Overtime Pay Drives Some Police Officer Salaries to Over $300,000 a Year

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Highest paid officer earned $157,000 in overtime, bringing salary to $463,000

Despite promises to reduce costs, Oakland Police Department overtime is projected to cost the city nearly $30 million this year, $17.5 million or 58 percent more than the city’s budget allows.

In a staff report that went to council committees this week, city staff argues contradictorily that the police department is taking steps to rein in excessive overtime and also that there is not much that can be done about costs if the city wishes to maintain police services and fulfill its legal and contractual obligations.

“The key drivers of overtime expenditures … are service levels, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) requirements and legal mandates… Proposed strategies are likely insufficient to reduce overtime spending to budgeted levels,” the report said.

However, a look at police overtime in 2016, the most recent year available, reveals that the city paid out significant amounts of overtime inflating a number of officers’ salaries.
According to the website Transparent California, 18 officers earned over $300,000 annual salary, based on regular salary, benefits and more than $100,000 in overtime.

The highest paid officer, Malcolm Miller, received $111,932.77 regular pay. His overtime reached $156,667.61, bringing his total pay and benefits to $463,215.04.

Officer Huy Nguyen earned $112,455.80 regular pay plus $183,568.88 in overtime. His total salary and benefits came to $391,766.13
Lt. (now Captain) Roland Holmgren earned a total of $385,172.51, including $145,186 regular pay and $106,552.61 overtime.
Lt. Chris Mufarreh earned $384,507.55, including $150,665.43 regular pay and $122,993.67 in overtime.

Sgt. Fredrick William Shavies earned $381,530.21, which included $127,935.72 regular pay and $122.457.34 overtime.
A chart in the report shows that the only time the cost of overtime decreased in last 10 years was during the administration of Mayor Ron Dellums in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, when the cost of overtime declined by nearly 50 percent and came in close to budget.

A present, OPD has 792 budgeted positions and 50 sworn officer vacancies. The projected saving from the vacancies – $9 million – could be utilized to offset some overtime costs.
OPD has a total of 285 officers assigned to patrol, including 240 officers assigned to 35 patrol beats providing 24 hours-a-day coverage.

While the report may suggest nothing much can be done about overtime, the reality is that the city can modify the contract police union when a new agreement is negotiated next year, said Rashidah Grinage of the Coalition for Police Accountability.

“If it’s in their contract, the contract can be changed. Otherwise, you’re locked in,” she said.

“The city has the power to make changes, but they just keep buckling,” she said. “It’s a pretty different posture than they have with city workers in SEIU.”

The overtime issue raises many questions, Grinage continued.

Why doesn’t the city adopt a budget that reflects real overtime costs?

Why doesn’t the city administration monitor overtime expenses and make sure OPD stays within budget?

Which officers receive the lion share of overtime perks?

Where do the funds come from to cover these unbudgeted expenses?

During the Dellums administration, the cost of overtime was drastically reduced.

Dellums and his police chief, Wayne Tucker – who were both older and near the end of their careers – were willing to take on the powerful police union. They took the OPOA to arbitration and won cost-saving changes in the way officers were scheduled for duty.

“They could do the right thing, so they stood up to the union without fearing for their careers. Grinage said. “They were interested in making a difference, and they did.”

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