Pittsburgh spent about $252.7 million to pay 4,037 employees in 2019, a PublicSource review of salary data shows. That figure comprises salary, overtime and bonuses, and represents a roughly 7% increase over the 2018, when the city had 55 fewer employees.
In the City of Pittsburgh, 59 municipal employees — including refuse workers, school crossing guards and administrative clerks — earn below the $15-per-hour benchmark that labor advocates have been pushing for nationally.
In Allegheny County, 169 full-time government workers still need wage increases to hit that benchmark. They include food-service workers and housekeepers at Kane Community Living Centers, among others.
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.
At times, government may seem like a black hole with little transparency on how your tax dollars are being spent. That’s why shedding light on how the state of Pennsylvania spends your money is a top priority of ours. As we have been since 2014, PublicSource requested and is publishing data on the salaries that state government employees earned in 2017. All told, those figures account for several billion dollars of taxpayer money. Our data includes the agency an employee works for, when they were hired, their annual salary and the overtime they earned.
While you may be spending a third of your budget on housing or paying off debt, Allegheny County spends about a third of its budget on employee salaries. In 2017, 35 percent of the county’s operating budget went to paychecks. That line item, however, did not include health insurance or other benefits workers receive. PublicSource publishes data on the employee salaries from Allegheny County, the City of Pittsburgh and the state of Pennsylvania each year because we think residents should see how their tax dollars are spent. We've been reporting on salaries since 2014.