Massachusetts Turnpike's 172 cops paid average $150k/yr, most toll collectors $60k

January 23, 2009

Massachusetts is a police state. Not in governance of course, but in pay - if the Massachusetts Turnpike's 2008 payroll is any measure. The Boston Herald put the data on their website this morning. We imported that into an Excel spreadsheet which generates some amazing data on police pay and police costs to the Turnpike. The 138 miles (222km)  of the Turnpike has 172 state troopers on payroll fulltime, paid in 2008 an average of $150,537 for the year.

Data are gross pay for 2008 and include overtime payments, but not the value of benefits which can cost the Turnpike an extra 50% over and above pay.  Police generally retire at about half pay after 25 to 30 years of service.

A ranking of Turnpike employees by pay shows it has nine employees with pay last year of over $200k, all of them cops. Top of the $-pile was Lieutenant John F O'Grady who got $240,809.52. Another Lieutenant was close behind at $240,493.24.  Six police sergeants and one trooper got over $200k last year.

The 65 highest paid officers on the Massachusetts Turnpike payroll of 1,821 persons were cops.

These 65 Turnpike cops, most of them state troopers, all got more than Alan LeBovidge, executive director who got $163k.

Second paid non-cop after the executive director was Marie Breen Legal Counsel who received $153k and ranked 90th in pay ranking after 88 cops and the executive director.

197 employees of the Turnpike last year took gross pay of $100k or more and of these 153 were cops and 44 were non-police. Only 19 of the 172 Turnpike police took home less than $100k/yr. 

In addition to the 172 fulltime state police on the state Turnpike payroll averaging $150k/yr average, there were 189 state police 'Special Detail Employees' apparently state police assigned ('detailed' in the jargon) part-time to the Turnpike. They averaged $16.3k.

Note: the payroll figures do not represent an annual pay scale. They are boosted above annual pay scales by overtime and allowance payments. Offsetting that they are depressed by those who worked only part of the year.

Total police pay on the Mass Pike in 2008 was $29m. 

Turnpike officials say that police pay is out of their hands, set by state negotiations and labor contracts.

78% cop cost over-run

There's a huge discrepancy between "projected" police pay in 2008 ($14.5m) and actual pay ($25.9m), a 78% over-run. Average projected pay of the 172 cops was $84.5k vs average actual pay of $150.5k.

Way out of line

Even if half the $150k/yr was overtime payments the Mass Pike cops' pay is way out of line with the US average according to PayScale, a research service on pay scales for various occupations. They say average US police wage is a bit over $50k/yr (see barchart nearby.)'s_Patrol_Officer/Salary

US Bureau of Labor Statistics show the annual mean wage of state police officers was $55,780 in 2007.


Those statistics show Boston area police officers as having a mean annual wage scale of $53,320 - barely a third of the average pay including overtime on the Mass Pike.

The Turnpike doesn't separate police costs out from other operating costs in its annual financial accounts but it seems likely that with gross pay of $29m that after accounting for police benefits, fuel and service on police vehicles, communications, weaponry, uniforms and suchlike that total police costs are in the range $50m to $60m/year.

$55m would be 20% of toll revenues which are $275m/year.

State Police assigned to the Turnpike are Troop E with a head office and tunnels substation near the Ted Williams Tunnel in South Boston and three other sub-stations along the length of the Turnpike. The Bid Dig, most untolled but maintained by the Turnpike, added heavily to police costs.

Toll collectors top pay $97.6k, median $60k

The toll collection department had 643 employees, both full and part-time and their average pay was $41,582. Total cost of toll collectors pay was less at $26.7m than the cost of cops at $29m. The Turnpike is also in the process of reducing the toll collection staff by about 100.

Chief of Toll Operations Stephen Collins received $126k considerably less than the average cop on the Pike.

The top toll collector's pay was $97,588.

21 toll collectors took home over $80k, 72 more than $70k, 211 more than $60k, 300 more than $50k, 392 over $40k, 434 over $30k. There was a concentration in the $60k to $70k range for toll collectors, representing the typical fulltime pay.

State police on the Turnpike have a concentration in the $160k to $170k range.

Average pay of $59.5k

All 1821 employees on the Massachusetts Turnpike payroll had pay of $108.3m or $59.5k average. But the payroll contained 12 persons who received no pay, one of whom is Mary Z Connaughton, listed as a Director, Administration. Connaughton, now an independent financial consultant is a prominent member of the board of the Turnpike Authority.

529 of the 1822 employees earned under $40k, part year or part-time workers. The 1293 paid $40k or more were paid a total of $100.7m or an average of $77,879.

Total Turnpike payroll, police, toll collectors, administration, maintenance and others consumed 39c ($108.3/$275) in every toll dollar.

Data was published by the Boston Herald this morning and supplied by the Turnpike under a state open public records law. But the numbers in the narrative above are TOLLROADSnews' manipulation of the data in an Excel spreadsheet.

Here's our Excel spreadsheet of the payroll:

TOLLROADSnews 2009-01-23

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