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Saturday, November 4, 2006


The O's crack City Hall team has done us all a great service by posting on its blog the entire City of Portland payroll as an Excel file, here. (As of Monday 11-6-06, I was getting an access-denied message for this one at OregonLive, but I had previously copied it, and it's now on my server.) You can find all sorts of interesting stuff in there, particularly if you know how to play with Excel. Hmmmm, Frank Dufay's salary... Christopher Humphreys's. That Robin Grimwade guy over at Parks is pulling down almost $100K. Zari Santner, the Parks queen -- pushing $127K, more than a police commander...

Whoa, look at that fat-butted PDC staff. What do all these people do? And quite a few over the $100K mark. For what?

Hey, wait a minute! What? City Commissioner "Charles R. Leonard"? I had no idea.

(Earnings figures not including graft, where applicable.)

UPDATE, 11/5, 6:45 p.m.: The following clarification came in today from David Shaff, who I believe is the city's Water Bureau administrator:

If you are interested in clarifying the data for your readers, the spreadsheet reflects Calendar Year 2005 earnings.

If you earned anything at all, or were listed as being on the payroll of the City at any time during the calendar year, even if you didn’t earn anything, your name shows up. I saw the question about Sam Adams versus the others and was perplexed myself. Since the Commissioners each earn a flat rate salary, they should all be the same.

The spreadsheet is something the Bureau of Human Resources prepares every year in January or February (typically) at the request of WW or The O. This began about ten years ago when the WW decided to write a story and requested the earnings of the top 100 earners in the City. For the last five years or so, it has been the Oregonian that makes the request and they ask for a spreadsheet of all employees who were on the payroll in the previous year, sorted from highest to lowest.

The twist this year is that Ryan was able to post the entire document instead of just writing a story about it. I understand Ryan has had this for months - it’s not clear why it took him so long to get around to this, since 2006 is almost over.

The results are pretty typical. Not including bureau directors, the top 100 is populated mostly by Police and Fire personnel who worked a lot of overtime; and retirees who got vacation and comp time payoffs when they retired.

Later he added: "I used to be the City’s Employee Relations Manager and was the person who used to put the spreadsheet together whenever the O or WW asked for it every year. I stopped doing it when I left HR in 2003."

Comments (32)

I'll post this over there, too, but let me put in my vote for someone in the local media to post the salaries at Multnomah County... Please, oh please, oh please...

Wow. I'm glad I'm not a public employee. I like having a little bit of privacy.

There were only four hundred and fifteen (415) who made more than Charles R Leonard and his fellow commissioners in 2005. 258 of which from fire or police. Not bad.

Average a tad above 100k. And that's before benefits I presume.

The second best paid guy is a lowly cop pulling in a measly 146,505, almost twice that of Leonard? Man, even John Minnis wasn't that good in his PPB days and that saying a lot. What does he do?

Named after my grandfather (Charles Edward), father (Charles Elmer..thank God I didn't get that second half) and we named my first son Charles "Ryan".

If I get a phone call asking for Charles it is either a salesman or a friend from waaaay back.

Adams, Samuel F $84,437
Leonard, Charles R $89,612
Saltzman, Dan R $89,612
Sten, Erik K $89,612

Why is Sam listed as making $5k less than the others?

Why do we have around 140 planners at about $8 Million total payroll?

Could Portland be overplanned?


Also, I am more than a little offended that you would draw a comparison between me and Prince Charles.

It's like when people call here asking for me by my true name, John. I know it's not going to be something good. If "Johnny" comes out, I say, "He's deceased."

This is quite out of date. For example, I'm listed on there and I haven't worked for the city for sometime now. Also, many PDC staff listed have been gone for close to two years. (i.e Chip Lazenby).

Regardless, thank you Ryan Frank for making this public. It's already public information by the way.

As for PDC, well, they have actually added MORE higher paying jobs in the past year, that are not on here.

Wow, Randy dodged a bullet there. Imagine all of the Elmer Fudd jobs Jack would have done in Photoshop.

He might not have dodged anything. If Erik can be Opie, then Randy can be Elmer.

Elmer is my Dad's name and he is deceased.

Thank you for your consideration.

Man, the average pay for everyone over $20K per year is $61,000 and that doesn't include gold-plated benefits like full-ride med insurance and PERS.

Now I see why these guys have a death grip on these jobs. You never get fired (unless you piss off the union) and can cruise until you retire and still double-dip like Potter and Mr Leonard.

Throw in medical and retirement benfits - roughly 40% for public safety employees, something less for civilians - our public servants in Portland are pulling down some serious dough. Are we getting our money's worth, Portland?

Steve, what kind of crazy math is that?

Y'know, the average pay for everyone over $120K per year is $130,881 and that doesn't include gold-plated benefits like full-ride med insurance and PERS.

Folks who go by their middle names (I'm one) have a treat in store for them if they haven't dealt with Homeland Security in the last couple of years. HS requires me to use my -- otherwise unused -- first name on international plane tickets and on my passport. (So I've had to change it on airline mileage programs too, since the name on the ticket has to match the account name for mileage credit.) It's a bureaucratic mess.

Too bad, Herkimer.

Apart from the connotations associated with Elmer Fudd and Elsie the Borden Cow's husband, Elmer is kind of a nice sounding name, imo.

Sorry, I apologize for going there.
By the way, I was coming back from the coast last week listening to Soul Activated and I have to give you props: You're right about Curtis Salgado as well.

The coolest thing about the Oregonian's post is that it's an Excel file...so you can download it and play with it --and sort it-- different ways.

I's personally amazed at some city colleagues I think are underpaid...while some clearly are overpaid. (Not that I'm naming names...)

