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Tag: public employee pay


How much do teachers make in Tacoma? How does it compare?


That was the average total pay for a Tacoma teacher last year, according to state numbers. Among the state’s largest districts, that ranks Tacoma teachers fifth. Whether those teachers get a pay raise is among the issues as the Tacoma Education Association and the district continue to bargain and head off a strike.

Here is how districts compared for the 2010-11 school year, according to preliminary school district personnel summary reports from the state school superintendent’s office.

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Who are highest paid employees in Puyallup and Lakewood?

The latest 2010 updates in our SoundInfo searchable public employee pay databases are two mid-sized cities: Lakewood and Puyallup.

(Search data for Lakewood here.)
(Search data for Puyallup here.)

Some observations from a quick sort and averaging of the numbers.

In Lakewood:

• City Manager Andrew Neiditz was the top-paid employee at $164,491, followed by court security police Sgt. John Fraser at $160,178 and community police Sgt. Mark Eakes at $128,088.

• Sixteen out of the top 25 paid employees were in the police department, mostly officers and sergeants making over their base rate of pay. Six-figure pay for rank-and-file officers isn’t uncommon – we’re finding that local cities and counties routinely rely on overtime in their public safety operations.

• Forty-one out of 300-some employees in the database made $100,000 or more. (Thirty-one of those were in the police department.)

• City Council members were paid $8,400, while Mayor Doug Richardson received $10,800

• Average salaries for other job titles: police officer – all types ($88,215), office assistant ($30,252), human resources analyst ($65,253), maintenance worker II ($53,691), code enforcement officer ($56,333), senior planner ($75,934).

In Puyallup:

• The top paid employee was police patrol Sgt. Robert Thompson at $150,781, followed by City Manager Ralph Dannenberg at $150,153

• City Council members made $13,700 while Deputy Mayor Tamara Brouillet made $14,400 and Mayor Kathy Turner made $15,600.

• Pay for some other job titles: corrections officer ($64,526), court clerk ($48,328), fleet services mechanic 2 ($61,840), librarian 1 ($44,780), parks maintenance worker 2 ($52,958), police patrol officer ($95,398).

• Forty-two out of 300 some employees made $100,000 or more last year.

To see a list of the top paid employees for each city, read on.
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Top earners in King County government? No. 2 might surprise you

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.
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How much do Port of Seattle/Port of Tacoma employees make?

Continuing our annual updates of our SoundInfo public employee pay databases, I’ve now posted 2010 numbers for the ports of Seattle and Tacoma. Below are some interesting facts from the respective agencies.

Port of Seattle:

• The top paid employee was port CEO Tay Yoshitani, who earned $319,300, followed by Oshu Go, senior manager of Asian business development, at $249,949 and Mark Reis, Sea-Tac airport director, at $223,551.

• The top paid employees were mostly high-salaried managers, but several Port police officers and sergeants took in over $150,000, apparently from overtime. Of the 1,600 some employees listed, 402 had six figure gross pay.

• Average pay for common positions: Police officer ($111,469), wireman ($111,469), firefighter A ($105,896) and senior access controller ($51,878).

Port of Tacoma:

• The top paid employee at the port last year didn’t work there: Tim Farrell, who left the port at the end of 2009, but received a hefty buyout package. John Wolfe, who succeeded Farrell mid-year after serving as interim, earned about the same – $218,770.

• Elected port commissioners each made $6,000 in base pay, but were paid around three times that amount (from $16,046 to $20,407), thanks to a per-diem allowed under state law.

• Pay for some of the more common job titles included journey level maintenance workers ($86,762), regular security workers ($95,645) and technician I ($55,508).

The port is in the process of a compensation overhaul as the TNT’s John Gillie reported earlier this year.

Below are tables showing the highest paid employees in either organization:

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Who were the top paid workers at Pierce Transit last year?

I’ve just posted updated public employee salary information for Pierce Transit, covering 2010. Click here to see the database. (Other recently updated databases include state school employees, City of Tacoma employees and Pierce County employees.)

A few items of interest from the database:

• The top paid employee at Pierce Transit was CEO Lynne Griffith at $174,496 – down from $205,853 in 2009. She was followed by vice presidents Wayne Fanshier and Alberto Lara, who pulled in $160,766 and $158,366 respectively.

• There were 25 employees – all managers – out of 1,100 total making six figures.

• The most common job description, transit operator (488 employees), made an average of $57,320. But several drivers made more than $80,000 and one made $96,798 with overtime (drivers top out at $27 an hour).

Earlier this year, the TNT’s Kris Sherman analyzed Pierce Transit’s pay and benefits trends in this report.

Read on for a list of the top paid Pierce Transit employees.
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Who were the highest paid City of Tacoma employees in 2010?

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:
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Who were the top paid Pierce County employees last year?

We’re working through our annual update of SoundInfo public employee pay databases. You’ll now find an updated database of Pierce County employee pay for 2010 here.

The whole idea of SoundInfo is to allow users to explore public information themselves, but here are a few interesting findings based on a quick analysis:

• The top paid employee once again was Dr. Miguel Balderrama, medical director at the Pierce County Jail ($184,406). County executive Pat McCarthy was second ($173,579).

• Other elected officials among the top 25 best paid employees were Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist ($148,425), eight district court judges (all paid $141,322) and Sheriff Paul Pastor ($140,334). Further down the list were Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam ($123,210), County Auditor Julie Anderson ($122,556) and County Council members ($111,689). (Superior court judges’ salaries are split between the state and the county).

• Dominating the top 25 were top administrators and sheriff’s and corrections managers. Three corrections lieutenants cracked the top 25 by earning more than $30,000 in overtime each.

• It appears fewer employees were in the “six-figure club” last year – 339 earned more than $100,000 – compared to 371 in 2009. (See Dave Wickert’s story from last year). The median pay for full-time employees ($64,937) for 2010 was also down from $69,398 in 2009. (One possible factor is that an extra pay period in 2009 boosted employee pay. Also, while employees received raises, those were offset by budget-saving furloughs in many cases.) Kris Sherman’s story late last year looked at county pay hikes in recent years.

Below is a table of the top 25 earners in the county last year. In coming days, we’ll look at other large public agencies, including the City of Tacoma, port, park and transit agencies.

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What do teachers make in Washington state?


Just to get that out of the way, that’s the average statewide total annual pay for a full-time teacher, according to an analysis the 2010-11 statewide personnel database. But individual teacher pay can vary considerably, depending on a teacher’s experience and education and also his or her district’s contract. While base pay for teachers and other certificated employees is nearly identical, teachers typically get extra pay for extra assignments and individual bargaining units may have negotiated for what’s known in some districts as “TRI” (time, responsibility and incentive) pay. The bottom line is an average teacher in Federal Way, for instance, ends up making $17,000 or so less than an average teacher in Everett.

SoundInfo’s school employee database, which we just updated for 2010-11, lets users explore such numbers for themselves. We’ve taken the information from the state’s annual personnel database and put it into searchable, sortable and human readable form. Over the years, it’s been our most used database, and is part of our commitment to making public information public. In addition to pay and benefits, the database also shows the education and experience of teachers and whether they have national board certification. It also flags whether they’ve had a disciplinary action recorded by the state.

The chart below shows a summary of district pay for full time teachers. It includes the top 10 districts for average total pay, along with South Sound districts. See our new average education pay database to see how districts compare in how they pay superintendents, principals and teachers.

NOTE: According to OSPI, total salary “reflects the final current school year payroll for each employee…including those from employee base and supplemental contract assignments, sick leave buy back, and vacation buy out.” It does not include insurance and other benefits.

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