City payroll soars after police and fire deals

Hefty contract settlements with Boston’s police and firefighters last year contributed substantially to the largest increase in the city’s payroll in modern history, records released Friday show.

In 2014, the city spent 7.5 percent more on worker salaries, climbing to a new all-time high of $1.5 billion.
The surge in spending can be attributed in large part to an arbitration award for police patrol officers that sparked controversy in the 2013 race for mayor. The ruling gave patrol officers a 25.4 percent raise over six years, provided retroactive pay, and set the benchmark for other police and fire negotiations.

In 2014, the city paid one police captain $416,000, and seven officers took home more than $300,000. Compensation for 58 other officers topped $250,000.

Nearly 600 city employees were paid more than Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who made $175,000. That included the head of the mayor’s security detail, Sergeant Winifred Cotter, who is Walsh’s cousin and was paid $202,000, including nearly $48,000 in overtime and $37,000 in back pay and buyouts.

City of Boston employee pay in 2014
The number of city employees who made more than $100,000 by department
Boston Police Department
2,017
Boston Fire Department
1,345
Boston Public Schools
1,212
Department of Innovation & Technology
44
Public Works Department
38
DATA: City of BostonGLOBE STAFF
Boston 2014 payroll database

While back pay and other one-time costs drove the increase, the large jump in payroll spending underscored a troubling trend, said Samuel R. Tyler, longtime president of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, a fiscal watchdog funded by businesses and nonprofit institutions. Salaries for public safety workers are growing much faster than the pay of other municipal workers.

“The Police Department’s and the Fire Department’s compensation is too rich for the city,” Tyler said. “It is having an effect on other departments.”

Workers in many other city departments accepted raises of 12.3 percent over six years.

Police were paid $50 million more in 2014 than the previous year, an increase of 16 percent. Compensation included retroactive payments from previous years and a reform measure that bought out some officers’ unused comp time.

The pay included overtime, construction details, back pay, a special buyout of comp time, and other payouts. The city has also spent $4.1 million more on an education incentive program known as the Quinn Bill. Amid a budget crunch, the state stopped paying its share of that program, and the city agreed to gradually pay more.

Boston employees who made more than $100,000 in 2014

THE TOP 10 MOST-PAID EMPLOYEES WERE FROM THE POLICE DEPARTMENT
Name Department Title Total Earnings Regular pay
Patrick J Crossen BPD Police Captain/DDC $415,709.53 $132,427.70
Timothy J Murray BPD Capt.D.D.C-pd Details Section $361,025.03 $133,014.78
Timothy M. Kervin BPD Police Lieutenant/Hdq Dispatch $350,510.53 $112,948.06
Jacqueline D Creaven BPD Police Lieutenant $325,943.63 $111,090.95
Haseeb Hosein BPD Police Captain/DDC $325,578.99 $117,206.34
John H Danilecki BPD Police Captain $317,181.55 $131,219.38
Matthew J Spillane BPD Police Lieutenant/Hdq Dispatch $300,065.62 $119,457.67
Mark L Assad BPD Police Sergeant (Det) $292,205.66 $101,803.00
Darrin Patrick Greeley BPD Police Lieutenant (Det) $289,436.19 $117,048.72
Paul M Ivens BPD Police Captain/DDC $286,565.15 $132,427.7
Showing 1 to 10 of 10 entries
Search the 2014 Boston payroll database

Police Commissioner William B. Evans defended the pay of officers. The department worked hard to keep overtime down, Evans said, noting that it increased less than 1 percent despite a year filled with protests and special events.

“There are unforeseen events that make us spend what we spend. We try to be as frugal as we can be,” Evans said. “The average cop out there, they get paid well, but they have a dangerous job. They earn every penny.”

The city’s top earner was Captain Patrick J. Crossen, the department’s head of special operations. He was paid nearly $416,000 in 2014. Crossen’s compensation included $132,000 in regular pay, $45,000 in back pay, $77,000 in overtime, and $120,000 from the special buyout of comp time. The balance of his compensation came from the education incentive program and other areas.

Evans said Crossen worked diligently running the bomb squad, harbor patrol, motorcycle units, and other key elements of the department. Crossen is summoned to duty for parades, protests, calls involving barricaded suspects, and all other special events.

“Him and his team are constantly called out,” Evans said. “He’s continually working almost every weekend of the year when we have special events.”

Total overtime earned by Boston departments in 2014
The top five earners of overtime in Boston
Boston Fire Department
$929,908.58
Boston Public Schools
$873,090.64
Public Works Department
$683,470.75
Boston Police Department
$430,838.26
Parks Department
$90,310.25
DATA: City of BostonGLOBE STAFF
Reached Friday evening, Crossen declined to comment about his pay.

The Fire Department spent nearly $32 million more last year than the year before on salaries, an increase of almost 18 percent. Five firefighters were paid more than $250,000, records show. Fire Department back pay totaled nearly $20 million.

Boston’s chief financial officer, David Sweeney, said the city’s $1.5 billion payroll represents an increase of $103.5 million over the previous year.

The 2014 payroll included “several one-time factors that drove up cost, including the settlement of several public safety contracts that led to significant retroactive and compensatory payouts last year,” Sweeney said in a statement.

The payroll records showed that 22,233 workers received pay from the city, which included full- and part-time employees and temporary workers. The payroll included 15 grave diggers (average base pay: $30,000), 28 children’s librarians (average base pay: $53,000), and more than 5,400 teachers (average pay: $75,000).

The payroll spiked in several departments, including Neighborhood Services and the mayor’s office. The increases can be attributed to retirements, city officials said, and a change in administration. Longtime employees of former mayor Thomas M. Menino were entitled to vacation and sick-time buyouts.

The most paid Boston city departments

How much money overall each department has made since 2011.

BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLSBOSTON POLICE DEPARTMENTBOSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT
2011
2012
2013
2014
0
100,000,000
200,000,000
300,000,000
400,000,000
500,000,000
600,000,000
700,000,000
800,000,000
2014
BOSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT
$209,723,253
DATA: City of BostonGLOBE STAFF
Andrew Ryan can be reached at andrew.ryan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeandrewryan.

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