140-hour average workweek boosts Orange County firefighter’s compensation to more than $1 million over the past two years

For the fifth year in a row, Fire Captain Gregory Bradshaw has topped the overtime pay list at the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA), thanks to a $267,618 overtime payment which boosted his total compensation to $534,079 last year.

Bradshaw’s large overtime pay reflects a staggering 7,270 hours worked — 4,358 of which were overtime, according to the agency.

Remarkably, this is Bradshaw’s 2nd year in a row logging over 7,000 hours of paid work, as he worked a similar schedule in 2016 when he collected $508,495 in pay and benefits.

Overtime pay at the agency has been an issue since at least 2014, when one OCFA board member expressed frustration over “an accounting gimmick used to generate significant overtime costs,” according to an Orange County Register report.

Overtime pay can end up costing the agency twice, as certain forms can be used to inflate an employee’s future pension. These soaring costs are then passed on to OCFA’s member cities, not all of whom can afford such excess.

Recently, the member cities of Irvine and Placentia have begun the process of withdrawing from OCFA, according to a Voice of OC report. If the agency is unable to get its costs under control, other cities may soon follow suit.

Reforms undone

In an attempt to reduce some of the most wasteful and unnecessary factors behind such large overtime payouts, OCFA in 2015 ended the practice of treating paid leave as hours worked for the purposes of calculating overtime. But that cost-saving measure was immediately undone the following year, when the union succeeded in getting the perk reinstated.

Treating vacation days as hours worked is an essentially fraudulent practice, according to Transparent California Executive Director Robert Fellner.

“Overtime pay is for those who work more hours than scheduled. Paying overtime to those who work the normal schedule or even fewer hours, while pretending their vacation days count as actual work, is yet another example of how government unions use their undue influence to force taxpayers to pay for perks they themselves will never get.”

The only lasting reform from that period was a much-touted overtime cap, which was implemented effective April 1, 2015 to “limit the number of overtime hours employees may work per year.”

But the policy, which ostensibly claims to limit the number of overtime hours worked to no more than 1,632 in a single year, is riddled with so many exemptions and loopholes that it has had no effect whatsoever.

In fact, overtime pay has actually soared since the cap took effect, as shown in the chart below:

Year Bradshaw’s OT Hours Total OT Pay # of $100K+ OT Payments OT Cap
2014 2,979 $39,105,580 7
2015 2,924 $39,423,301 15 1-Apr-15
2016 4,096 $46,610,219 44
2017 4,359 $55,664,348 83
% Increase since 2014 46% 42% 1086%

In addition to the explosion in OT hours and earnings for Captain Bradshaw, agency-wide overtime pay increased 42 percent since the cap took effect, and hit an all-time high of $55.6 million last year.

Similarly, the number of OCFA employees who received overtime payments of $100,000 or more is up 1,086 percent since 2014.

An easy way to save $5 million?

Firefighting will always require some degree of overtime, but it is unclear why OCFA assigns so many overtime hours to fire captains, particularly given their job description indicates their duties are primarily administrative and supervisory in nature.

Because of their much higher salaries, overtime hours assigned to fire captains cost 37 percent more than an hour of overtime pay paid to a regular firefighter. In aggregate, if all the overtime hours assigned to fire captains last year were performed by regular firefighters, the agency would have saved nearly $5 million.

Bradshaw not that much of an outlier

While the more than $500,000 in pay and benefits received by Bradshaw in each of the past two years was the most of any OCFA employee, his peers weren’t all that far behind. The chart below displays the average pay and benefits received by full-time, year-round OCFA employees last year:

Classification Average FT Pay + Benefits
Fire Battalion Chief $369,646
Fire Captain $313,529
Fire Apparatus Engineer $260,683
All OCFA Staff $237,876
Firefighter $225,060

Transparent California will be continually updating the site with new, 2017 data from the remaining special districts in the coming weeks. Be sure to follow our blog and Twitter accounts, or sign up for our mailing list, in order to receive the latest updates.

For more information, please contact Transparent California Executive Director 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. The website is used by millions of Californians each year, including elected officials and lawmakers, government employees and their unions, government agencies themselves, university researchers, the media, and concerned citizens alike. Learn more at TransparentCalifornia.com.

New CalSTRS data: Orange County’s ‘$100K club’ up 97% over past five years

The number of retired Orange County educators collecting pensions of $100,000 or more from the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) has nearly doubled since 2012, according to just-released pension payout data from TransparentCalifornia.com.

Last year, 1,989 CalSTRS members who retired from agencies in Orange County collected pensions of $100,000 or more — a 97 percent increase from 2012.

