Today, Transparent California released 2015 public employee compensation data — complete with names, pay, and benefits — for over 100,000 special districts workers statewide.
The data reveals that Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) Electric Distribution Mechanic Supervisor Joseph Strafford’s $216,741 overtime payout — which boosted his total earnings to $394,549 — was the highest of any special district worker surveyed. This is the 2nd year in a row Stafford has held this distinction, with a $225,000 OT payout topping the 2014 special district list last year.
The next three highest OT payouts amongst special district workers all went to DWP employees:
- Steam plant operator Jorge Castillo’s $201,175 OT payout helped boost his $76,000 salary to $293,530.
- Steam plant operator Rudy Rivera’s $183,077 OT payout helped boost his $75,000 salary to $276,374.
- Steam plant operator Steven Pike’s $176,432 OT payout helped boost his $72,000 salary to $269,796.
In total, the DWP spent $174 million in overtime in 2015 — a nearly 15 percent increase from the previous year.
Transparent California research director Robert Fellner noted that the DWP has a history of overtime abuse, such as a contract provision that pays employees for work performed by outside contractors.
“The DWP serves as a powerful reminder of the folly in blindly assuming that every penny in OT spending is justified.
“Last year’s $174 million in OT spending was nearly double the 2006 amount, which was when the ‘DWP overtime scam’ was first reported. With provisions that demand DWP workers get paid for the work other people do, at ratepayer expense, it’s no wonder so many are frustrated with the power of political unions in California.”
Fellner also noted that, even excluding OT pay, the average DWP employee already makes more than twice what their private-sector counterpart does.
The DWP did not provide benefits data on an individual employee level and, as such, are unrepresented amongst the top special districts with the highest average employee compensation packages.
LA Metro chief collects over half a million
LA Metro chief Richard Thorpe’s $514,980 compensation package was the highest of any special district worker in Los Angeles County.
The next four highest-compensated Los Angeles County special district workers were:
- Metropolitan Water District of Southern California general manager Jeffrey Kightlinger: $501,932
- Southern California Association of Governments executive director Hasan Ikhrata: $501,932
- Los Angeles County Sanitation District GM Grace Hyde: $431,447
- DWP electrical service manager Michael Mundo earned $424,866 just in wages, which excludes benefits.
The three Los Angeles County special districts with the highest average compensation packages for full-time, year-round employees were:
- Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD): $176,212
- West Basin Municipal Water District: $158,781
- Metropolitan Water District of Southern California: $157,817
Compensation is defined as total wages plus the employer cost of retirement and health benefits. Full-time, year-round employees are defined as those receiving a salary equal or greater to 90 percent of the “annual salary minimum” reported.
To explore the data further, please visit TransparentCalifornia.com
To schedule an interview with Transparent California, please contact Robert Fellner at 559-462-0122 or Robert@TransparentCalifornia.com.
Transparent California is California’s largest and most comprehensive database of public sector compensation and is a project of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a nonpartisan, free-market think tank. Learn more at TransparentCalifornia.com.