Your say on ‘What We Pay’
Chat live with Eric Litke, the Gannett Wisconsin Media Investigative Team reporter who led our “What We Pay” project, about what we found, what it means and why we report public salary data. The real-time conversation starts at 1 p.m. Monday at www.marshfieldnewsherald.com.
Top 10 OT/extra pay earners among Marshfield city employees
|Last name||First name||Title||Experience||2011 Overtime/extra pay|
|Oldham||Lance||Engineering Tech I||2||$10,424|
Compared to Wisconsin cities of similar size, the amount of overtime and extra pay the city of Marshfield pays its employees is about average.
For extra pay and overtime in 2011, Marshfield city employees received $572,000 while Stevens Point employees earned $426,000 and Wisconsin Rapids employees collected $857,000, according to a Gannett Wisconsin Media Investigative Team analysis of overtime and salary data. The data are based on submitted salary records, so they include only payouts to employees with salaries of $25,000 or more and for some entities included other bonuses such as longevity and shift differential in addition to traditional overtime.
Among the 10 highest overtime and extra pay earners in the city, five are police officers and three are firefighters. The highest was James Cramm, a Marshfield Police Department detective who was paid $22,355. The next highest was MPD Detective Richard Gramza, who earned $12,083.
Most of the overtime paid to Cramm is related to his participation on the area’s drug enforcement task force, where he is a lead investigator, Police Chief Gary Jepsen said.
“It doesn’t surprise me a bit that Jim has a lot of overtime,” Jepsen said, attributing it to the increasing number of drug investigations related to growing drug trafficking in the area.
Much of the overtime accrued by other police officers is reimbursed by state and federal grants to pay for enforcement of certain laws, Jepsen said.
“The Click it or Ticket program and alcohol and drug compliance enforcement are some of the programs where the city is reimbursed,” Jepsen said about the overtime hours officers accrued to enforce safety belt use, and drunken driving and drug use laws.
During the past two years, firefighters have accrued more overtime pay to meet state and federally mandated training requirements, Fire Chief Jim Schmidt said.
To avoid overtime pay, the department is conducting training as time permits during the usual Fire Department shifts, Schmidt said.
“A number of our deputy chiefs have completed the training, and they can provide training to members on duty,” Schmidt said about seeking ways to cut back on overtime costs.
Since the enactment of Act 10, which limits collective bargaining by public employees, the city has more flexibility in scheduling hours employees work, which has decreased the amount of overtime used in the street department, said Brian Panzer, superintendent of the city’s Street Division.
Municipal police and fire departments were excluded from Act 10, which became effective in 2011.
Before Act 10, street employees were paid overtime for hours worked outside the usual 7 p.m. to 3 p.m. day, Panzer said. Now, employees begin to accrue overtime after working a 40-hour week, he said.
“We’re not held hostage to those hours anymore,” Panzer said.