Remarkably, the three largest CalSTRS pensions statewide all went to Orange County retirees:

  1. William Habermehl, Orange County Office of Education: $369,831.
  2. Richard Bray, Tustin Unified School District: $326,882.
  3. Edward Hernandez, Rancho Santiago Community College District: $324,287.

Statewide, 13,527 CalSTRS retirees collected pensions of at least $100,000 last year, which marks an 87 percent increase from 2012, according to the data.

The below chart displays the Orange County school districts with the most $100,000 or greater CalSTRS pensions, as well as the percentage increase that has occurred since 2012:

School District

# of $100K+ CalSTRS Pensions

% Increase from 2012

Garden Grove Unified School District

178

114%

Saddleback Valley Unified School District

141

127%

Santa Ana Unified School District

136

139%

Coast Community College District

129

70%

Capistrano Unified School District

103

129%

To view the entire CalSTRS dataset in a searchable and downloadable format, please click here.

Transparent California will be continually updating the site with new, 2017 data from the remaining pension funds in the coming weeks. Be sure to follow our blog and Twitter accounts, or sign up for our mailing list, in order to receive the latest updates.

For more information, 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. The website is used by millions of Californians each year, including elected officials and lawmakers, government employees and their unions, government agencies themselves, university researchers, the media, and concerned citizens alike. Learn more at TransparentCalifornia.com.

 

Soaring overtime pay boosted Orange County fire captain’s $116,846 salary to over $500,000 last year, despite recently implemented cap

A $245,350 overtime payout — the 13th largest of the more than 1.3 million public workers surveyed statewide — boosted Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) captain Gregory Bradshaw’s total compensation to $508,495 last year, an amount more than four times greater than his $116,846 salary.

While Bradshaw was OCFA’s top earner, his fellow fire captains weren’t too far behind, with the average fire captain having received $301,791 in pay and benefits last year — according to an analysis of freshly released 2016 salary data published on TransparentCalifornia.com.

In 2014, an OCFA board member expressed frustration over “an accounting gimmick used to generate significant overtime costs,” according to an Orange County Register report.

While the Board’s concerns led to the implementation of an overtime cap effective April 1, 2015, overtime pay continued to rise nonetheless — with last year’s $47 million expenditure representing a more than 18 percent increase from the previous year.

The continued growth in overtime pay was also evident on an individual employee basis: The 44 OCFA employees who received overtime pay in excess of $100,000 last year represent a nearly threefold increase from the previous year, when there were only 15 employees who earned that much.

Transparent California’s research director Robert Fellner noted an alarming trend where a handful of employees who had received overtime in excess of their regular salary in the preceding years actually increased their overtime pay in 2016, after the cap was in place.

“Several employees who were already more than doubling their salary from overtime pay actually saw an increase after the cap took effect — which suggests that cap might need to be tightened a bit.”

To explore the full OCFA dataset as well as historical data dating back to 2011, please click here.

Orange County cities

Transparent California — the state’s largest and most accurate public pay database — recently added 2016 pay data for 411 California cities and 49 counties.

In Orange County, every city but Placentia — which has not replied to a public records request for this information — is now on the Transparent California website.

“It is disheartening that Placentia has not yet responded to our records request, but we very much appreciate the professionalism of all the other Orange County governments who facilitated our request in a prompt manner.”

Overtime pay up 19% at Anaheim

The City of Anaheim was home to the 5 largest overtime payouts of any Orange County city surveyed:

  1. Fire Engineer III Brian Pollema’s $204,458 OT pay boosted his total compensation to $403,528.
  2. Fire Fighter III Daniel Lambert’s $186,228 OT pay boosted his total compensation to $357,184.
  3. Fire Engineer III David Shimogawa’s $163,325 OT pay boosted his total compensation to $338,937.
  4. Fire Captain Mark Dunn’s $157,673 OT pay boosted his total compensation to $372,496.
  5. Senior Electrical Utility Inspector Kenneth Heffernan’s $155,356 OT pay boosted his total compensation to $300,917.

A survey of 148 cities with at least $1 million in overtime pay revealed an average year over year overtime pay increase of 5 percent last year.

Anaheim’s 19 percent increase in overtime pay was the most of any Orange County city and the 13th largest statewide.

The next four cities with the largest overtime pay increases in Orange County were:

  1. Buena Park: 18.5 percent, 14th largest statewide.
  2. Irvine: 17 percent, 17th largest statewide.
  3. Costa Mesa: 17 percent, 21st largest statewide.
  4. Fullerton: 14 percent, 30th largest statewide.

Orange County pay data

In 2015, the only Orange County worker to make over $400,000 in pay and benefits was Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, who received total compensation of $400,214.

The 2016 county payroll data reveals 11 workers making over $400,000 — with two county psychiatrists topping $500,000 apiece.

Total compensation at the county experienced a much milder increase, however, rising only 3 percent to just under $2 billion last year.