I've heard people feel this is a violation of people's privacy...I'm sympathetic, but you're on the public payroll, you need to be public about it. However, I DO think fair's fair. Why not have EVERY person's salary a matter of public scrutiny?

Thank you, Bill.

"what kind of crazy math is that"

I assumed everyone under $20K was part-time. The point being to illustrate that the average full-time CoP employee makes double what the average guy paying his salary (the full-time working taxpayer) makes.

I thought the math was straight-forward enough, but don't let the facts confuse you.

I think spreadsheet is based on salaries PAID OUT during a certain fiscal year end. Why? Because you'll notice people like Bruce Warner the Executive Director is listed at way under his normal salary. So, someone listed under $20k might be part-time or might have been hired DURING part of that fiscal year, or might have left during part of that year. However, leave it to the City (or the Oregonian)not to have citations or explanations attached to the spreadsheet as to what time period this is for, how it is calculated, etc.

Reason I know all this - I'm on that spreadsheet, but it doesn't list my most recent salary, and it lists many co-workers that are no longer working for the city. That sort of clued me in right there.

And as far as salaries - yeah, they are all over the board, especially at PDC (which is a non-union shop by the way - quasi city). My salary is/was actually UNDER market in the private sector (which is why I quit, I easily make $20k more than I did there), but some co-workers doing the same job there with more experience, and time on the job made way less than I did, while others with less experience and education make more. Go figure.

As far as PERS goes. Well once upon a time it was an awesome thing (Tier I and Tier II employees that were hired before a certain era and get a guarenteed return), but for newer City employees, PERS is kind of a joke; I wouln't put my retirement stakes in it and was advised by serveral finacial planners not to, as it is now completely market based and you can hear the giant sucking sound of the soon to be retired mass of city employees (ahem, a couple of bureaus in particular) that are going to dry the thing up. Would I work for the City again - hell no, It doesn't pay that great as compared to the private sector for certain skilled professions, and the retirement benefits kind of blow now. Health care is good though, I have great teeth because of it.

Frank - Regarding privacy, I agree that City payroll information should be public record. I do question the decision to post salaries with names and bureaus, though. Does the public really need to know that you or I make $X, or would it suffice if they listed the salaries and titles without names? (I'm thinking there are more than a few child support arrangements that are now being reopened.)

Regarding whether we're all overpaid, past salary studies show that lower end employees (receptionists, maintenance workers, etc. -- most of whom are union) are paid better than private sector equivalents. Upper end employees (folks with post-graduate degrees like laywers, financial analysts, upper management) are paid less than private sector equivalents -- even factoring in health and retirement benefits. Those folks stay because they enjoy public service.

Keep in mind that all the police and fire personnel making more than $100k, with the exception of top brass, are doing it though overtime. And a lot of OT at that. One could ask whether it's in the best interest of public safety to have cops working 80 hours a week, week after week. Personally, if I'm ever facing a cop, I hope it's one who got eight hours of sleep, not one who's finishing a double shift.

(I'm thinking there are more than a few child support arrangements that are now being reopened.)

That made me laugh. When I started with the city 27 years ago (how time flies, eh?) I was a Sec-Clerk I, i.e. pretty much at the bottom of the food chain, sleeping on the floor of my apartment without furniture, trying to rebuild my life after a bad divorce. My ex's attorney took me to court soon after, arguing before the judge that I was lying about how little I made, as I was a "Deputy City Auditor," an empty title all us secretaries had. My pay stubs told the tale. So I got in the habit of keeping them...now I've 27 years worth in my desk.

Anyway, what we don't consider, in all these equations, is the bennies that sometimes come with different employment. Being Wine Steward at the Canlis atop the Hilton didn't pay that great, but I sure got to drink a lot of great wine. (Damn, another '61 Mouton-Rothschild written off to "breakage"!) Not to mention the left-over croissants and double-stuffed baked potatoes I got to take home (and pretty much lived on, for a while). City employment? No "bonuses," no turkey to take home at Thanksgiving. When I won my "City Employee of the Year" award...that certificate --and $2.00-- will get me on Tri-Met. (Though, hey, it's my proudest accomplishment...some of us actually do take pride in our work, and believe we're serving the public.)

Though, hey, it's my proudest accomplishment

I should add my "City Employee of the Year" award is my proudest accomplishment because I was nominated for the award by citizens, and neighborhood associations, not some fellow bureaucrat.

I was also going to say we don't get turkeys to take home at Thanksgiving because they're all free-range'n in City Council chambers...but, no, that would be wrong and a bad, bad thing to say.

Actually, a turkey has a bigger brain than the one guy.

Thanks for turning up that Charles Manson works for the city (telecommutes I assume) - he must be a planner. It goes a long ways towards explaining why this city is being butchered up so badly.

Randy: Also, I am more than a little offended that you would draw a comparison between me and Prince Charles.

But Manson was ok, right?

That was kind of the point of my tongue in cheek comment, Jon. Hit the link to on my name under that comment and maybe your funny bone will awaken.

Got it, Randy. I was just being a smartass.
And those Barkley quotes are classic!

populated ... by personnel who worked a lot of overtime

Isn't it a standard practice in most settings, private and otherwise, to limit the number of overtime hours employees can work, lest you invite abuse of them?

limit the number of overtime hours employees can work, lest you invite abuse of them

A lot of "overtime" isn't necessarily hours worked. There are guaranteed minimums for when police officers show up in court; or there's premium pay for being "on call" i.e. being available for an emergency, even though you might not actually do anything (and let's face it, being off work, but unable to travel...well, that's worth something for the inconvenience).

I do know the police bureau used to leave positions vacant to cover underfunded overtime which, year after year, makes the budgeting "process" an exercise in budget manipulation. Don't know if that's still the case, but highly doubt much's changed.

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