal workers. Another cool thing? The Millman salary survey management used to justify their raises last year is the same study they are disputing when regular employees are trying to get more money. “It’s flawed” when referring to us using the same study for a few percent raise.

    It’s so cool that the HR manager Joy St. Germain makes over $160,000 a year because of the study, but tells us in negotiations for salary increases for us “the study is flawed”. PERFECT!

  12. nokoolaide says:

    That sure explains why utility rates are going up the next two years!

  13. GHTaxPayer says:

    This is what happens when Democrats hold majority of power for so long. Massively overpaid public union workers and the only solution that will be decried by the lefties is to “raise taxes and user fees”.

    Same scam, same party.

  14. This just reinforces my opinion that ALL city employees should be required to live in the city of Tacoma that provides them generous employment. The money should be kept as close or recycled locally. TPU raises rates while the head honcho makes significantly more than the average or median household income. A customer service manage makes $172,813 dollars really is that necessary. I can only wonder how much of the TPU salaries are tied to the click network. It is my understanding that the cable television division has never made a profit our repaid the initial investment. What about all the installers and call center employees it takes to run that. Rather than cutting services and raising fees maybe it is time to reevaluate what our utility priorities should be. Let’s not forget it was Click network and the city that got all up in arms when Comcast wanted to pay $5 million a year to name the T-Dome. Looks like a pretty good deal in hindsight. Everett laughed all the way to the back with their Comcast Arena.

  15. guidocarmasi says:

    I am appalled. Surprised and frankly discusted by this report. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined this

  16. packer64 says:

    Before everyone’s head explodes from the fact that the director of Tacoma Public Utilities makes $300k/year lets try to relate some facts about TPU. Among comparable sized power utilities in Western Wa and OR, Tacoma has the lowest power rates for residential, commercial and industrial customers. Tacoma power last raised rates in 2005. Tacoma has close to the lowest rates for water.

    You could not pay any of the employess at Tacoma Power for a year and it would only lower your electric rates by 20-25%. The % for water is a bit higher but not by much.

    The Director of TPU heads up a company that employs over 1,200 and has annual revenues of close to $500 million. PSE, the utility next to us (and yes it is bigger), that is investor owned pays it’s director $680,000 per year. Plus, she is eleigible for an annual bonus of $550,000 for meeting short term goals (can you say profit and higher rates?) and $1.1 million for meeting long term goals.

    So the choice is clear, pay people at least close to what they can get elsewhere or lose good people and let our community asset – Tacoma Power and Water – suffer from poor management and bad decisions and in the long term cost ratepayers a lot more.

  17. MauriceD says:

    It really tickles me how some of the comments are about overpaid government employees. If I am not mistaken, every one of these jobs were available to the general public. Why did you not apply for them? Maybe because you are not qualified to do anything but gripe about public salaries. I have always believed in the old adage that you get what you pay for. If you want to lower the salaries of these employees, you will get the quality of people that will work for what you want to pay. Yes I would love to earn Eric Andersons salary, but I will be the first to admit that I am not qualified to do his job. I would also love to have A-Rods salary, but again I am not qualified to do the job. Maybe we are hearing sour grapes from people that just are not qualified to do anything but work at the jobs they are at.

  18. Alison7613 says:

    I wish I had sold my soul. I would have nicer clothes.

  19. MauriceD says:

    I have not heard the first comment about the salary of the CEO of Exxon. And before you start your blather about the fact that your taxes are not paying his salary. No your taxes are not, but $4.00 a gallon of gas is.

  20. Alison7613 says:

    France! Bastille! Storm!

  21. bbobtee27 says:

    Yo GH Tax payer dude! Very few if any of these people in this category are Union members. I do Like the idea about keeping the Dems from holding office so long, but the names you see on this list are the ones fighting to block the .25 to .50 an hour pay raise the Union memebers are asking for.

  22. tree_guy says:

    “I would also love to have A-Rods salary, but again I am not qualified to do the job.” Maurice

    The issue raised by this story is not what entertainers who work in the private sector make, but what public employees who are paid with taxpayers funds make. Certainly, some of these people have talents that are not readily apparent but probably some of them gained their jobs through city hall nepotism. Doubt if many of these people in the $100K club would quit their jobs if they got a 30% pay cut.

