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MassOpenBooks: A Look at the Highest Paid Private Vendors in 2018

In 2018, quasi-public Massachusetts agencies made a total of 115,202 payments worth $7.1 billion to private vendors. Quasi-public agencies are entities that receive state funding but remain partially autonomous from the executive and legislative branches. Since these agencies are somewhat independent, a look at which private vendors are paid the most, can provide important insights that promote accountability and efficient use of tax dollars.  MassOpenBooks supports this objective by presenting the large dataset in an accessible way. As displayed in the “Totals” section of MassOpenBooks, the average payment was $61,874, and the largest payment was approximately $151 million.  Below are the top five private vendors for the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA), the Massachusetts Port Authority, and the Commonwealth Health […]

MassOpenBooks: A Look at Annual Pension Trends

In 2018, the Commonwealth provided $5.2 Billion in pension benefits to retirees in the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System (MTRS) and Massachusetts State Employees’ Retirement System (MSERS). Of this amount, 42.6 percent went to the MSERS and 57.4 percent went to the MTRS. The public can sort through this pension data on MassOpenBooks, Pioneer Institute’s government transparency tool. The yearly change section of MassOpenBooks analyzes the pension data by providing the percent change since 2011. Below are charts that illustrate the average pension by year for MSERS and MTRS. In 2014, the average annual pension in the MSERS was $32,182. By 2018, it was $37,263, a 15.8 percent increase. During this time, there was a 27.5 percent increase in the total […]

MassOpenBooks: A Look at the Top Departments by Average Overtime Pay in 2018

In 2018, the Commonwealth provided a total of $368.15 million in overtime pay to state employees. MassOpenBooks, Pioneer Institute’s government transparency tool, sorts through and presents this data in an accessible manner. Below is a chart that lists the top 10 departments by average overtime pay for 2018. As indicated in the payroll section of MassOpenBooks, the Department of State Police has been the top agency for average overtime pay since 2010, the earliest year for which data has been made available by the state. From this time to 2018, average overtime pay increased 34.73 percent. This change is particularly concerning, considering the department’s recent overtime scandal. The State Police Department is not the only law enforcement agency to experience […]

MassOpenBooks: The Top Overtime Earners in 2018

According to state law, most Massachusetts employees are entitled to 1.5 times their hourly wage for time worked over 40 hours per week. The public can sort through this overtime data and other payroll information on Pioneer Institute’s MassOpenBooks.  In 2018, the Commonwealth made a total of $368.15 million in overtime payments to public employees. Thirty-eight employees were paid more than $100,000 in overtime. From the top 100 earners, the average overtime pay was $101,856. While this is an astoundingly large amount, it does not tell the full story when it comes to overtime pay. Below is a chart that highlights the top 10 overtime earners and their overtime pay as a percent of their base pay. Source: MassOpenBooks. Hover […]

MassOpenBooks: A Look at Departments with the Highest Average Pay

Ever wonder which public departments in Massachusetts pay their employees the highest average salaries? MassOpenBooks, Pioneer Institute’s government transparency tool, categorizes state government payroll data to make that information easily accessible. Below is a table listing the top departments by average pay for the past five years. In 2018, the Department of State Police was at the top of the list. Employees there made an annual average of $109,613, $20,752 more than the next highest-paying department. The State Police had the highest average pay every year since 2011. Since at least 2004, it has been either the highest or second highest-paying state agency. From 2004 to 2018, average pay there has increased by 30 percent; it has been in the […]

A List of the Top Pension Earners in 2018

The Massachusetts’ Teachers Retirement System and the Massachusetts State Employees’ Retirement System provided approximately $2.99 and $2.22 billion in benefits, respectively, for a total of $5.21 billion in 2018. According to Pioneer Institute’s MassOpenBooks, a government transparency tool that provides data on the Commonwealth’s retirement systems, these benefits went to 64,734 retirees in the Massachusetts’ Teachers Retirement System (MTRS) and 59,423 in the Massachusetts State Employees’ Retirement System (MSERS). MassOpenBooks users can sort general characteristics such as by year, employer, and/or individual. In 2018, the average MSERS retiree received $37,310 in pension benefits, but a large number of retirees were paid much more. Not surprisingly, 5 out of the top 12 beneficiaries were employed by the University of Massachusetts Medical […]