Kane Community Living Centers employees led the Allegheny County workforce in overtime for 2019. (Connor Mulvaney/PublicSource)

After five years of increases, overtime costs for Allegheny County dropped roughly 2% in 2019. Spending dropped from $30.1 million in 2018 to $29.5 million last year.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the county this year has estimated a decrease of about $700,000 in overtime spending from March through May 2020, compared to those months in 2019, according to Allegheny County Budget and Finance Department Director Mary Soroka.

“Overtime is routinely reviewed by management to try to control spending,” Soroka said in a statement to PublicSource. “Managing all costs is a budget goal.”

Employees in 18 of the county’s 27 departments received overtime pay last year.

While a greater percentage of police department employees earned overtime last year, the lion’s share of costs went to pay staff at the county’s four nursing homes. These costs totaled $8.7 million for 989 Kane Community Living Centers employees. 

Allegheny County Jail employees took home the second-most overtime pay at $7.9 million.

PublicSource has provided spending transparency on salaries, premium and other pay for city, county and state employees since 2014, because it is, after all, taxpayer money.

You can download the salary data we obtained through a Right-to-Know, here. To explore previous years, click here.

County totals in 2019

Salaries by department

The largest and most expensive county departments in 2019 were the Kane Community Living Centers and the Department of Human Services. Kane Regional Centers, the county nursing home system, employed 1,133 people at a cost of $48.5 million. The Department of Human Services, which provides child protection services, drug addiction resources and other programs, paid $46.3 million to 1,054 employees last year.

Gender & race of workforce

The ratio of Black and white workers closely resemble the county’s demographics.

White individuals accounted for 80.1% of county residents and the county government’s workforce, while Black individuals comprised 13.4% of the county population and 17.6% of county employees.

The county population is 4.1% Asian, though county employees who identify as Asian account for 1.07% of the county workforce. And the county is 2.2% Latinx, but Latinx county employees account for .62% of its workforce.

Median salaries & disparities

While the county workforce is nearly evenly split between men and women, their pay is not equal. The median full-time pay for women was $45,940 while the median full-time salary for men was $55,994.

Top 25 earners

Allegheny County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Karl E. Williams was the top-paid county employee in 2019, earning $208,065. He displaced former Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker, who departed in August 2019. Hacker’s annual salary (set at $226,225 in 2019) had made her the top-paid county employee since 2014.

Here are the 25 county employees in 2019 whose salaries – before benefits, bonuses and/or overtime – were the highest:

Employees who made more than Fitzgerald

Including overtime and bonuses, 604 Allegheny County employees in 2019 earned more money than County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who has an annual salary of $90,000.

Nicole C. Brambila is the local government reporter for PublicSource. She can be reached at 412-515-0072 or nicole@publicsource.org.

This story was fact-checked by Eric Holmberg.

Know more than you did before? Support this work with a MATCHED gift!

Through Dec. 31, the Wyncote Foundation, Loud Hound Foundation and our generous local match pool supporters will match your new monthly donation 12 times or double your one-time gift, all up to $1,000. Now that's good news!

Readers tell us they can't find the information they get from our reporting anywhere else, and we're proud to provide this important service for our community. We work hard to produce accurate, timely, impactful journalism without paywalls that keeps our region informed and moving forward.

However, only about .1% of the people who read our stories contribute to our work financially. Our newsroom depends on the generosity of readers like yourself to make our high-quality local journalism possible, and the costs of the resources it takes to produce it have been rising, so each member means a lot to us.

Your MATCHED donation to our nonprofit newsroom helps ensure everyone in Allegheny County can stay up-to-date about decisions and events that affect them. Please make your gift of support now.

Nicole C. Brambila was a reporter for PublicSource between 2019 and 2020.