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WALTHAM

Mayor ranks 26th in city pay

Police dominate annual salary list

By Megan McKee
Globe Correspondent / October 14, 2010

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Though Waltham’s mayor said she often works seven days a week because of meetings and events, she ranked 26th on a list of the city’s top earners, taking a back seat to several rank-and-file police officers who bolstered their earnings through detail and overtime work.

Mayor Jeannette McCarthy made $124,839 in fiscal year 2010, while 17 police officers earned more, according to a review of the city’s payroll records for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Waltham’s top earner for the year was the school district’s top executive, Superintendent Peter Azar, who made $160,250 and “abandoned’’ his job in August, according to the School Committee.

Police Chief Thomas Lacroix came in second with $159,731 while two of his senior staff took the third and fourth spots. Lieutenant Anthony Vazquez earned $158,486, thanks in part to $59,229 in detail and overtime pay, while Lieutenant Kevin O’Connell earned $156,659, which included $51,455 in detail and overtime pay.

Fire Chief Richard Cardillo was the city’s fifth-highest earner with a total of $155,787.

Other police personnel topping the mayor include rank-and-file officers Gerard Corbett, who came in at number nine after boosting his $79,582 salary with $67,745 in police details and overtime for a total of $147,327; Jorge Orta, 19th on the list, with $55,386 in details and overtime added to his $78,491 salary for a total of $133,877; and Anthony Dimasi, number 22, who added $48,616 to his $81,148 salary for a total of $129,764.

Police details are off-duty jobs such as directing traffic around construction sites. Some of the money is paid by private companies that hire the officers, while some comes from city departments needing the coverage. Police spokesman Sergeant Tim King said there were many construction projects last year that allowed officers to make more money. He said officers are barred from working more than two shifts in a row — 16 hours — though there are no weekly limits.

McCarthy said that although she is “on-call 24/7’’ and often works nights so she can be out in the community during the day, she has no problems with her pay.

“I’m not complaining about the salary,’’ she said. But McCarthy said that she would be making more money as a lawyer for the city if she hadn’t quit that job in 2000.

Instead, she takes home a base pay of $116,139, and voluntarily forfeited her raise for the past two fiscal years. Last year she received $3,000 for mileage reimbursement, as well as additional money for her role chairing the city’s School Committee. In Waltham, School Committee members are paid, as are city councilors.

The decision by Azar, the city’s top earner last year, to leave the superintendent’s job just before classes resumed this fall left officials scrambling to find someone to take the lead. Now, longtime Waltham school administrator Anne Marie Carr-Reardon is running the department on an interim basis while the search for a permanent replacement is conducted.

The salary range for the next superintendent has not been set, said School Committee member Susan Burstein. McCarthy said Azar’s unresolved contract issues, including his exit without the notice period cited in his contract, are nearing a conclusion.

The second-highest-paid school employee was Azar’s former assistant superintendent, T. Alexander Wyeth, who received $153,391 last year. He also is no longer working for Waltham, after the School Committee voted against renewing his contract earlier this year. Burstein said members didn’t discuss their reasons.

Across the city, there were 111 employees who made more than $100,000. Of those, 63 worked for the Police Department, 17 worked for the Fire Department, and 13 worked for the schools.

Of the 63 police officers, only 14 would have reached the $100,000 threshold without detail and overtime pay.

Sixty police officers earned a total of $1.43 million by working details, with 40 officers receiving at least $20,000 and six officers at least $40,000.

King, the police spokesman, said the detail pay numbers aren’t broken down by private versus public money.

Overtime pay, which is paid entirely by the city, gave 59 officers an extra $514,887.

Extra pay played a lesser role for the top earners in the Fire Department. Of the 17 members of the Fire Department who made more than $100,000, 11 had a base salary of at least $100,000, and all received at least $94,000.

In addition to Cardillo, Fire Department members near the top of Waltham’s highest-paid list included seven captains, six deputy chiefs, two lieutenants, and one firefighter.

The list of the city’s top 100 earners for last fiscal year can be viewed online at www.boston.com/waltham.

Globe staffer Matt Carroll contributed to this story. He can be reached at mcarroll@ globe.com. Megan McKee can be reached at megan.mckee@gmail.com.

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