J. Dale Shoemaker is a reporter for PublicSource concentrating on city government and data analysis. He is a 2016 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and a former PublicSource intern.
Prior to joining the team here, he covered local and breaking news in Bethlehem and Allentown, Pa., as an intern for The Morning Call.
Originally from Duncansville, Pa., he also covered environmental news as an intern for The Allegheny Front and was the managing editor of The Pitt News, Pitt’s daily and independent student newspaper. While writing for The Pitt News, he earned a Student Keystone Press Award for his profile of Ophelia Ferguson, a popular cashier on campus. And in May 2015, he was awarded a Heinz Endowments Grant to pursue his internship at The Allegheny Front.
An audit released by the Allegheny County Controller's office on Wednesday highlighted issues with the county's use of piggyback contracts. The county's Director of Administrative Services disputed parts of the audit.
The City of Pittsburgh spent more than $216 million to pay its employees in 2018. According to city spokesman Tim McNulty, the city budgeted $219.5 million for employee salaries, overtime and bonuses and spent $3.4 million less than expected. Overall, salary data analyzed by PublicSource showed the city actually spent $235.9 million on salaries, overtime and bonuses for 3,982 employees in 2018. But, McNulty said, that total includes money paid to employees from grants and other funding sources aside from city tax dollars, including payments from third parties for off-duty police and medics. Over the last five years, premium pay spending for city employees has increased.
Allegheny County's spending on overtime pay has steadily increased over the past five years. In 2014, the county paid out roughly $20.7 million in overtime. Fast forward to 2018, the most recent data available, and the county's expense on overtime pay has jumped to about $30.1 million. The overtime pay for 2018 went to 3,570 employees, which accounts for just more than half of the county workforce. However, employees of the Kane Regional Centers and the Allegheny County Jail made the majority of the overtime pay, earning $16.7 million total.
Pittsburgh City Council members gave preliminary approval to three bills that would ban the use of assault weapons and some gun accessories and allow guns to be taken from a person when an extreme risk protection order is filed against them.