Transparent California receives international coverage!

The findings from Transparent California’s recent report on a BART janitor has been republished by some of the largest news organizations around the world.

The Easy Bay Times got tremendous mileage out of our work, publishing a series of stories on the topic. They added tremendous context, with none better than interviewing an area janitor who explained that there was no amount of OT he could work to earn a comparable wage.

From there, it went viral as we were cited in every print and TV media outlet in the San Francisco Bay Area, before going global.

Some of the larger outlets to cite our work included:

I did a brief interview with the local ABC affiliate that ended up airing in Chicago, Arizona and other regions as well.

The video can be viewed here.

It should be noted that the claim uncritically repeated by BART that OT is more efficient than hiring a new worker is false.

It’s incredibly easy to show that. BART paid $162,000 for 2,485 hours of OT for a position they say has an average wage of $50,000. The average benefits package for a BART janitor is $30,000. Ironically that’s what most private janitors in the San Francisco area earn, and it’s very safe to assume that their benefits package, if any, is less than $10,000.

The $50,000 wage works out to about $24 an hour.

A new BART worker would earn $50,000 for the first 2,080 hours and then $14,603 for the next 405 hours at an overtime rate of $36 an hour ($24 X 1.5).

Adding those two numbers up, with an extra $30,000 for benefits, brings the total to around $94,603. This is obviously far short of the $162,000 in overtime pay BART claims is cheaper than hiring a new worker.

You can tweak the numbers however you’d like, and we’re not getting anywhere close to $162,000.

For example, let’s assume that BART workers only work an 1,820 hour year instead of the standard 2,080.

So now the total OT hours from the original 2,485 would be 665. Let’s further assume that half of those OT get a 2x multiplier, instead of 1.5x.

1,820 * $24 = 43,680

332.5 * $36 = $11,970

332.5 * $48 = $15,960

That brings total pay to $71,610. Adding $30k of benefits gets us to $101,610. Even dropping the regular hours to only 1,420 and paying the remaining 1,065 in OT (half of which we apply a 2x multiplier to) gets us to only $108,810.

Heck, you could even hire two additional workers and still spend less than $162,000!

Splitting the hours evenly would come out to a wage of around $30,000 each. The benefits would be lower, given retirement are based on a percentage of non-OT wages, but even if we want to give the full $30k in benefits to both, we’re at only $120,000 for two new workers with full (overstated) benefits.

There is simply no way that paying $162,000 for 2,485 hours worth of janitorial work is efficient, contrary to BART’s claims.

 

 

BART janitor quadruples $57,000 salary to over $270,000 with OT, benefits

Today, Transparent California released 2015 public employee compensation data — complete with names, pay, and benefits — for over 100,000 special district workers statewide.

A San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) system service worker — a position described as performing janitorial work — appeared to work an average of 114 hours a week last year, based on the $162,050 OT payout he collected on top of his $57,945 regular salary.

This is the third year in a row Liang Zhao Zhang received overtime pay (OT) pay in excess of his regular salary.

Lang’s $271,243 in total pay and benefits last year was nearly quadruple his regular salary, with similar excess having occurred consistently over the past three years, as reflected in his combined $682,000 compensation received over that time period.

While Zhang was the only service worker to clear over $200k in 2014, the 2015 report contained four BART janitors on that list — all of who also received OT payouts in excess of their regular salaries.

The high concentration of OT in a select few employees appears to violate BART guidelines that overtime pay be “rotated equally,” according to Transparent California’s research director Robert Fellner.

“It’d be great if all janitors were paid $200k, but I seriously doubt many of BART’s riders — who must pay for this excess — are ever afforded that opportunity.”

Fellner noted that, even when excluding benefits, the average BART service worker was paid $77,777 last year, nearly triple the $28,720 earned by janitors statewide, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In total, BART spent over $470 million on employee compensation last year —10 percent more than what was spent in 2014.

“In addition to violating guidelines, it’s hard to imagine how paying amounts so far in excess of the market wage for routine jobs like custodial workers can possibly be efficient.

“BART must do a much better job of being responsible stewards of the tax dollars they already collect, before expecting voters to support their request for a property tax hike.”

