Highest paid city employee made $491,400 last year — salary figures for 2022 are out

Palo Alto City Hall. Post file photo.

Daily Post Correspondent

Palo Alto’s city manager is typically the city’s highest paid employee, but that wasn’t the case last year, when Fire Capt. Barry Marchisio took the top spot with $491,400 in total pay.

Here’s the list.

City Manager Ed Shikada was the second-highest paid employee, making $395,466. Another fire captain, Matthew Goglio, came in third place with $373,295 in total pay.

The city released the salary figures last week in its open data portal. The data are for calendar year 2022.

Total pay for all city employees grew by 6% last year, reaching $131 million compared to $124 million in 2021. That’s after total payroll shrunk by 1.5% in 2021, as the city grappled with the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Total payroll in 2020 was $126 million, which was about the same as in 2019.

The city also spent $17.9 million in 2022 for employee benefits, including medical, dental and vision coverage. That’s similar to the $17.7 million spent on benefits in 2021 and $17.6 million in 2020.

In addition, the city spent $54 million on contributions to worker pensions in 2022, compared to $49 million the previous year.

Total pay includes regular pay, overtime, cashed out amounts such as vacation time, and other pay, such as car or housing allowances. It does not include employee benefits such as contributions to pensions or health coverage.

For Marchisio, the highest-paid city employee, the total pay of $491,400 included $144,421 in regular pay, $58,033 in overtime, $12,817 in other pay and $276,130 in cash-out pay. Marchisio’s cash-out pay was by far the largest for the city in 2022.

According to the city, Marchisio’s large cash-out payment was a special case. The fire captain retired in November after 40 years of service.

Under the city’s agreement with the firefighters union, workers hired before Dec. 31, 1983 and with at least 15 years of service are eligible to cash out their sick time when they leave their job with the city. The sick time is paid according to a formula: 2.5% of unused sick-time hours multiplied by years of continuous service and the hourly pay rate at the time the employee leaves.

Marchisio was the last city employee eligible for the sick-time cash out because no other current employees were hired before 1983, the city said.

Total pay for Shikada, the city manager, included $373,482 in regular pay plus $21,984 in cash-out pay, for a total of $395,466. Shikada’s total pay was up 2.5% compared to $385,896 in 2021.

Fire Capt. Goglio received overtime pay of $197,436 in 2022, the highest amount of overtime Palo Alto paid to an employee last year. Goglio also received $163,791 in regular pay, $10,346 in cash-out pay and $1,722 in other pay, landing him in the No. 3 spot with $373,295 in total pay.

Utilities system operator Raymond Herrera received the second-highest amount of overtime last year, at $130,643. His total pay was $317,076.

Nearly $10 million in overtime

The city’s overtime payments in 2022 totaled $9.9 million. Among the 20 workers who received the most overtime pay, 17 were fire department employees, two were in the police department and one was in the utilities department.

City Attorney Molly Stump was the fourth-highest paid city employee last year, with $358,014 in total pay. That included $25,316 in cash-out pay. In fifth place was Police Chief Andrew Binder, with $333,005 in total pay.

Ten city workers made more than $300,000 in total pay last year, compared to seven employees in 2021 and three in 2020.

Fewer positions

During the pandemic, the city slashed 86 full-time and 102 part-time positions, bringing the workforce to 956 full-time positions and 81 part-time positions. But now, staffing levels are coming back up.

In the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30, the city increased staffing by 62 positions. And the city manager’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year would increase city staffing by the equivalent of 34 full-time positions, for a total of 1,052 full-time positions.

“While there is continued unknowns and uncertainties ahead, the FY 2024 proposed budget offers … a sense of informed optimism as we bounce forward into 2024,” Shikada said.

The city has also been looking for ways to attract and retain workers.

As part of those efforts, the proposed budget includes $400,000 for a child care pilot program. Employees would receive subsidies for sending their children to childcare or after-school care in Palo Alto.