  23. sunlover says:

    The top 6 people within the city of Tacoma make 1 million, 178 thousand, 959 dollars. What a friggin waste of money. Ctiy Manger, Deputy City Manger, Lawyer, HR director, Finance and the worst of all a Customer Service Manager hauling in over 170 thousand dollars a year. Tacoma is bad and getting worse with this type of stupidity. This doesn’t count police and fire.

  24. Tacoma 1

    You don’t want to know about click. Their lowest paid Installer clips 50k a year, the system tech’s make 90k plus. I have worked for a major MSO
    and I can tell you the top headend tech’s make 60-80k a year. Having worked in this field for over ten years I know plenty of High skilled tech’s that would love to even make 50-60K .If given the job my self I could lower operating cost and even turn a profit. Click’s add revenue is also a joke. They could bring in more marketing dollars but they lack the will and sight to look at new way’s to Improve the bottem line. Sorry I got carried away but this list is just 1 small part of the problem.

  25. sunlover says:

    @MauriceD – you say these jobs were open to the public? Yes, to a small section of those who might be qualified or have an in with someone who has the in. It certainly is not about sour grapes. It is about fiscal irrresponsibility. To have a city the size of Tacoma paying salaries similar to cities 3 and 4 times Tacoma’s size is blatant stealing of the taxpayers money. We are NOT getting what we pay for in Tacoma. We have many qualifed individuals who would do this same job better for 1/2 the pay because they care about Tacoma, unlike the ones sitting as City Manager, Deputy City Manager, City Attorney, HR Director, Finance and the best one as Customer Service Manager.

  26. Well said sunlover…


    With all due respect have you ever tried to gain employment with the city ?

    Well I have and it’s not what you think it might be my friend. The system in place for hiring is so out dated and In my case I didn’t have ( A friend inside )
    if you get my point.

  27. GrammyPuter says:

    Notice that these folks are chiefs (some literally). I suspect the Indians make much less.

  28. Brian Stewart says:

    Wow, I thought it was Sunday after reading most of these comments. They sure resemble the funny pages. These higher paid positions are typically filled with college educated or otherwise highly skilled people. Very few of you commenting here on this page probably meet either requirement. I would venture to guess that many of you “constant commenters” are on the public dole in one way or another. I know it’s not your fault – it’s the fault of all those rich people that have everything handed to them (translation – actually worked their butts off for what they have.) I am sure that several on this list are less than deserving of their salary, just as many of the teachers, firefighters and policeman are undeserving, but I would venture that the vast majority of all those mentioned are earning their salaries and then some. Don’t spend so much time worrying about others and concentrate on improving yourself. I know we live in Washington but a little self motivation and self reliance goes a long way. Cheers to all.

  29. tree_guy says:

    Brian, it sounds like you would like people to stop commenting on the use of tax money. If we aren’t allowed to comment about the salaries described in the article what, pray tell, would like us to write about? I think some of these salaries are shocking and I don’t care what background the people have. I think we could drive a better bargain.

  30. Brian Stewart says:

    No I am all for commenting but most of those that make posts on this site. I don’t think I made any reference indicating people should not comment, just that they may want to do some self relecting. It is also real easy to hide behind stage names when commenting. I wonder how many comments would be posted if people had to actually claim their posts. Just a thought.

  31. stanhayes says:

    What seems interesting to me is that the Pierce County Executive oversees an operation roughly twice the size ($$$) as the City, and earns less than some Tacoma City Asst. Managers. What is wrong wit this picture?

  32. thatsIroney says:

    Wow Jacknojack….. where do you get your info Installers for Click start at approx 15hr and top out around 25 approx so they top out at approx $52 000 But it takes a long time to get there Click makes you do your time to get the raises no shortcuts. I agree there could be improvement made. And yes I have tried to gain employment, I knew no one there and found the process reasonable, sometimes getting a job isn’t about nepotism its about your application and skills ETC. I have been working for the city 6 years and still not making over 50 000.
    But lets not mention that even if you do not have Click you benefit by getting lower costs because there is competition ask any Comcast customer outside the areas serviced by Click. I realize Times are tough but there are good hard working people that do there job to the best of there ability every day that are struggling to make ends meet also .

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