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Friday, May 29, 2009

Top dog at Metro: $197K (and on the outs)

Following up on our recent posts about what the top executives make at Tri-Met and Oregon Public Broadcasting, we decided to ask Metro -- Portland's unique (the polite term) regional government -- for similar information about its employees. Amy Davis, the agency's payroll chief, responded with a spreadsheet showing the many hundreds of Metro employees, their titles, and what they earned in the last 12 months. As she describes it: "The wages listed are accurate for each job title and the sum of all wages for each employee reflect the total wages paid over the last 24 pay periods representing 12 month’s compensation." Some employees are listed twice because their job titles within Metro changed in that timeframe.

The spreadsheet made it relatively easy for us to sort the workers out by pay level, but the job-title-changers had to be hunted down, and there were several of those in the top ranks.

We count 38 people at the $100,000-plus level. Six make more than $150,000; 13 make more than $125,000. At the tippy-top of the pyramid is David Woolson (right), listed as "general manager," at $197,193. This is a really interesting entry, given that according to the O, Woolson's been asked to leave his post as the general manager of the Metropolitan Exposition Recreation Commission, and the paper gives his salary as only $175,000. Hey, what's 22 grand among friends? I'm sure there's an explanation.

Anyway, next on the list is Michael Jordan, chief operating officer, at $182,663. Only around a hundred bucks behind Jordan is Richard Blandman, who held two different transportation-related posts; together, these paid him $181,629. The rest of the top 10 are as follows:

Cooper, Daniel B.Metro Attorney$163,554.54
Blosser, Jeffrey A.Executive Director - Oregon Convention Center$160,641.23
Robinson, Scott R.Deputy Chief Operating Officer & Director II$153,382.53
Desmond, James L.Director & Director II$140,969.04
Cotugno, Andrew C.Director II & Policy Advisor II$140,574.16
Taylor, Kathleen A.Deputy General Manager$133,735.25
Vecchio, Anthony J.Director & Director II$131,844.00

Whereas the average exec in the top 20 at Tri-Met is making a cool $160,135 this year, over the past year at Metro, the average employee in the top 20 made $140,170.

The whole spreadsheet for Metro is here. The sum total of all the compensation listed is $51,953,572.30. That's no zoo doo, folks.

Coming Monday: the Port of Portland.

UPDATE, 5/31, 4:30 a.m.: A couple of two-title-holders slipped past us in the original version of this post. They're nos. 7 and 8 overall:

Desmond, James L. - Director & Director II - $140,969.04
Cotugno, Andrew C. - Director II & Policy Advisor II - $140,574.16

We have revised the post to add these guys in, and to reflect their salaries.

Comments (28)

I could replace every one of them with better people and with a pay cap of 100k.

The Port of Portland will be very special.

I'm outraged, OUTRAGED! Except for the attorney salaries, of course ...:)

OK, so we are paying that much for running the Zoo, Expo Center, Conv Center and garbage - I forgot the sitting around and thinking about the future time.

QUite a deal.

Are we supposed to be outraged? To me these salaries look pretty comparable to similar size entities in the private sector.

I'm nearly certain the benefits packages are at least another 45% of salary.

That kind of compensation should be securing talented people and an impressive work product with
accountability and consequenses riding them daily.

These institutions have no such match of compensation to merit and accountability is only a notion that never triggers consequenses.
With heads such as Bragdon the status quo will be safe and secure.

So that's what happened to D. B. Cooper. I've often wondered.

Doesn't seem like a lot when compared to shop rates for getting my car repaired.

I'd love to be on a list like that. Where do I sign up?

The top dog is still at a lower hourly rate than was paid to Maria Lisa Johnson when she worked under her contract with Portland's ONI, to train young folks in the ways of diversity and leadership.

Dave c., Do you know or care about the median private sector wage? Could you console a neighbor who had sought medical authorization to return to work, while injured, and then aggravated the injury to include disabling back strain etc.? Physically demanding work for X number of years should be a prerequisite on any pencil pusher's resume. Call it character building or development of "empathy." Would you even be willing to pay me 80 bucks to do 4-5 hours of work in your own yard? You can take me up on the offer, or is the offer price outrageous?

Outrageous. I am not seeing the performance to back up these inflated salaries. How many got those spots only by virtue of being a well-connected insider or as a reward for being silent on other matters....

Ben--- Well said.

Love or hate Jack Bogdanski,
he really knows how to find the stuff!
Good work Jack!

If someone wants to make an upper-level private sector income, they should apply for a job in the private sector. One of the major attractions - on a larger scale than in the private sector - of public jobs are in the benefits.

Publicly-funded city, county, state and federal agencies should not be trying to compete with the private sector. If they need high-octane expertise, that's what contracted work is for and it's better that way since it has to be proposed and justified first.

Oh, and no offense, but is that guy competing with Donald Trump for most unfortunate hair styling? He has no excuse . . . with his supersized salary he can afford either a good barber or hair club for men.

Jack, can you post the entire list in Excel format?

what, exactly, is "no offense" supposed to mean?

Are we supposed to be outraged?

You're not "supposed to be" anything. The information is now in your hands to make of what you wish.

Jack, can you post the entire list in Excel format?

I did. Click on the last link. The file is in .xlsx format, which is how I got it from Metro.


When I try to download the sheet it downloads as a "metrosalaries5-28-09.zip" I can then rename it to .xlsx and it opens. So it appears that something on the server is changing the extension as the link is clearly setup as a .xlsx.

Firefox handles the file correctly. I don't know what IE is doing -- besides screwing up, as usual. It's not a zip file.

Metro is a redundant and useless 3rd layer of local government. We have cities & counties, what the *$&# do we need Metro for?? Give the zoo & the other crap back to the County, along with the tax revenue, then flush Metro down the crapper. How about a ballot measure to dissolve Metro - I'm all for it.

Jack -

Someone needs to explain why NUMEROUS names appear on there twice with different positions and salaries. If you add those multiple salary figures together, some of those poor folks are making much more that just a single line items would indicate. From the list, it appears that some hold multiple positions at Metro. Nice.

I would support a ballot measure to cut this waste IMMEDIATELY.

It might be pointed out that Wollson's last job was as head of the State Film Office; a job that heads a 5-6 person staff.

"Love or hate Jack Bogdanski,
he really knows how to find the stuff!"

I wish he could find the PDC check book register. The real one.

But then he would need to go into the witness protection program.

Please print the wages of all retiree that are hired back, and double dipping.

Another benefit, luxury, these many burueacrats enjoy is permananent job security and total insulation from the economy.
And while setting compensation package levels there's no value attributed to this benefit.
Instead we get the ridiculous claim that the compensation is similar to the private sector.

An enlightening experiment would be random visits to offices and work stations to be shown what was produced on that given day by that employee.

Many visits would reveal very little accomplished while the theater of a busy day is performed.

And the default excuse is, "Hey, I didn't create this job or system and it's not my job to make it all work".
With a little "I deserve this job" mixed in.

Please print the wages of all Port of Portland retiree that are hired back, and double dipping.

Mike, another tally that should be made in the double dipping realm is the number of past PDC employees and their consulting amounts after they leave PDC. Even limit it to just past employees that were making $60,000 and above at PDC. We would all be flabbergasted. I can quickly name over 10 people I know that have done this kind of double dipping.

Then there is the swinging door syndrome. I know of several PDC committees that have had five to ten staff assigned to the committee. In just over 5 years not one of the original staff members are still with the committees. If you research a little, you'll find them working for another government agency with similar job descriptions and much higher pay.

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