Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn's total compensation grew
to $138,426 in 2008, 5 percent more than in 2007.
By Steven Rosenberg
In Medford, the economic downturn has forced Mayor Michael McGlynn to consider cutting dozens of teaching positions that pay under $100,000 a year.
But come July, when the city’s budget is set, few of the jobs that pay city workers over $100,000 annually will be eliminated. And most of those workers will actually receive a raise.
In 2008, 77 out of the top-paid 100 city employees made more than $100,000, according to information obtained by the Globe through the Freedom of Information Act. And 47 of those 77 were members of the police department. Overall, seven out of the top 10 highest-paid city employees were police. And for the second straight year, Police Captain Alan Doherty was the city’s highest paid employee: in 2008, he earned $165,880.
Last year, Doherty’s base pay was $83,910. But like other police officers, he was eligible to receive fringe benefits and had extra work opportunities.
In 2008, he earned $21,300 working traffic details, $31,192 in overtime, and $8,500 for longevity (training and years served). In addition, he earned a $20,976 educational subsidy for having a college degree.
Last year, Medford officers received a total of $984,521 in educational subsidies from the city and state, under a law known as the Quinn Bill.
In 2008, School Superintendent Roy Belson ranked second in pay, earning $160,199. McGlynn, the mayor, ranked sixth, earning $138,426.
McGlynn, who has served in that job for 21 years, has seen his pay nearly triple since 1988, when he earned $52,000. As the city’s chief administrator, he received a base salary of $123,598 last year. He also earned $12,480 for serving on the School Committee, $1,248 for travel expenses, and $1,100 for longevity. In all, his 2008 pay represented a 5 percent increase over 2007, when he earned $131,669.
McGlynn, who presides over a community of 55,000, is also one of the highest-paid mayors in northern Massachusetts. He earns 31 percent more than Malden Mayor Richard Howard, who makes $105,000 a year in a city that has a population similar to Medford’s. McGlynn also earns more than Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, who makes $125,000 a year overseeing a city of 77,000, but less than Winchester Town Manager Melvin Kleckner, who earns $146,806 a year.
‘‘I work very hard at what I do and I feel that I earn every penny I make,’’ said McGlynn, whose salary is approved by the Medford City Council. ‘‘I can’t speak about other mayors, what they do and what their salaries are.’’
McGlynn is scheduled to receive a 1 percent pay increase next month, and like other City Hall employees, has agreed to a pay freeze for the next fiscal year.
Medford’s teachers, who are looking at possible deep cuts in staffing, already have agreed to a one-year salary freeze. Other school unions also have agreed to the freeze.
Meanwhile, McGlynn said the city is staring at a $9 million shortfall in funds for the next fiscal year, which begins in July. McGlynn said deep payroll cuts would have to be made. ‘‘There will be layoffs no matter what,’’ he said, adding that more than 100 school jobs could be eliminated, along with jobs in other city departments.
McGlynn is also preparing to restructure the city’s Department of Public Works. In June, DPW Commissioner Paul Gere will retire, and McGlynn said cutting back overtime by reassigning workers to weekend shifts would be a top priority.
In 2008, several DPW workers earned more than $30,000 in overtime. The city’s fifth-highest-paid employee, Peter Kerger, made a total of $139,999 — including $80,476 in overtime. McGlynn said most of Kerger’s overtime was spent fixing water main breaks and maintaining other underground water pipes.
But even with the proposed cutbacks and the possible layoffs, the city branch with the biggest earners in the municipality — the police department — is expected to remain mostly intact. Police also are scheduled to receive between a 2 and 3 percent raise this year.
Police Chief Leo Sacco Jr., who earned $136,602 — ranking number eight on the city’s highest paid list — said overtime helped push up the incomes of the city’s police. Last year, the city spent $1.023 million on police overtime, a $340,000 decrease from 2007. Sacco attributed the overtime to a lack of overall staff and a need to fill shifts when officers are sick, on vacation, or injured.
‘‘In 2001, we had 132 officers,’’ said Sacco, who has served as chief since 1990. ‘‘Today, we’re back to 110.’’
The combination of low staffing and overtime has boosted most officers’ base pay by more than 20 percent.
While Doherty, a captain in charge of internal affairs, earned $31,192 in overtime by mostly working weekend shifts, another captain, Kenneth DiBlasi, almost matched his overtime, earning $28,709 last year. In the patrol division, 19 patrolmen earned more than $13,000 in overtime last year, including the chief’s son, Leo Sacco III, who joined the force in 2006. The younger Sacco earned $13,460 in overtime, and a total of $99,681 in 2008.
Sacco said it’s cheaper in the long run to have fewer full-time officers and fill the gap with overtime, but said the extra work takes a toll on the officers. Still, with the downturn in the economy, Sacco has already pared back overtime. He said the city’s top earner last year, Doherty, and DiBlasi — who ranked fourth in pay in the city in 2008 with $149,163.16 — have had their overtime eliminated. Sacco also said DiBlasi is scheduled to retire in September, and he is unsure if the captain’s position will be filled.
For more coverage of Medford, go to boston.com/medford.