Port of Oakland custodian clears over $200k

The data also reveals that most custodians at the Port of Oakland made at least $100,000 in pay and benefits last year, with Obdulia Ramos’ $203,000 pay package topping the list.

Top Bay Area earners

Washington Hospital Healthcare System CEO Nancy Farber’s $931,839 compensation package was the largest of any Bay Area special district worker.

The three highest-compensated Bay Area special district workers, excluding hospitals or healthcare systems were:

  1. San Ramon Valley fire chief Paige Meyer, who collected $510,671 in compensation — more than half of which went towards retirement and health benefits.
  2. San Ramon Valley battalion chief Daniel McNamara, who collected $485,251.
  3. East Bay Municipal Utility District GM Alexander Coate, who collected $478,077.

The San Ramon Valley Fire Protection’s $294,035 average compensation package for full-time, year-round employees was the highest of any special district surveyed statewide.

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.

BART chief transportation officer’s $410,000 unused leave payout highest statewide

Today, Transparent California released 2014 public employee compensation data — complete with names, pay, and benefits — for 44 of the Bay Area’s largest special districts, representing nearly 90 percent of all Bay Area special district workers.

The data reveals that San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) chief transportation officer Rodolfo Crespo cashed in $410,945 worth of unused sick and vacation leave at retirement — the largest such payout statewide and more than double his $171,000 salary.

Transparent California’s research director Robert Fellner noted that Crespo also received a $155,248 CalPERS pension, increasing his total 2014 income to more than $565,000.

“Being able to collect over twice your salary in unused leave before immediately collecting a six-figure pension is like getting a golden parachute for your platinum one.”

Top Bay Area earners

Washington Hospital Healthcare System CEO Nancy Farber’s $1,068,348 compensation package was the largest of any Bay Area special district worker.

The next five highest-compensated Bay Area special district workers were:

  1. Washington Hospital Healthcare System chief of medical services Albert Brooks: $532,137
  2. Washington Hospital Healthcare System senior associate administrator Kimberly Hartz: $516,807
  3. Former Central Contra Costa Sanitation District director of operations Curtis Swanson cashed in $323,000 in unused leave to boost his total compensation to: $483,722
  4. San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District fire chief Paige Meyer: $469,650
  5. Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority general manager Nuria Fernandez: $449,450

The top five Bay Area special districts with the highest average compensation packages for full-time, year-round employees were:

  1. San Ramon Valley Fire Protection: $269,435 — highest statewide
  2. Rodeo-Hercules Fire Protection: $256,684
  3. Moraga-Orinda Fire Protection: $218,508
  4. Woodside Fire Protection: $213,148
  5. Central Contra Costa Sanitary District: $207,486

To view this information for all Bay Area special districts surveyed, click here.

BART employees top OT list

The three highest overtime (OT) payouts all went to BART employees:

  1. Police officer Youn Seraypheap’s $169,060 OT payout boosted his total compensation to: $359,187
  2. Senior police officer David Greene’s $165,743 OT payout boosted his total compensation to: $344,305
  3. Senior operations foreworker Andrew Williams’s $137,617 OT payout boosted his total compensation to: $267,640

Cost of benefits soar

The top three Bay Area special districts with the most expensive benefit packages for the average full-time, year-round employee were:

  1. San Ramon Valley Fire Protection: $114,863
  2. Central Contra Costa Sanitary District: $102,343
  3. East Contra Costa Fire Protection: $92,480

“Largely shrouded from public view, the cost for government workers’ benefits has ballooned to unsustainable heights, crippling local agencies and burdening taxpayers,” Fellner warned.

Statewide

Average compensation for full-time, year-round special district workers in other regions was:

  1. Bay Area: $155,488
  2. Marin County: $150,758
  3. Los Angeles County: $117,617
  4. Orange County: $120,332
  5. Sacramento Valley: $110,301
  6. San Diego: $120,111
  7. Statewide: $122,456

To view the entire dataset in a searchable and downloadable format, visit TransparentCalifornia.com

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 than the “annual salary minimum” reported.

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.