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Top earners in King County government? No. 2 might surprise you

Post by John Henrikson / The News Tribune on May 11, 2011 at 8:09 am with 32 Comments »
May 11, 2011 8:28 am

Now posted in our SoundInfo section is 2010 pay information for King County. To access the database of county employee salaries click here.

I found a few interesting nuggets in the data for the organization, which has more than 16,000 employees providing everything from animal control to public health to law enforcement to transit services. Among them:

• The top paid employee for King County, somewhat predictably, was Public Health Director David Fleming, who made $263,077 last year. Among those in the top 25 highest paid, 14 were Department of Public Health employees.

• No. 2 was more of a surprise: Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Miner took in $226,756, though his hourly rate was $38.50 or about $80,000 a year straight time. He was one of five deputies to earn more than Sheriff Sue Rahr’s $160,497 and one of nearly 200 department employees to earn six figures. Overtime in the King County Sheriff’s Office has been an ongoing issue as reported here and here.

• County Executive Dow Constantine was the highest paid among elected officials at $196,675. Others were Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg ($162,489), Rahr, Elections Director Sherril Huff ($154,138), Assessor Lloyd Hara ($150,950), District Court judges (who earned about $140,000) and County Council members, who were paid from $115,558 to $131,421.

• Running some raw averages, here’s what folks in various job titles made: Electrician II ($81,036), Corrections Officer ($73,378), Human Resource Analyst ($64,570), IT Project Manager II ($68,581), Mechanic ($68,617), Nutritionist I ($37,499), Deputy ($95,863), Accountant ($64,074), Transit Operator (48,489), Animal Control Officer ($43,459).

• 1,825 out of 16,700-some employees made more than $100,000 last year.

Below is the list of the top 25 highest paid employees in the county.

NameJob titleDepartmentHourly rate2010 Earnings
David FlemingDirector, Public HealthPublic Health$128.40$263,077
Michael MinerPolice Officer (Deputy)Sheriff's Office$38.50$226,756
Manuel OvenaIT Project Executive DirectorExecutive Services$96.60$225,381
Richard HarruffMedical OfficerPublic Health$98.92$216,645
Charissa FotinosMedical OfficerPublic Health$96.60$200,101
James ConstantineCounty ExecutiveExecutive's Office$94.89$196,675
Jeffrey DuchinDisease Control OfficerPublic Health$89.97$194,464
Masahiro NaritaDisease Control OfficerPublic Health$89.97$193,858
Roger HiggsJail Health PhysicianPublic Health$83.79$192,642
Aldo FusaroDisease Control OfficerPublic Health$89.97$191,707
Robert LovellPsychiatristPublic Health$87.86$191,668
Brian WaiblingerManaging PsychiatristPublic Health$92.12$188,875
John RosePsychiatristPublic Health$87.86$187,491
Edward ChristianPolice Officer (Deputy)Sheriff's Office$38.50$187,182
Brian MazrimDisease Control OfficerPublic Health$89.97$182,578
Kevin DesmondDiv Director, TransitTransportation$87.98$182,474
Benjamin SandersMedical OfficerPublic Health$89.97$179,673
James KriegerDisease Control OfficerPublic Health$89.97$176,282
Steven LangeJail Health PhysicianPublic Health$83.79$175,409
Gary ZornesPolice Officer (Deputy)Sheriff's Office$38.50$174,430
Deborah NansonPersonal Hlth Svcs Supv - JailPublic Health$59.00$170,055
Harold TaniguchiDirector, TransportationTransportation$79.91$169,737
Barbara VallorPolice Officer (Deputy)Sheriff's Office$38.50$168,753
Randal PotterPolice Officer (Deputy)Sheriff's Office$38.50$168,320
Fred JarrettAsst. County Exec. Oper. IIExecutive's Office$81.82$168,120

Leave a comment Comments → 32
  1. slasmith says:

    If the number two paid employee earned time and a half for his overtime he would have needed to work almost 13 hours per day all year with no days off to earn that much. This seems quite suspicious and should warrant further investigation for possible fraud.

