Website outlines cost of municipal employees

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Alaska Policy Forum on Wednesday released an online database of the salaries and benefits for municipal workers.

Bethany Marcum, Executive Director of Alaska Policy Forum, said the information is public record and available on request.

"It's up to individuals and city tax payers to decide if the appropriate levels of compensation are being paid for their tax dollars to these individuals for the services they are provided" Marcum said.

Anchorage municipal employees, on average, cost $128,162 in 2017, according to Alaska Policy Forum.

The organization calculated that "one full-time employee cost the taxpayer $97,739 in overtime alone." and the highest cost full-time employee was a firefighter, who came in at $701,476. Both the Alaska Policy Forum and the Mayor's Office said the high number for that firefighter was from back wages from lawsuits.

In a text message to Channel 2 News Wednesday evening, Kristin DeSmith, communications director for Mayor Berkowitz wrote, "The report said that a firefighter made 700k. That was not his annual salary, but salary plus settlement. I think that is totally misrepresenting things."

Alaska Policy Forum's analysis of the payroll shows that 72% of full-time city government employees cost the taxpayer more than $100,000 in pay and benefits.

Bill Falsey, Municipal Manager stressed that the cost of full-time employees includes benefits.

"It's a fully loaded cost, it includes the cost of benefits and health care as well," said Falsey, adding he believes the compensation the city is offering is reasonable. "In general they are on a par and it turns benefits are the total compensation of municipal employees and that is true across the public sector and the private sector," said Falsey.

Marcum said her organization feels the public needs to be aware of the pay figures.

"In order for citizens to hold their elected officials accountable they need to have the facts, information and data," said Marcum.

You can view the organization's database at this website.

Channel 2 News has prepared a data visualization based on the figures. Click here.



 
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