The annual salary report on how much money each San Francisco public employee makes has just been released, and SF police and sheriff’s office employees are pulling hundreds of thousands of dollars in overtime pay.
It’s an annual August news cycle story every year, when the San Francisco Controller’s Office releases the annual salaries and overtime bonuses of every single SF public employee. And the local media always eats it up, as this report is released during this slow-news season when the Board of Supervisors and many of the city’s top commissions are on their August recess.
Some in the media always feign surprise along the lines of ‘Wow, Mayor Breed is not the city’s highest-paid employee, not even close!” And every year we in the media always know full well that the city’s highest-paid employee is going to be the chief investment officer of the San Francisco City & County Employees' Retirement System. Last year it was the retirement system’s CIO William Coaker Jr., who left the position, and this year the Chronicle's annual writeup of city salaries found his replacement Alison Romano tops the list with $644,000 in total pay. (Mayor Breed was paid $350,000 last year).
ICYMI: S.F.'s top-paid employee is not Mayor London Breed. In fact, over 200 full-time city employees make more than her. That’s mostly from working overtime, sometimes enough to double their pay. Here are the top earners, who made up to $644K last year.https://t.co/OCDpN4ji6V— SFNext (@SFNext) August 15, 2023
So it’s not a surprise that the retirement system’s CIO was again the top-paid employee this year. But BrokeAssStuart.com dug through this data and found a big surprise, that SF police officers and sheriff’s deputies are pulling hundreds of thousands in overtime pay. In fact, seven police department employees and sheriff’s deputies made more than $500,000 last year with base salary and overtime combined.
There is a police officer in SF who made $356,000 dollars last year just in "overtime pay". He made a total of $587,000 in the 2022/23 fiscal year. And he's not exactly an anomaly. https://t.co/eltueN7KeQ pic.twitter.com/i2AvxH7g8e— (((BrokeAssStuart))) (@BrokeAssStuart) August 15, 2023
SFPD sergeant Frank Harrell made $587,000 last year, $356,000 of that in overtime pay. Over at the Sheriff’s Department, senior deputy sheriff Richie Owyang was paid nearly $558,000, mostly in overtime, because his base salary is just $144,752.
For comparison, SFPD Chief Bill Scott was only paid $382,000. Nearly 60 officers under his command made more than Chief Scott last year, thanks to their overtime pay.
And we’ve mentioned this before, but SFPD has the lowest rate of reported crimes solved of any major city police department in California.
We should not be surprised that the city is pulling up the Brink’s truck to pay overtime to police. This was telegraphed in March, when the Board of Supervisors approved an extra $25 million in SFPD overtime pay.
District 6 supervisor Matt Dorsey, the SFPD’s former PR guy, is always a solid vote to give the police more money. But even he said these overtime-paying habits are not a good, unsustainable practice.
“I don’t think this is the way to be running a government,” Dorsey said before that vote. “This isn’t the way to run a world-class city. When we’re relying on overtime, let’s be honest about this — we’re spending more money for less policing.”
Image: San Francisco Police Department via Facebook