    Here is the math: 40hrs/wk x $38.50 hr x 52 weeks= $80,080 base pay, $226,756 – $80,080 = $146,676 overtime pay, $38.50 x 1.5 = 57.75 hourly overtime pay rate, $146,676 / 57.75 = 2539.84 overtime hours worked or 89 total hours per week, 89 x 52 / 365 = 12.7 hours worked every day of the year.

  2. sierradog says:

    Fraud in submitting overtime in the Sheriff’s department is almost impossible. The overtime is submitted by computer and checked by a supervisor and again by payroll for accuracy. If a deputy works regular or overtime they are logged in at the communications center and a record of their activity for that day is kept. Yes the top earners did probably work every single day with few days off. They have literally traded their souls and their personal lives chasing money. Every large organization, be it police or Google has a few people like this. People with no life other than working because they hate going home. Are they effective officers working this many hours? NO, They do the minimum in everything….They are just a body filling a roster.

  3. This is outrageous because the pension benefits should not be based on total compensation but only on base pay. This would eliminate all this overtime work at time and a half. What are we paying these deputies for anyway? Driving around all day in a patrol car, hiding in the bushes to write more speeding tickets to housewives going to the supermarket and eating donuts. Their supervisors could care less that they are abusing the system as it’s the taxpayers who are getting screwed not them. The ferry workers are doing the same thing. I hope all you taxpayers are looking forward to paying outrageous pension benefits to all these people for the next 30-40 years after they retire at age 53. I’m 63 and still working so I can make my contribution.

  4. sugasteam says:

    Your calculation didn’t take into account holiday pay, double time and any other shift differential there might be.

  5. bullman120 says:

    tired of antagonizing the anti government wackos in pierce county?

  6. Noone should be getting over $50.00 / hr with the state of fiances in the country or state especially those that don’t have life/death jobs. Overtime is justified but to pay that much for basis is ridulous. Public Services could do better if they put to monies on the ground level to those that are doing the real work. We can do without the big wigs and CEO’s — as far as I’m conscerned they deserve less than the ones that actually do /risk their lives.

  7. Reaganomics says:

    If this suprises anyone then you don’t read this fishwrapper very often. Cutting positions does not mean there is a cut in criminals or crime. When you cut positions there is a giant sucking sound and that void gets filled by officers/deputies working overtime. As positions are cut overtime usage goes up. Pretty easy to understand…if you are not trying to stir up controversy where it does not exist.

  8. “tired of antagonizing the anti government wackos in pierce county?”

    They are low hanging fruit!

  9. Conservative says:

    TNT should run a story on the overtime pay and subsequent pension benefits the taxpayers are now on the hook for in addition to the obscene annual pay. It is good to see these annual pay articles, but they are just the tip of an iceburg. It makes no sense for the taxpayers to allow “rest of your life pension benefits” to be so skewed by and based on a few years of six figure overtime pay.

  10. Although these figures are a joke the 2009 salary figures for King County employees were even higher.. A King County jail nurse took home $485,000 and the the highest paid Sheriff made $269,000 in 2009. Pierce County has retired firemen in their 50s taking home over $14,000 per month in taxpayer paid pensions. This whole situation is out of control.

  11. Looks like a few were given overtime while many others got very little ot. Could it be more crony-ism? The Sheriff’s Dept. was run by crooks when Reichert was Sheriff, and it looks like Sue is no different.

  12. Buzz32

    The contract between the King County office and the Guild (union) is negotiated between the union and the county executive. Mr Ron Sims (who now works for Obama) is the one who negotiated these ridiculous overtime and pension rules. The Sheriff has no say in the contract. It is because of Ron Sims that it is impossible for the Sheriff to fire any of deputies. It doesn’t matter how bad they are the Guild-Sims rules make it impossible to for them to be fired.

  13. steilacoomtaxpayer says:

    Miner’s pay reminds me of the joke about the lawyer who, 43, wanted to know why St Peter called him up so early. Reply–according to his billing records he had to be 106. Nice job King Co.

  14. Nobody was screaming and carrying on in the weeks and months following 9/11. People gave money in droves and some NYPD and NYFD widows and families were instant millionaires. This in addition to their pensions and insurance policies. They were labled as “heroes” by most. Now, when a Deputy EARNS a big hunk of money by working overtime and extra hours, out come the calculators and the slide-rules and everyone wants the man’s head on a pike! Good God, don’t you people find it hard to talk out of both sides of your face at the same time? Way to go, Deputy Miner. Thank you so much for your sacrifice and for your service to your community.

