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5 police officers top Boston’s payroll for 2018

Five Boston police officers who were dismissed from the department and later were reinstated topped the city’s payroll list for 2018, due largely to six-figure settlements that included back pay, according to data released Friday.

Officer Shawn Harris, the city’s highest-paid employee, took home $684,000, an amount that included a $485,000-plus settlement payment, city officials said.

Officer David Williams, who pulled in more than $677,000, was the second-highest-paid city employee. He was followed by Ronnie Jones, who took home earnings in excess of $577,000; George Dowling, who earned $536,000; and Walter Washington, with $494,000-plus, the data show.

The officers had each been dismissed from the Police Department. They successfully challenged the firings and won court-ordered settlements that include back pay, which inflated their earnings, according to the city.


William B. Evans, the police commissioner who retired from the department last summer, made more than $319,000 working for the city last year. His successor as commissioner, William G. Gross, pulled in more than $255,000, according to the city’s data. Sixty members of the Boston Police Department made more than $300,000 in 2018, according to the data.

In other city departments, former Boston School Superintendent Tommy Chang was the city’s biggest breadwinner in 2018. Chang, who agreed to resign last summer, had total earnings last year of $450,583. A settlement agreement with Chang, which was approved by the School Committee, included a payout of about $300,000.

Chang departed after three years. Mayor Martin J. Walsh said after meeting with Chang that they agreed there needed to be a change to the school district’s leadership.

The Fire Department’s top earner in 2018 was Deputy Fire Chief Michael E. Hocking, who cleared $260,000.

Outside of Chang and certain personnel from the police and fire departments, the city employee who earned the most was Keith Barry, the wire inspector, who made more than $250,000. Walsh, the mayor of Boston, earned $191,000.


The city’s 2018 payroll was $1.7 billion, which represented a $129 million, or 8.2 percent, increase from the previous year, according to Walsh’s office.

That bump was driven by increases in regular pay that came from recently settled contracts, including base wage increases for the Boston Teachers Union, which Walsh’s office called “the largest driver” of the increase in regular pay.

Increase in retroactive pay from settled contracts with school and public safety unions was also a factor in the payroll growth.

Reimbursed overtime pay for police because of the National Grid and Marriott strikes also drove up earnings, according to the city.

In January, National Grid workers approved a new contract, ending a six-month lockout that had left more than 1,200 gas workers out of work. Last autumn, workers walked off the job at seven Marriott hotels in Boston, a work stoppage that involved more than 1,500 employees and represented the city’s first major hotel strike in modern history.

Previous Globe coverage was used in this report. Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.