Your tax dollars at work: Explore how City of Pittsburgh paid employees in 2018

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(Photo illustration by Natasha Vicens/PublicSource)

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. Premium pay includes overtime and several other categories of pay employees can earn above their regular wages. In 2014, the city paid $42.1 million in premium pay to 2,658 employees. Last year, the city paid $47.9 million in premium pay to 2,811 employees, largely in the Department of Public Safety.

On an annual basis, PublicSource provides transparency into spending on salaries, premium pay and other pay of public employees for the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and Pennsylvania. You can explore past years here.

You can view and download the city salary data we obtained here. You can also view a Jupyter Notebook, a coding tool that shows how we conducted our data analysis.

As you explore the data provided by the city, let us know if you find anything newsworthy that we may have missed.

City totals


*This employee count includes full-time, part-time and temporary workers, as well as interns and former employees who left their jobs sometime in 2018. The count includes elected officials, including Mayor Bill Peduto, City Controller Michael Lamb, and the nine members of City Council. Excluded are people listed in the salary data who earned no money, mostly unpaid interns and 32 other individuals who did not earn money, according to the 2018 data.

Salaries by department

The Department of Public Safety spent the most on salaries in the city. That’s due in part to its size: The Bureau of Police employed nearly 1,200 people; the Bureau of Fire employed about 700 people; and the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services employed more than 200 people.

The Bureau of Public Works Operations, a division of the Department of Public Works, ranks fourth in salary costs among city agencies. Though bureaus are smaller than departments, it employed more than 300 people and paid them nearly $13 million last year.


*The above table includes all city departments as well as several categories that denote employees who were paid with funds other than city tax dollars.

Gender and race breakdown

The city’s workforce is 75% male and 76% white. White men make up 58% of city workers.

Women made up 25% of the city’s workforce, and non-white women made up 8% of the workforce.

According to U.S. Census data, white people make up 64.7% of the city’s population, but white people account for 75.9% of the city’s employees. Similarly, black people make up 23.6% of the population but are 19.7% of the city’s workforce. People of other races account for 12.1% of the city’s population but 3.3% of the city workforce. Those figures include people who identified as Hispanic or Latino.

*The numbers in the charts above don’t equal the total number of city employees because data for some employees’ sex and race was not provided. Census and city population figures are rounded.

Median salaries

By examining city salaries according to race and gender, we can get a sense of any pay disparities that exist among city workers. As PublicSource has reported previously, pay disparities don’t necessarily exist among workers in the same positions, but they do show up across the workforce. That’s due in part to white workers, and white male workers specifically, working higher-paying jobs overall.

In 2018, the median salary of full-time city workers was $53,203. For men working full time, the median salary was $56,637. The median salary for women working full time was $42,451.

To give another sense of the disparities that can emerge when examining salary figures citywide: White men working full time earned a median salary of $60,682 last year. Black women working full time earned a median salary of $42,025.

Salary brackets

Grouping city employees into salary brackets can provide an idea of how pay is distributed among the city workforce. The salary brackets below show 35% of the people the city employed last year earned $40,000 or less.

Top 25 earners, base pay

Here are the 25 City of Pittsburgh employees whose salaries, before benefits, bonuses or overtime, are the highest.

All the people who made more than Peduto

Mayor Bill Peduto is not the city’s highest earner. When considering only base salaries, Peduto was the 13th highest earner in 2018. However, when you include premium pay and other pay, 380 city workers earned more than the mayor last year. The table below is based on total pay. Here are all of the people who made more money than Peduto in 2018:

J. Dale Shoemaker is PublicSource's government and data reporter. You can reach him at 412-515-0060 or by email at dale@publicsource.org. You can follow him on Twitter at @JDale_Shoemaker. He can be reached securely via PGP: bit.ly/2ig07qL

Natasha Vicens is PublicSource's Interactives & Design Editor. She can be reached at natasha@publicsource.org.

This story was fact-checked by Matt Maielli.

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