  15. If the Sheriffs Office is like most other agencies, they now work 12 hour shift’s, making it easy to pick overtime on your scheduled days off. With shift differential, incentive pay for things like education degrees, advanced state certification and specialty pay, you can make extra and still enjoy a few days off. This is part of the problem when staffing is cut. The answer is to hire more Deputies.

  16. In regards to the Deputies pension, most pension formulas do not include overtime in the calculations. They do include shift differential, holiday pay and some types of incentive pay. If WA’s formula includes overtime pay, I know where I am moving to finish my career.

  17. sallyjane says:

    The real problem here is that even as everything else in the world has adjusted downward, reflecting the false bubble that inflated housing and all other assets, these wages have not been reset. Washington State is one of the very worst for creating communist/socialist grabbing of taxes to “reward” government workers. Christine Gregoire is without a doubt the worst governor in the country. She has driven all small businesses out of the state with her tax policies meanwhile all the foreigners, (especially the Asians she has given our state to in return for their bucks) work kiosks and restaurants and with all cash businesses pay No Taxes while using our medicaid and welfare system. The recent scandal of the Asian community cashing in their food stamps (whatever they want to call it it is still food stamps) for fifty cents on the dollar is a good example. Gregoire has invited all the welfare people from across the country, in addition to the foreigners, to the state as a means of keeping the communist/socialist state in effect. However, whereas we once had a wonderful state (I moved here in 1979 and it was a beautiful and safe state), we now have a guttered, ghettoized, sluice of welfare/foreign lowlifes who do nothing but work the system for its freebies. Between them and the overpaid state workers who rewarded themselves in the boom times with these exorbitant salaries (no government worker, under any condition, should make more than the average business employee, in fact, as a government employee they should always make ten percent less). This state is now frightening no matter where you go. Scary inner city people who have moved here for the benefits; foreigners who care nothing for our way of life and have scary furtive eyes; gangs everywhere; southcenter mall once a wonderful place to visit now gang infested and virtually all asian. is this the “diversity” we were supposed to embrace? the diversity that has created a hell hole of a state? the only thing that is paying for the social/communist welfare programs of gregoire is the large businesses here who can charge around the world, such as microsoft.

  18. happytimes says:

    This is not a new story, Michael Miner has a history of abusing overtime over many years, look up historical King County salaries on the web. This is a huge issue and must be stopped. There have been times where I have worked 80 hour work weeks for several months (exempt-no extra pay) and you become so burned out, and out of focus it does nothing to benefit the company. In this case, I would never want a debuty who is on his 60th hour of the week (for the 50th straight week in a row of overtime) coming to my aid in an emergeny-let alone having to draw his weapon. This is extremely dangerous. Obviously, he is gaming the system for increased pay and pension benefits. An easy way to stop this practice would be to:
    1. Not allow overtime to be calculated in any pension benefits
    2. Not allow any debuty to work more than 10 hours of overtime per week
    3. The savings the county would have from eliminating overtime could be used to hirer more deputies (entry level at a much lower pay).
    Again, another example of how government is out of touch with how to run efficiently as well as effectively!!

  19. Gary Belcher says:

    When the average hourly pay rate is approximately $73.15, it’s no wonder the county is in trouble. This is your tax money being spent friviously.

  20. SeaJimm says:

    So, cut out all the overtime and hire new employees to fill in for the extra time. Given the amount of overtime for just one deputy, we could hire two more. Wish I got paid that much overtime. Wish I got overtime period. Maybe we need to eliminate overtime like the private sector has? I am an IT guy and I am exempt for overtime thanks to Microsoft’s push on the overtime laws in the 90s. Maybe that should be expanded?

  21. Just know that you have the highest paid, nearly ineffective and inefficient government approached global proportions. I say if we outsource their jobs to China and India we will get our money worth.

