T maintenance worker paid $315,000

Official says employee worked 2,600 hours of overtime

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

THE HIGHEST-PAID MBTA EMPLOYEE has been paid about $315,000 so far in 2015, working 4,455 hours, MBTA Chief Administrator Brian Shortsleeve told the T’s Fiscal and Management Control Board on Monday.

That worker, who is a maintenance of way employee, receives a base salary of $85,000 and worked about 2,600 hours of overtime, according to the T. The employee also received $59,000 in back pay this year.

Lisa Calise, a member of the control board, noted the unnamed worker was on the clock for an “incredible number of hours” – the equivalent of two full-time employees.

Calise suggested an audit be undertaken on the situation, asking, “Is this case an anomaly?”

Shortsleeve’s presentation occurred amid discussions of fare increases and cuts to The Ride and early-morning weekend service. A $242 million deficit is projected for fiscal 2017.

MBTA employees received over $100,000 in gross pay this year at a greater rate than executive branch employees, according to Shortsleeve’s presentation. About 24 percent of the 6,482 T employees have grossed over $100,000, compared to 7.7 percent of the 44,141 executive branch employees.

Some retroactive pay raises went into effect this year at the T, according to MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo.

The average $35.58 hourly wage for MBTA rail employees exceeds the average for the top five American transit agencies and is 30 percent above the national average, according to Shortsleeve’s presentation.

Meet the Author

Andy Metzger

Law student, Temple University

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger is currently studying law at Temple University in Philadelphia. Previously, he joined  CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger is currently studying law at Temple University in Philadelphia. Previously, he joined  CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

For MBTA bus operators, who make an average of $34.99 per hour, the disparity is even greater. T bus drivers make about 50 percent more than the national average and significantly more than the average of the top five US transit agencies average.

Shortsleeve’s presentation cited an analysis of John A. Dash & Associates.