Boston metropolis employees making $100G, $200G, $300G will increase

An ongoing coronavirus pandemic wasn’t going to stand in the way of city employees making big bucks, with more earning six figures, $200,000 and $300,000 in 2020 than they did in 2019.

As always, the top of the list is dominated by the city’s cops and firefighters, according to the city’s 2020 payroll data released Friday. The year’s top earner was police Lt. Sean Smith, who enjoyed stacking $124,396 in overtime, $45,210 in detail work, $36,447 in Quinn Bill bonuses and $13,161 in “other” on top of his $145,788 in base pay to bring home $365,001.

Following right after him was Detective Waiman Lee, who took home $96,127 in OT and $111,688 in detail pay to bring the gumshoe to $360,143. Then came Sgt. Detective John Brown, who benefited in $155,123 in OT pay to bring home a total of $345,758, and then Capt. John Danilecki — frequent target of lefty activists’ ire and resident of the district attorney’s list of “questionable” police officers due to a reported internal-affairs investigation — made $339,928.

The top nine names on the list are all police officers. Then there’s a fire deputy chief, followed by 10 more cops, and then Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius, who was sitting on a salary of $280,000 padded by $31,712 of unspecified “other” dough to end up with a total of $311,712 in her first full year leading the district.

One hundred more employees go by before getting to the next one on the top-earners list who’s neither a cop nor a jake. And that’s wire inspector Keith Barry, who supplemented his relatively modest $92,107 income with $175,139 of OT — the most of any city employee in 2020.

In total, the city’s employees made $126.5 million in overtime pay last year — though that’s actually a bit less moolah than the $127 million the city doled out in 2019. But the total amount of cheese taken home by city employees rose from $1.797 billion to $1.820 billion. That’s a 1% increase, down from a 4.4% increase between 2018 and 2019.

Of the entire 21,858 people who were paid by the city of Boston — ranging from the four substitute teachers who made 38 cents each to Smith’s thousand-dollars-a-day haul — 8,451 made six figures. Seven hundred and thirty-three raked in in more than $200,000, and 35 enjoyed above $300,000 last year. That’s compared to 8,130, 715 and 31, respectively, the previous year.

The city has made it a priority during the pandemic not to lay people off, even as its excise tax revenue has been hammered by the economic slowdowns. Most of the budget does stem from property tax revenue, which actually continues to increase on the back of new growth. As they do every year, contractually obligated annual raises kick in for union members, bumping up pay for many.

The city implemented a hiring freeze to save money during the pandemic, though it is now rolling that back as fiscal projections improve.

Mayor Martin Walsh, even with his hefty yearly sum of $199,000, made less bread than 6,818 of his employees.

“Over the last year, city employees have stepped up in unimaginable ways to see us through these unprecedented times as we continue battling the COVID-19 pandemic, and as we work towards an equitable recovery,” Walsh said Friday in a statement. “I am grateful each and every day for their hard work and unwavering commitment to their jobs, and for rising to the occasion at a time when it has been needed most.”

Walsh’s office noted that injury pay for police and firefighters increased 19% to $40.7 million, which could be due to officers and firefighters quarantining after potential workplace COVID-19 exposures.