  22. Happytimes

    Officer Michael Miner took home over $223,000 in pay in 2009. Back in 2005 the Seattle Times wrote an article about how he was abusing the system. At that time he was only making $161,000 a year. Looks like he has managed to up is salary by another $60,000 since that time/



    I wonder if Miner is one of the officers who get paid from the time they get in their car at home until they return. They purposely live as far from King County as they can get away.with? The taxpayers pay for their commute.

    Also we need to add another 30% to their salary for benefits such as pension and completely free health care.

  23. john doe says:

    look at these items!!!!

    For the items below, we are estimating hunderds of thousands of dollars annually and over the years, millions of dollars ~ King County taxpayers dollars. The Washington State Auditor and others should take a look at all these abuses and government waste and mismanagement.

    1. Keeping them honest! Property Serivices Section of Executive Services Division hires employees who sit around and do nothing all day long. They also get admin leave which among other things provides if the employee comes into work for only a short time period he/she can leave for the rest of the day, get paid and no time docked from their pay checks. Then there are also 10 days of annual admin leave above sick and vacation leave days which is suppose to make up for the extra time the employee puts in. Check out any employee on admin leave and you will find that no one puts in extra time ~ instead they rip off the taxpayer and violate the public trust.

    2. Corruption! While the above is going on the same unit hires outside consultants to do work that the employees are suppose to do but are too busy to do the work~ why? Because the employees are not assigned enough work in the first place or they are out of office on admin leave. The outside consultants get paid big $$$ and they are repeaters over many years. This costs you, the King County taxpayer, extra $$$ to pay for consultant work that county employees are suppose to do but are not.

    3. Believe it or not! Executive Services Division commits to long term building leases and does not occupy the permisses. Then Executive Services turns around and pays the landlord big $$$ to get out of the lease. Justification! Getting out of the lease over the long term saves the taxpayers money!
    For making these decisions the employees and the King County Council get paid high salaries to waste taxpayers money. If it was the employee’s $$$ and not the taxpayer’s money, he/she would not enter into the lease in the first place.

  24. righttowork says:

    This just completely illustrates how unions have run amok at public employers. I think Wisconsin has it right by reigning in the union influence that has led to outrageous shortfalls in state / city / local budgets. If deputy Miner was only getting time and a half, as one poster showed, his annual would only have been much lass than $227K. I am sure that there is Double Time, and other premiums attached. Because governments can’t go anywhere (like South Carolina), they are trapped into exorbinant contract economics and language that ultimately affects us taxpayers. There is a reason union participation in private sector employers is at an all time low and we should demand steps to limit both private and public sector union influence / bargaining power!

  25. There was just a message on this sight with a link to several articles in reference to officer Miner and his past history. Evidently the TNT didn’t want this information to get out. Can whoever originally posted please repost ASAP?


  26. Thanks for the repost!

  27. contraryjim says:

    How many privately employed clerks at $15.00/hr does it take to pay a government employee at $60 or $80/hr?

  28. Woo-hoo says:

    Beginning to wonder why you were educated? Perhaps education isn’t the key. Remember the KC Sheriff’s office going nose to nose with the council at layoff time on financial issues?

    Apparently they did have plenty of money.

  29. You have to realize that the public health workers probably have advanced degrees (MDs, PhDs, MPH, etc.). They could earn more in the private sector but they choose to take these rather thankless jobs for the good of the public – who are currently ripping them a new one over compensation.

  30. papasan says:

    Since nobody responded to my previous post, I’ll say it again: Where were all your complaints after 9/11?
    You complain about budgets, they get cut. Then you complain about Police protection and overtime goes up.
    You can’t burn both ends of the candle without eventually running out of wick!

  31. Reaganomics says:

    For those of you that are worried about how much the taxpayer will pay for this deputies retirement check, look into it a little further. The deputy and his department pay the vast majority of the retirement into an account held by the state. The state then pays the retirement of the deputy, with his own money. The state occassionally (like every day) robs that fund to pay for $200 credit cards to give to the “poor”, but the money for this man’s retirement is paid by him and his department…mostly by him.

  32. The medical officers are listed as making close to $100 per hour. If you divided that into the typical physician visit of 15 minutes it comes out to around $25. When is the last time you went to a doctor for a 15 minute visit and the total bill was $25? The salaries sound extremely reasonable to me. I only wish I could see them myself.

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