More than 100 Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority bus and train operators took home paychecks topping $100,000 in fiscal 2006 because of lush overtime earnings that have skewed Metros budget and sent pension costs spiraling out of control under a uniquely generous employee retirement plan.
Overall, Metro paid its employees $70 million in overtime in 2006 and is on track to spend the same amount in this budget year, according to a recent audit report, continuing a trend of high overtime costs that have plagued Metros budgets for years.
Roughly $30 million of the overtime payments went to Metros 2,400 bus operators and 500 train operators, 125 of whom earned more than $100,000 that year. Another 284 hourly Metro workers in other departments earned more than $100,000 because of overtime. Only 180 of Metros salaried management employees earned more than $100,000.
In some cases, the overtime wages accounted for nearly half of an operator’s annual paycheck, meaning the employee is working significantly more than the usual 40 hours each week. Thirty operators took home more than $50,000 in overtime.
The two highest-paid train operators, who earned $153,759 and $152,891 respectively, earned $74,208 and $73,659 in overtime. The highest-paid bus operators collected $127,653 and $126,457, received $53,696 and $52,490, in overtime. In other cases, overtime accounted for almost 50 percent of an employees paychecks in 2006.
Wow! Nuclear scientists make less than that! Unbelievable.