DATA VIZ: How much Municipality of Anchorage employees cost during FY2017

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Editors Note: This story has been modified to include a quote from the mayor's communications director, concerning compensation figures for a firefighter.

(App users, to view this interactive data visualization, follow this link).

Data is sourced from the Alaska Policy Forum and the Municipality of Anchorage. It includes 3,330 Municipality of Anchorage employees’ payrolls for the 2017 fiscal year.

According to the Alaska Policy Forum, total compensation packages includes benefits, which are approximately one-third of the cost of an employee.

Also, costs are not what the employee sees in a paycheck, rather these amounts show the total cost to the employer – taxpayer.

The Alaska Policy Forum also notes that employee costs for utilities (Anchorage Waste & Water Utility, Solid Waste Services and Municipal Light & Power) are not directly paid by taxpayers. Instead, these costs are included in customers' utility bills.

Check out the first tab of the interactive data visualization, above, to:
• Compare the total compensation package pay of Unique IDs – individual employees' payrolls.
• Compare total compensation amounts by MOA department.

Check out the second tab of the interactive data visualization, above, to:
• Compare individual employees' regular pay and benefits, separately.

On Wednesday, the Alaska Policy Forum released Municipality of Anchorage's full 2017 payroll to the public.

According to the nonprofit, 72 percent of full-time city government employees cost taxpayers over $100,000. Of the 3,330 total employees, 2,940 were hired as full-time. There were 390 part-time/seasonal/temporary employees last year.

On average, full-time employees cost $128,162 in 2017. Moreover, the Alaska Policy Forum calculated that "one full-time employee cost the taxpayer $97,739 in overtime alone."

Last year, the highest-cost, full-time employee was a firefighter (Unique ID No. 1135), who's total compensation was $701,476. According to the Alaska Policy Forum, this high cost "apparently involved some back wages."

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." City officials and the Alaska Policy Forum said Wednesday the figure includes payments from an legal action involving back wages.

Departments with high employee costs (over $100,000):
• 100 percent of employees in the Office of Management & Budget
• 86 percent in the Planning Department
• 84 percent in the Traffic Department
• 82 percent at the Port of Anchorage

Also, these four department all have under 40 employees, each.

When calculating the average salary – benefits excluded – of all city employees, average earnings came out to $80,026.

In 2017, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz (Unique ID No. 223) cost a taxpayer $185,571. Moreover, the data indicates that 412 city employees cost more than the mayor.

To see how much each city employee cost MOA during fiscal year 2017, use the data visualization above.

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