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.”

3 COMMENTS

  1. Number one thing to remember about ANY public employee is that they are a glorified welfare recipient. Police should have their benefits cut, pension removed (They only get a 401k like most other professions). Have to pay in MORE for their health benefits. Requires them to work for 30 years to receive benefits until death.

    Above all though is accountability. Civilian oversight board who can fire officers at a drop of a hat. No police officers or former police officers on the board. Only citizens voted in by the tax payers. Remember public servants are not tax payers, they are tax leeches. They do not pay taxes, they only give back a portion of what they leech.

    No more overtime for police officers, they have to sacrifice their time. This is what they sign up for, they dont like it they can find another job.

    Lastly remove and outlaw ALL PUBLIC EMPLOYEE UNIONS, teachers police firefighters etc etc. Right to work and thats it.

  2. Oakland’s mayor & city council have ‘Given the Schaaft’ to City ‘non-sworn’ workers (i.e., not fire or police), forcing them into a strike last year. Mayor said “we know City workers deserve more…” and then LIED “but we just don’t have the money”. In fact the City has plenty of $ for fair pay, it just chooses to spend it on other things. IF the City was serious about controlling employee payroll costs it would have done something by now about the TENS OF MILLIONS of dollars it spends every year on police & fire overtime, much of it over what is budgeted.

  3. Overtime fills in the personnel gaps. The city aren’t hiring enough officers to takes reports, investigate crime and patrol. When officers are sick, vacation or on leave, there are not extra bodies to fill that space and do their assigned area. When you call the 911 Dispatch Center, you may be speaking with a dispatcher who is on his or her 16 hour of work because there aren’t enough people. Our dispatcher have mandatory overtime, so if you can handle an extra 70 hours a month plus your base hour apply. If you want to be cussed out, yelled at and shot at, you too can apply to be a police officer. If you are okay with cancelled regular days off when there is a protest, having to stay after your shift ends because there are not a lot of people, then apply. When an officer finally answer your call, he maybe on his 10 hour without lunch and make have to stay over for another 4 to 5. Don’t pretend as if this is easy handout money. Come work for the city!

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