To view the complete datasets in a searchable and downloadable format, please visit www.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.

 

 

CalPERS $100k club up 11% in Orange County as Newport Beach experiences state’s largest rate hike

Today, TransparentCalifornia.com released previously-unseen 2015 pension payout data from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS).

The over 625,000 records — obtained via a public records request — reveal that 1,495 Orange County retirees collected an annualized benefit worth at least $100,000, an 11% increase from last year’s report.

The Orange County cities with at least 20 full-career retirees that had the highest average full-career pensions for safety officers were:

  1. Costa Mesa: $122,870, which was the 12th highest statewide
  2. Irvine: $119,281, which was the 17th highest statewide
  3. Newport Beach: $116,326, which was the 23rd highest statewide

Soaring retirement costs

At 60.3 percent of pay, Newport Beach’s retirement costs for safety officers was the 2nd highest statewide — representing a 29 percent year over year increase, the largest statewide. The cost for Newport Beach’s non-safety employees increased 31 percent, also a statewide-high.

Costa Mesa followed closely behind with a 59.7 percent rate for fire officers and 55.6 percent for police officers, the 4th and 6th highest rates. Santa Ana’s 54.4 percent rate for safety officers was the 7th highest of any California city enrolled in CalPERS.

The top 3 payouts to Orange County CalPERS retirees went to:

  1. David N Ream, former Santa Ana city manager: $263,202
  2. James Ruth, former Anaheim city manager: $249,851
  3. Timothy Riley, former Newport Beach fire chief: $244,904

Ream’s benefit was the 17th largest regular benefit of any CalPERS member, excluding those with one-time only settlement amounts. When compared only to other retirees from California cities, Ream, Ruths and Riley’s payouts were 8th, 12th and 15th highest statewide.

Orange County Employees’ Retirement System (OCERS)

TransparentCalifornia.com also recently posted 2015 OCERS payout data.

The top 3 OCERS payouts went to:

  1. Gary Streed, Sanitation District: $263,545
  2. Lynn Hartline, Department of Education: $260,427
  3. Michael Schumacher, Orange County: $259,204

As taxpayer costs continue to climb it is more important than ever that the public has complete, accurate information as to how their money is being spent, according to Transparent California’s research director Robert Fellner.

“Defined benefit plans like CalPERS are inherently opaque, which limits the public’s ability to accurately assess its generosity and cost. Transparent California provides complete information so that taxpayers can have a better sense of how their money is being spent.”

A full-career is defined as at least 30 years of service.

To view the entire dataset in a searchable and downloadable format, 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 the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a nonpartisan, free-market think tank. Learn more at TransparentCalifornia.com.

Santa Ana City Manager’s $453,000 pay package tops OC salary list

Today, Transparent California released previously-unseen 2015 public employee compensation data — complete with names, pay, and benefits — for 379 cities and 42 counties statewide on TransparentCalifornia.com, the state’s largest public sector compensation database.

A survey of 32 Orange County cities, accounting for 98 percent of the region’s population, revealed that the average full-time city worker received $144,817 in total compensation last year.

Santa Ana city manager David Cavazos’ $453,092 compensation package was the highest of any city worker in Orange County and the 5th highest of any city manager statewide, according to the data.

The three Orange County cities with the highest average compensation package for full-time, year round employees were:

  1. Costa Mesa: $165,388
  2. Newport Beach: $165,025
  3. Huntington Beach: $162,713

The three highest compensated city employees in Orange County were:

  1. Santa Ana city manager David Cavazos: $453,092.
  2. Newport Beach police chief Jay Johnson: $443,026.
  3. Newport Beach fire chief Scott Poster: $408,662.

Total compensation can more than triple base salary

In the public sector, salary often represents only a fraction of an employee’s total compensation package, according to Transparent California’s research director Robert Fellner.

“While taxpayers may assume salary represents nearly all of an employee’s compensation package, some public employees collect compensation packages worth more than triple their base salary.”

As an example, Fellner pointed to three police officers at the cities of Huntington Beach,Newport Beach and Santa Ana, all of whom collected compensation packages worth more than triple their salaries, as shown in the chart below:

Breakdown of compensation received by 3 police officers in Orange County cities, 2015

Top overtime (OT) earners

The top 5 OT payouts to city workers in Orange County went to:

  1. Anaheim firefighter Daniel Lambert, whose $156,693 OT payout was 53% more than his $102,065 salary.
  2. Anaheim fire engineer III Brian Pollema, whose $156,191 OT payout was 38% more than his $113,218 salary.
  3. Huntington Beach fire captain Gary Finney, whose $154,491 OT payout was 30% more than his $118,477 salary.
  4. Huntington Beach police officer Tai Huynh, whose $147,744 OT payout was 58% more than his $93,267 salary.
  5. Anaheim senior electrical utility inspector Kenneth Heffernan, whose $150,790 OT payout was 58% more than his $89,092 salary.

