Allegheny County Retirement Home, prison workers worked heavy overtime in 2020



Allegheny County paid $ 29.2 million in overtime to its employees in 2020, including more than $ 16 million to employees at the county jail and county nursing homes.

The county paid more than $ 324 million in gross wages to 6,314 full-time and part-time employees who worked for the county in 2020. This figure includes base pay, overtime and bonuses and represented an increase by 1.5% from 2019. This data includes everyone who worked for the county for at least one day in the past year and does not represent the size of the county’s workforce at any given time.

The median gross salary for full-time and part-time county employees was $ 48,290.

Some of the county’s top earners are public figures and politicians, but other employees, including nurses and prison workers, have climbed the top earning list by racking up large amounts of overtime.

The county has redacted the names of 57 employees who are law enforcement undercover or who would be at risk of physical harm by being appointed.


Overtime represents 9% of all taxpayer dollars spent on wages. County overtime pay has grown steadily since it stood at around $ 20 million in 2014. It peaked at $ 30.1 million in 2018 and reached around $ 29 million in 2019 and 2020 .

County spokeswoman Amie Downs wrote in an email to PublicSource that overtime is’ expected and expected ‘and that the fact that the amount in 2020 was similar to that in recent years despite the pandemic‘ reflects the work that has been done to ensure that employee overtime is monitored. . “

The county jail and its 706 employees accounted for the bulk of the county’s overtime ($ 8.6 million) and its second largest gross payroll ($ 44.6 million). Twenty-four correctional officers earned more than Warden Orlando Harper in 2020. Correctional Officer Brian W. Englert was the biggest earner with $ 164,162, including $ 84,833 in overtime. Harper won $ 120,311.

Englert wasn’t the county’s biggest overtime winner, however. This distinction belongs to Minkyong Shin, a nurse who graduated from the nursing homes of the regional centers in Kane. Shin had a base salary of around $ 60,000, but earned over $ 143,000 in overtime, bringing the total to over $ 205,000.

Downs said policies are in place to ensure the safety of employees and those in their care, but would not comment on personnel matters otherwise.

Kane Centers paid $ 47.5 million to 1,055 employees. More than $ 8.2 million – or 17% – came from overtime. Shin was his highest paid employee with over $ 60,000, although 16 other employees earned over $ 100,000, including base salary and overtime. Shin was one of 12 who received over $ 50,000 in overtime.

The emergency management department paid 17% more in overtime than in 2019. The sheriff’s office reduced overtime by about a third from 2019 and the social services department by 17%.

Demographic disparities

The racial makeup of the county’s workforce in 2020 was similar to that of the county’s population. About 80% of county employees and county residents were White in 2020. Blacks made up about 13% of the county’s population, but nearly 18% of the county’s workforce.

While 4% of the county’s population is Asian or Pacific Islander, this group includes 0.9% of county employees. And, 2% of county residents are Hispanic or Latino, compared to 0.6% of employees.

50.1% of county employees were women. The database did not contain any other designation beyond female and male, such as non-binary.

Male employees received a median gross salary of over $ 10,000 more than women – $ 53,779 versus $ 43,603.

The only two racial groups with more than 100 workers also had a pay gap. Black workers earned a median gross salary of $ 43,469, while white workers earned a median gross salary of $ 49,795.

Better income

The main income, including overtime and bonuses, in 2020 was Dr. Karl Williams, the chief medical examiner ($ 219,864). The second was County Director William McKain ($ 210,958), followed by County Police Inspector Kenneth Ruckel ($ 206,451).

Minkyong Shin, the Kane Centers nurse who earned more than $ 143,000 in overtime, was the fourth highest gross salary in the county at $ 205,295.

District Attorney Stephen Zappala is the only elected among the top 25 gross earners, ranking eighth with $ 185,571.

Of the 25 highest-paid employees, seven worked for the county police, five for the medical examiner’s office, four for the prison and nine others in seven different departments.

Winning Fitzgerald

Including overtime and bonuses, 46 employees earned more than County Manager Rich Fitzgerald. This is down from the 604 employees who made it in 2019. Fitzgerald’s salary has fallen from $ 90,000 in 2019 to $ 135,886 in 2020.

The increase was triggered by an ordinance passed by the county council in 2016 that set the county executive’s salary at 68% of the salary of the governor of Pennsylvania as of 2020. The ordinance was passed by the council. and promulgated by Fitzgerald. Its effect has been delayed because civil servants are prohibited from increasing their own salaries during their term of office. Fitzgerald was re-elected in 2019.

Of the 46 workers who earned more than Fitzgerald, 20 worked for the county police and seven for the jail.

Longest career in the county

The longest-serving county employee started as a typist at the Department of Health in 1968 and has held the same position ever since. She was the only county employee in 2020 hired before 1970. She was earning $ 40,269 in 2020.

Forty-eight county employees in 2020 were hired in the 1970s, though 15 of them either retired or left at some point in the year. Over 320 employees started in the 1980s, 676 in the 1990s, 1,282 in the 2000s, 3,191 in the 2010s and 767 in 2020.

Downs attributed the relatively high number of hires in 2020 to the need to compensate for a wave of departures – some seeking more lucrative work in medical and scientific fields and others choosing to retire rather than d ” be in public during the pandemic.

Charlie Wolfson is the local government reporter for PublicSource and a member of the Report for America Corps. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @chwolfson.

This story has been verified by Xiaohan Liu.


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