Boston police overtime pay hits $66.9m
The city’s police overtime bill grew last year by nearly $6 million to $66.9 million — an increase the department chalked up to staffing large events such as the 2017 Super Bowl victory parade, the Women’s March, Sail Boston, and two “free speech” rallies held on Boston Common.
The city tied about $5 million of police overtime to the large gatherings.
“All these large public safety events require a lot of police resources,” said Lieutenant Detective Michael McCarthy, a department spokesman. “Those are most often paid for with overtime hours.”
Overall, the city payroll climbed to $1.6 billion — a hike of less than 1 percent over 2016, the city said, according to annual figures released Friday.
McCarthy said officers’ overtime hours rose by more than 6 percent, to 1.1 million hours. The year before, he said, Boston police had slashed overtime hours, though he didn’t have specific figures.
Figures provided last year show the police overtime bill for the Women’s March, a January demonstration against the travel ban, and the free speech rally held on Aug. 20 came to more than $392,000. The city said it couldn’t immediately provide overtime costs for other events held in 2017.
In a statement, Chief Financial Officer Emme Handy said the city is working to “carefully manage both our personnel numbers and overtime each calendar year.”
“While there were a significant number of unplanned protests, large gatherings, and celebrations in 2017, the city is proud of the overtime reforms we’ve made enabling us to maintain largely flat public safety overtime hours.” Handy said.
The Police Department’s overtime tab accounted for more than half of the $107 million the city paid last year to employees who logged extra hours, those figures showed.
The Police Department has been under pressure to control overtime costs since a 2015 audit found that the agency exercised “little control” over the process for assigning extra hours for officers. In fiscal year 2015, Mayor Martin J. Walsh ordered the Police Department to reduce its overtime hours by 10 percent.
Concerns about overtime costs last year prompted city councilors to question whether Boston police should hire more officers.
McCarthy said police overtime needs are unpredictable. Police commanders meet every two weeks, he said, to discuss overtime hours worked by officers in each district station. The department plans to add nearly 100 new officers in the spring and a new crop of police cadets is being recruited, he said.
Michael Leary, president of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Nearly all the 100 top wage earners on the city payroll work for Boston police.
The city’s highest earner was Haseeb Hosein, a Boston police captain who collected $366,232. He is the commander of District B-3 in Mattapan.
Hosein’s pay included $106,980 in detail pay, $62,696 in overtime pay, and regular pay of $146,893. He declined to comment.
Ten city employees — all members of the Boston Police Department — earned more than $300,000. They include three district captains and four detectives, records show.
Police Commissioner William B. Evans was paid $238,846.
Torii Bottomley, employed by Boston Public Schools, was the highest-paid non-public-safety worker, the city said. Bottomley earned $285,458 in workers’ compensation.
Reached by phone, Bottomley said she was a victim of workplace bullying and has been out of the classroom since February 2013.
Bottomley was hired by Boston schools in 1995 and spent much of her career teaching English as a second language, court papers show. She was last assigned to Boston Adult Technical Academy.
Her compensation reflects a settlement ordered by the state Department of Industrial Accidents that provided her with five years of wages at a rate of 60 percent of her full salary, Bottomley said. She continues to be on the workers’ compensation payroll, according to the city.
In proceedings before the Department of Industrial Accidents, Bottomley said she suffered a psychiatric disability as result of stress she endured on the job. She has also filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging discrimination.
The highest-paid worker outside the city’s public safety and school departments was Boston Public Library president David Leonard, who earned $210,653, the city said.
Schools Superintendent Tommy Chang made $270,660, and Walsh took home $175,000.