Fellner noted that all of the top OT earners in Orange County had received outsized OT payments for at least the past three years, as shown in the chart below:

Fellner considers such a large and continuous concentration of overtime pay within a select few employees as dangerous, particularly for police and fire workers.

“These overtime payments indicate an average work week of nearly 80 hours, for years on end. This is a recipe for disaster given the life-or-death situations police and fire officers routinely encounter.”

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

Average Orange County Fire Authority employee received $213,000 in total compensation

Today, Transparent California released 2014 public employee compensation data — complete with names, pay, and benefits — for 20 of Orange County’s largest special districts, representing over 95 percent of all Orange County special district workers.

The average full-time, year-round Orange County special district worker received $143,582 in total compensation.

The three Orange County special districts with the highest average compensation package for full-time, year-round employees were:

  1. Orange County Fire Authority: $213,261
  2. Orange County Sanitation District: $159,050
  3. Mesa Water District: $142,758

Click here to view this information for all 20 Orange County special districts surveyed.

The three highest-compensated Orange County special district workers were:

  1. Orange County Transportation Authority CEO Darrell Johnson: $447,361
  2. Foothill Transit Zone executive director Doran Barnes: $438,253
  3. Former Orange County Fire Authority division chief Jon Jones: $407,051

Overtime up 25 percent at the Orange County Fire Authority

Overtime expenses at the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) increased 25 percent from $31.2 million in 2013 to $39.2 million in 2014.

OCFA employees had the largest overtime and other pay amounts of any Orange County special district.

The top 3 overtime payouts to Orange County special district workers went to:

  1. OCFA fire captain Gregory Bradshaw: $165,063
  2. OCFA fire apparatus engineer Mark Rodriguez: $125,840
  3. OCFA fire captain Timothy O’Hare: $120,674

The top 3 “other pay” amounts — pay received in addition to regular salary or overtime — for Orange County special district workers went to:

  1. Former OCFA assistant chief Laura Blaul: $203,061
  2. Cashing in unused leave boosted former OCFA division chief Jon Jones’ other pay to: $136,517.
  3. Cashing in unused leave boosted former OCFA division chief Michael Moore’s other pay to: $91,639

Reporting full compensation reveals a growing burden to taxpayers, even absent any overt action to increase government pay, according to Transparent California’s research director Robert Fellner.

“A dangerously underfunded pension fund alongside gold-plated health insurance plans translates to ever-increasing public employee compensation, at taxpayer expense.”

Compensation is defined as total wages plus the employer cost of retirement and health benefits. Full-time employees are defined as those receiving a salary equal or greater to the “annual salary minimum” reported.

With the addition of Orange County’s special district data, Transparent California now has 2014 compensation data from 489 special districts statewide, with additional special district data to be posted in the coming weeks.

To view the entire dataset in a searchable and downloadable format, 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 the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a nonpartisan, free-market think tank. Learn more at TransparentCalifornia.com.

Median Earnings for Residents and City Staff of Orange County Cities, 2014

City Name

Median Earnings for Residents Median Earnings for City Staff City Earnings as % of Resident Earnings

Santa Ana

$28,626 $90,313

315%

Anaheim $40,058 $99,898 249%
Westminster $41,408 $101,702 246%
Garden Grove $38,635 $87,781 227%
Costa Mesa $49,268 $103,029 209%
Stanton $34,891 $69,272 199%
Fountain Valley $53,972 $104,002 193%
Tustin $46,122 $86,141 187%
Buena Park $45,465 $84,797 187%
San Juan Capistrano $46,304 $79,753 172%
La Habra $41,811 $69,891 167%
Laguna Hills $61,417 $98,811 161%
Fullerton $48,591 $77,855 160%
Brea $57,441 $91,551 159%
La Palma $61,014 $92,485 152%
Los Alamitos $60,563 $83,678 138%
Seal Beach $73,682 $97,637 133%
Lake Forest $61,224 $81,052 132%
Cypress $61,137 $80,481 132%
Newport Beach $86,927 $109,366 126%
Dana Point $65,290 $77,546 119%
Aliso Viejo $74,367 $87,790 118%
Laguna Woods $55,806 $62,598 112%
Laguna Niguel $77,616 $86,409 111%
Irvine $77,046 $85,099 110%
Mission Viejo $69,685 $76,201 19%
San Clemente $73,830 $76,421 14%
Rancho Santa Margarita $71,344 $71,770

11%

Los Angeles County cities are  here.

For more, visit www.TransparentCalifornia.com.