In SF Weekly's cover story this week, Peter Jamison takes a look at the bonuses that city workers can get just for doing their jobs. It starts off with a sentence about poop though. More specifically, it starts off with Andrew Clark, an engineer with the city's largest sewage treatment facility. Clark takes pride in his job even though it smells pretty bad, so he's fairly well compensated for it with a salary that's just a tick under 6-figures. But Clark also gets an additional 7.5 percent bonus for being certified for hazardous-materials management.
That seems like a good thing for someone who handles hazardous materials for a living, and it is - in fact, he's required to have that certification to hold his job in the first place. But that's what bothers Jamison - that this premium pay is being dished out by a city with huge deficit even though the work itself is not necessarily "premium". Not all premium pay bonuses are superfluous - Nurses who take undesirable shifts get increased wages, for example - but especially bothersome are "standby hours" where city employees can make up to half their normal rate when they're not even on the job (although they'd be on-call, at least). So, eliminating premium pay entirely seems a bit unfair, but where's the public debate on this?