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).
|Edward McCarthy||Transportation||Civil Engineer IV||$166,254|
|John Keefe||Transportation||Highway Main Foreman IV||$153,922|
|Chidiebere Azuaru||Public Health||Registered Nurse II||$125,720|
|Paul Birri||Correction||Correction Officer III||$121.,726|
|Dennis Henry||Correction||Correction Officer I||$112,922|
|Norberto Melo||Correction||Correction Officer II||$108,732|
|Brian O'Neil||State Police||State Police Trooper, 1st Class||$108,434|
|John Sylva||State Police||State Police Trooper, 1st Class||$108,427|
|James Daigle||Correction||Correction Officer II||$106,078|
|Paul Horgan||State Police||State Police Sergeant||$105,393|
|James White||State Police||State Police Sergeant||$105,299|
|Stephen Flaherty||State Police||State Police Sergeant||$105,141|
|Corry Carter||Correction||Correction Officer, Captain||$103,948|
|Darren Specht||State Police||State Police Trooper, 1st Class||$103,502|
|Michael Cherven||State Police||State Police Trooper, 1st Class||$101,141|
|Jeffrey Reger*||State Police||State Police Trooper, 1st Class||$100,099|
|Kevin Baker||State Police||State Police Sergeant||$98,922|
|Jamie Magarian||State Police||State Police Trooper, 1st Class||$98,624|
|William Qualls||State Police||State Police Sergeant||$97,893|
|Robert Noonan||State Police||State Police Trooper, 1st Class||$97,243|
|Charles Dance||State Police||State Police Trooper, 1st Class||$96,849|
|Eric Papkee||State Police||State Police Trooper, 1st Class||$96,814|
|George Hamilton||State Police||State Police Sergeant||$96,601|
|Meikle Williams||Mental Health||Registered Nurse III||$95,084|
|Kelley Thomas||State Police||State Police Sergeant||$94,807|
|Phillip Chassey||State Police||State Police Sergeant||$94,779|
|John Simmons||State Police||State Police Dispatcher I||$94,294|
|Melvin Reed||Correction||Correction Officer Lieutenant||$93,603|
|Neville Depass||Correction||Correction Officer Lieutenant||$93,556|
|James Bretta||State Police||State Police Sergeant||$93,497|
|John Strazullo||State Police||State Police Trooper, 1st Class||$92,979|
|Ricardo Iraola||Correction||Correction Officer||$91,816|
|Edward Johansen||Correction||Correction Officer I||$91,354|
|Daniel Crespi*||State Police||State Police Trooper, 1st Class||$90,058|
|Robert Bachelder||State Police||State Police Sergeant||$89,833|
|Davidson Lamarre||State Police||State Police Trooper, 1st Class||$89,547|
|Robert McCarthy||State Police||State Police Trooper, 1st Class||$89,515|
|Sussie Kondo||Mental Health||Registured Nurse II||$89,428|
|Patrice Charles||Public Health||Registered Nurse II||$89,181|
|Todd Gidden*||State Police||State Police Trooper, 1st Class||$89,168|
|David Willey||Transportation||High Voltage Electrician I||$88,960|
|Robert Smith||State Police||State Police Trooper, 1st Class||$88,575|
|Luther Miles||Correction||Correction Officer||$88,294|
|David Douthwright||State Police||State Police Sergeant||$88,109|
|Matthew Sheehan*||State Police||State Police Trooper, 1st Class||$87,804|
|Jeffrey Russell*||State Police||State Police Trooper, 1st Class||$87,218|
|Robert Dziedzic||State Police||State Police Trooper, 1st Class||$87,019|
|Brian Bardon||Correction||Correction Officer Sergeant||$86,687|
|Paul Lempitski||Transportation||Highway Main Foreman IV||$85,457|
|Kerry Wigandt||Transportation||Program 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|
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 I||$91,354||$79,251|
|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.