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Overtime Pay Tally Reveals Large Disparities

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The top 50 overtime earners among state employees averaged $99,114 in overtime pay during fiscal 2017. Of the top 50 the top earners, two work in the Department of Mental Health, two in the Department of Public Health, five in the Department of Transportation, 11 in the Department of Corrections and 30 are in the State Police Department, five of whom are part of the State Police Overtime Scandal.

Also, 21 of the top 50 overtime earners made more in overtime pay than their regular salary. The spreadsheet below lists the 50 state employees who received the most overtime pay in 2017, downloaded from MassOpenBooks, a research tool offered by Pioneer Institute (an asterisk signifies involvement in the State Police Overtime Scandal).

NameDepartmentPositionOvertime Pay
Edward McCarthyTransportationCivil Engineer IV$166,254
John KeefeTransportationHighway Main Foreman IV$153,922
Chidiebere AzuaruPublic HealthRegistered Nurse II$125,720
Paul BirriCorrectionCorrection Officer III$121.,726
Dennis HenryCorrectionCorrection Officer I$112,922
Norberto MeloCorrectionCorrection Officer II$108,732
Brian O'NeilState PoliceState Police Trooper, 1st Class$108,434
John SylvaState PoliceState Police Trooper, 1st Class$108,427
James DaigleCorrectionCorrection Officer II$106,078
Paul HorganState PoliceState Police Sergeant$105,393
James WhiteState PoliceState Police Sergeant$105,299
Stephen FlahertyState PoliceState Police Sergeant$105,141
Corry CarterCorrectionCorrection Officer, Captain$103,948
Darren SpechtState PoliceState Police Trooper, 1st Class$103,502
Michael ChervenState PoliceState Police Trooper, 1st Class$101,141
Jeffrey Reger*State PoliceState Police Trooper, 1st Class$100,099
Kevin BakerState PoliceState Police Sergeant$98,922
Jamie MagarianState PoliceState Police Trooper, 1st Class$98,624
William QuallsState PoliceState Police Sergeant$97,893
Robert NoonanState PoliceState Police Trooper, 1st Class$97,243
Charles DanceState PoliceState Police Trooper, 1st Class$96,849
Eric PapkeeState PoliceState Police Trooper, 1st Class$96,814
George HamiltonState PoliceState Police Sergeant$96,601
Meikle WilliamsMental HealthRegistered Nurse III$95,084
Kelley Thomas State PoliceState Police Sergeant$94,807
Phillip ChasseyState PoliceState Police Sergeant$94,779
John SimmonsState PoliceState Police Dispatcher I$94,294
Melvin ReedCorrectionCorrection Officer Lieutenant$93,603
Neville DepassCorrectionCorrection Officer Lieutenant$93,556
James BrettaState PoliceState Police Sergeant$93,497
John StrazulloState PoliceState Police Trooper, 1st Class$92,979
Ricardo IraolaCorrectionCorrection Officer$91,816
Edward JohansenCorrectionCorrection Officer I$91,354
Daniel Crespi*State PoliceState Police Trooper, 1st Class$90,058
Robert BachelderState PoliceState Police Sergeant$89,833
Davidson LamarreState PoliceState Police Trooper, 1st Class$89,547
Robert McCarthyState PoliceState Police Trooper, 1st Class$89,515
Sussie KondoMental HealthRegistured Nurse II$89,428
Patrice CharlesPublic HealthRegistered Nurse II$89,181
Todd Gidden*State PoliceState Police Trooper, 1st Class$89,168
David WilleyTransportationHigh Voltage Electrician I$88,960
Robert SmithState PoliceState Police Trooper, 1st Class$88,575
Luther MilesCorrectionCorrection Officer$88,294
David DouthwrightState PoliceState Police Sergeant$88,109
Matthew Sheehan*State PoliceState Police Trooper, 1st Class$87,804
Jeffrey Russell*State PoliceState Police Trooper, 1st Class$87,218
Robert DziedzicState PoliceState Police Trooper, 1st Class$87,019
Brian BardonCorrectionCorrection Officer Sergeant$86,687
Paul LempitskiTransportationHighway Main Foreman IV$85,457
Kerry WigandtTransportationProgram Coordinator III$85,378


The chart below compares the average overtime pay for the departments with employees in the top 50 with the average overtime compensation of the departments.

Department Department Employee Average in Top 50 Department Average
Transportation $115,994 $6,671
Mental Health $92,256 $4,077
Public Health $107,450 $3,165
Corrections $99,883 $6,809
State Police $95,919 $15,345


The enormous disparities between overtime pay for these select employees and their department averages beg the question: why were they paid so much more in overtime than the average employee in their department?

Pioneer requested an explanation from each of the departments, but received no responses. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation had five employees who were top 50 overtime earners, including the two biggest overtime earners: a Civil Engineer who earned $166,254 and a Highway Main Foreman who earned $153,922. Additionally, a highway voltage electrician earned $88,960, a program coordinator earned $85,378 and another highway main foreman earned $85,547. All four earned more in overtime pay than their base salaries. Most notably, the Highway Main Foreman earned more than double his base salary in overtime pay.

The Department of Mental Health had two employees in the top 50: a registered nurse who earned $95,084 in OT and another registered nurse who earned $89,428. The Department of Public Health also had two employees in the top 50: a registered nurse who made $89,181 and another registered nurse who made $125,720, the third most of any state employee. Three of these four employees earned at least $20,000 more in overtime than in regular salary.

The Department of Corrections had the second highest number of employees in the top 50 for overtime pay, with 11; their positions, overtime compensation and regular salary are below.

Position Overtime Pay Regular Salary
Correction Officer III $121,726 $96,118
Correction Officer I $112,922 $76,046
Correction Officer II $108,732 $87,624
Correction Officer II $106,078 $84,080
Correction Officer, Captain $103,948 $91,755
Correction Officer, Lieutenant $93,603 $85,182
Correction Officer, Lieutenant $93,556 $89,102
Correction Officer $91,816 $71,832
Correction Officer I $91,354 $79,251
Correction Officer $88,294 $68,178
Correction Officer Sergeant $86,687




While the large amounts of overtime pay make you shake your head, perhaps even more shocking is the fact that every one of these Department of Corrections employees earned more in overtime than they did from their regular salary. Additionally, slightly over one-fifth of the top 50 overtime earners in the state were corrections officers.

One has to wonder if it’s in the state’s best interests for workers in high-stress jobs like nursing and corrections to be working so many hours.

Lastly, the majority of the top 50 overtime earners – 30 to be exact – are Department of State Police employees. Their positions include troopers, sergeants and dispatchers, and their overtime pay ranges from $87,019 to $108,434. Analyzing the reason why so many State Police officers are in the top 50 is made more difficult due to the fact that there is an ongoing investigation into fraudulent and exorbitant amounts of overtime pay in the State Police Department, an investigation that has already implicated five State Police officers that are among the top 50 overtime earners. Unlike their top 50 counterparts in other departments, only one of the 30 State Police officers made more in overtime pay than regular pay. This may be due to the fact that state police officers have comparatively higher salaries than other state employees.

Overall, the disparity between the top 50 state government earners of 2017 overtime pay and the overtime pay average for their respective departments could not be more striking and clear. The lack of clarity as to why these select employees, many of whom work high-stress jobs, earned so much in overtime pay is equally as troubling. The fact that nearly half of these employees earned more in overtime than in regular pay is also concerning and deserves explanation. Hopefully, the Commonwealth will better examine how these and all state employees are paid to ensure that state taxpayers are being treated fairly.

Jay Anderson is a Northeastern University Co-Op at the Pioneer Institute; he is a Political Science major.