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MEDFORD

Safety workers lead city payroll

But schools chief earns top salary

By Travis Andersen
Globe Staff / August 19, 2010

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More than 60 Medford police officers and firefighters earned at least $100,000 during the last fiscal year, payroll records show, dominating the list of the top 100 earners in the municipal workforce.

The top earner among public safety workers, Police Captain Alan F. Doherty, made $151,675 during fiscal 2010, which ended June 30, according to payroll information obtained by the Globe through a public records request.

Doherty, the second-highest paid city employee after school Superintendent Roy E. Belson, earned a base salary of $91,725, along with $22,130 in detail pay, $15,561 for educational training, $3,046 in overtime, and $19,213 in a category marked “other’’ on payroll records received by the Globe.

City Treasurer-Collector Alfred P. Pompeo Jr. said in an e-mail that the “other’’ category includes items such as longevity pay, allowances for clothing and travel, and stipends for municipal board members, as well as workers’ compensation.

Doherty was the top earner in fiscal 2008 — the last time the Globe made a records request — with a total compensation of $165,880.19 that included $83,910.42 in base pay, $31,192.78 in overtime, and $21,300 for details.

The number of city workers earning at least $100,000 jumped by 10 from 2008 to 2010, with 87 in the recent data compared to 77 two years ago.

While Doherty earned the highest salary on the police force in fiscal 2010, other officers collected higher payments for details and overtime.

Patrolman Paul F. Giordano, who collected the sixth-highest city salary ahead of the mayor and other higher ranking officers, earned $145,856, including $47,907 in details and $18,332 in overtime, records show. Six other police officers collected at least $40,000 in combined detail pay and overtime.

Police Chief Leo A. Sacco Jr., the fifth-highest paid city employee at $146,982, did not return a call seeking comment on officers’ compensation for details and overtime.

Belson, who earned $157,500 head ing a school department serving about 4,800 students in grades kindergarten through 12, noted that he earns either as much or slightly less than colleagues in neighboring districts. In addition, he said, he has served in Medford for 15 years, while most superintendents stay in a district for only a few years.

“It’s a little bit of a hometown discount,’’ he said.

In Brookline, with a student enrollment of about 6,500, Superintendent William Lupini was the highest paid public employee at $220,208 total compensation for fiscal 2010.

Medford School Committee member William O’Keefe Jr., a vocal critic of Belson, accused him of concealing information about the school department budget.

His “contract expires this year,’’ O’Keefe said in an interview. “I, for one, hope we begin the process of searching for a new superintendent.’’

But School Committee vice chairwoman Paulette Van der Kloot defended Belson’s pay and performance, praising his dedication.

“He lives and breathes this job,’’ she said.

Nine other school department employees made at least $100,000, according to city records. Assistant Superintendent Beverly G. Nelson earned $126,376; Medford High School headmaster Paul H. Krueger was paid $114,718; and guidance director Frank L. Howard earned $111,270.

Belson said administrative salaries have increased slightly after 12 top-level positions were eliminated over the last three years, and remaining administrators have taken on more responsibilities.

Mayor Michael J. McGlynn earned $141,296 in fiscal 2010, the city’s seventh-highest salary.

“You’ll find that is comparable to some and lower than others,’’ he said.

City Councilor Robert A. Maiocco, an investment adviser at Wachovia Securities in Boston, said he thinks city employees are being paid fairly.

“But the bottom line is that taxpayers pick up the bill,’’ he said, adding that personnel costs are exacting a greater toll in neighboring Malden, where 10 members of the Fire Department were recently laid off and a firehouse closed.

Meanwhile, “we’re getting a new ladder truck sometime later this month’’ at a cost of about $700,000, Maiocco said. “We’re going in the opposite direction.’’

Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com.

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