February 16, 2009

Watch for the Top 50 List later today

It's that time of year again.
And this year we have an all-time high holding the number one spot in the annual accounting of the most highly paid municipal workers in Bristol.
Holding down the number one spot is school Superintendent Philip Streifer, who pulled in a bit more than $192,000 last year, according to the city comptroller's office.
Down at the number 50 spot, where the yearly tally cuts off, you'll find Police Capt. Daniel McIntyre, who made $114,000 and change.
In between are a whole lot of school administrators and police officers who managed to rake in overtime. A couple of others also landed on the list, including the city's public works director and comptroller.
The details later...

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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

22 comments:

chris wilson said...

Steve-I have been curious for many years as the rational for publishing this information. I know you can because it is public information but the more fundamental question is why? What purpose does it serve? Should you also publish the bottom 50 or the middle 50? Never understood unless it is a sense of voyuerism.

It almost seems to create a class conflict. Sort of a them vs us mentality. I am not sure the benefit of such jounalism but I am sure you and the other readers and posters shall enlightem me!

Steve Collins said...

I do it because it's something we always do. But I guess if you want a good reason, it would be this: taxpayers cover these salaries. Since taxpayers are their boss, they really should know how much their employees are getting so they can make an intelligent decision about whether what they're getting is worth the pay they're handing out.

Steve Collins said...

And class conflict? I don't really think so. But envy? Sure.
It doesn't escape my notice that all of these people are earning more than triple my yearly pay. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who's comparing the bottom line on my tax form to what they get.

chris wilson said...

Steve I ceratinly don't want to joust with you on this point but I disagree. If that were the case then every expense made on behalf of the taxpayers/taxowners should be highlighted. I think the media highlights these because they can! I think this is were non editorial journalism crosses the line in an attempt to create a story as oppossed to reporting the story. Absent the press publishing this list, no one would have much interest. Again my point from previous why don't you publish the bottom 50?

I think one could rationally make the argument that if our salaries were significantly different from the norm then that is a story but I suspect that is not the case. If you looked at any other city I suspect you'd find a similar salary structure. Therefore, I come back to my original assertion, what is the fundamental reason for publishing?

The end. I'll drop it from here on and listen to what others have to say on this issue.

Anonymous said...

Steve - I think that Chris is right, why not look at other Cities? If you think you are doing a service to the taxpayers, then do a story covering simular sized cities. Lets see where Bristol stacks up? If you don't think this story would be "Press" worthy, then neither is your original blog!
And just for your other bloggers info, I do not work for the City, so I am not on the list or defending it.

BOEer said...

Chris the BOE has most of those people on the list. Are you advocating for them or the taxpayers?

Steve Collins said...

Over the years, I've done a lot of stories comparing the pay for jobs in Bristol's government with similiar posts in like cities. Bristol usually pays less.
There's no real way to oompare the police pay because it's so dependent on how much overtime officers earn, much of it from private work.
So what you seem to want to is to compare school principals and administrators with other districts. I don't know if that's been done anytime in recent history in the Press because it was always someone else's job until about a year ago.
I'll think about doing that sometime if I ever get a break.

Steve Collins said...

I should add that I generally favor opening up all the data, just as a blanket policy.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen, for example, prints the salaries of every government employee there, from the postal carrier who delivers someone's mail to the mayor. Every single one of those salaries is on the paper's website.
Heck, it even lists all the divorce records in town.
One thing about publishing everything you can is that nobody can say the paper there plays favorites or has some kind of agenda. It just puts everything out and lets readers do with it what they will.

Anonymous said...

From my position as a reader, I'd say part of the newspaper's job is to tell people intesting things they wouldn't normally know or find out. This is one of them, so thanks, Steve, for doing your job.
Too bad you make less than a third of what these guys get.
I'll bet this is a popular favorite with readers every year. I know I check it out, and my friends do, too.
To Mr. Wilson, sure, this is public information, but most of us out here in the public don't know how to get it or we're busy working, for a lot less than these people make.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the Top 50 list should be published. I always read it to see where my tax money is going. The rest of the employees' salaries I don't really care to read, because less of my money is going to them.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

I think it would be relevant and more contextual if you included what the average City worker earns, what the bottom end earns and how many total employees there are. Sure, these numbers are sensational but they're out of context.

Steve Collins said...

5:51 -- As of June 30, there were 1,703 full-time equivalent city workers (which means two half-timers would add up to one).
I have no idea how much the average city worker makes, but will ponder how I could get that.
As for the lowest full-time wage the city pays anyone, I'm not sure anymore. It's probably at least in the mid to upper 20s, but most low-end people are in the 30s, I think. Anyone know better?

Anonymous said...

Lowest full time city worker is about $38,000 (not including overtime, and not including benefits, which are as good as everyone else's).

Anonymous said...

Benefits average about 50%.
This would bring the cost to close to $60,000/year

Anonymous said...

Per Chris Wilson's statement "If that were the case then every expense made on behalf of the taxpayers/taxowners should be highlighted."

Maybe every expense should be listed, personally, I want to know where my tax money is being wasted, er I mean spent.

Anonymous said...

Streifer only makes 192,000, that IS A DEAL compared to other ceos bristol shoud be very greatful.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE PAY STREIFER 292,000 YR 1,000 CAR ALLOWANCE MO, 25,000 ANUITY,15WK VACATION,1 NEW GOLD TOLIT SEAT,27,500 RUG 2,000 DESK COUNTRY CLUB MEMBERSHIP,AND A SMALL BUT FAIR BOUNES, THAT'S WHAT THE B O E MEMBERS SEE PHIL AS. FRIST TIME BLOGGER,THIS IS FUN.

Anonymous said...

Well, Steve, as a taxpayer answer me this, if it costs the City an average of $90,000.00, to hire a police officer, between, salary, benefits, training, and equipment, why has the city just hired 7-new officers. It seems to me that it would be cheaper to pay officer who are already working for the city overtime when they need them and not have all of these officers here all the time. Can you look into this and give us some kind of answer. Allot of towns and the State included do this and save allot of money, but maybe Bristol knows something they don't.

Anonymous said...

HELLO BRISTOL TAX PAYERS,my day started at D D at 6 15 a m, bought the bristol press " BIG SUPPORTER" and read the top 50 higest paid,what a bad start to a good day.192,000 correct me if i"m wrong but dr.wasta only made 156,000O O K i"m over it,but ever school administrator made over 8.5% pay raise from last year.Looking back at the top 50 paid for the last 5 yrs that's 50 to 60% increase.O K so correct me if i'm wrong again but in 5 yrs from now you mean to tell the superintendent of schools will make 278,048.01 at this rate. hold on please i have to see when next B O E metting is.HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE BRISTOL TAX PAYERS.

Anonymous said...

9;08

I'll bet that this will be the FIRST BOE meeting you have ever been too!

Anonymous said...

No, this is actually my third. It's the only time I get sound sleep.

Anonymous said...

5:04

Do you talk in your sleep?