Police, Fire Dominate List of Top 100 Highest Paid in 2016

By Seth Daniel

More than 75 percent of the Top 100 highest paid City employees in 2016 came from either the Police Department or the Fire Department, with 76 of the highest paid employees coming from public safety.

The Top 100 list was released this week by the City for 2016, and once again Chief Brian Kyes was at the top of the list making $226,068, which is down by about $3,000 from last year and is buoyed by details and contractual payments for things such as his law degree.

The top six highest paid employees were all from the Police Department, and the CPD had the highest number of employees on the list, with 41. That comes in part from the fact that their earnings reflect detail pay for hours worked outside the normal shift. Detail pay is usually funded by outside entities and not tax dollars.

On the Fire Department, 35 of the Top 100 came from that department.

The next highest numbers came from the School Department, with 20 employees from that area.

Altogether, police, fire and schools grabbed 96 of the Top 100 spots.

This year, City Manager Tom Ambrosino cracked the list in his first full year on the job, coming in at #11 and making $171,400 per his contract. He did not appear on the list last year as he was only on the job for six months of 2015.

In last year’s list (for 2015), the balance of highest paid employees went to the Fire Department, with 44 of the top 100 spots. Last year, police comprised 38 of the Top 100. The higher figures for the Fire Department in 2015 came from state money paid for overtime to the Department due to the Washington Avenue Bridge being closed for a good part of that year.

Kyes said his salary is contractual and contains the extra money due to the fact that he is a licensed attorney. Prior to become the chief, he had a law practice on the side. As a chief, he would have been allowed to continue that law practice for 16 hours per week. Instead, he opted to be allowed to perform detail work for 16 hours a week so he could do that work in the City of Chelsea – giving him more hours on the ground in the City.

However, that aspect of his contract will end on June 30, 2017, as he announced this week that he has renegotiated his contract and agreed not to work details any longer in exchange for a longer contract and a pay raise.

Kyes said his actual salary minus details falls in the middle of the pack for Massachusetts police chiefs.

In Revere, for comparison, Chief Joe Cafarelli made $213,872 in 2016, and his pay does not include extra hours worked on details. By contract, he is not allowed to work details.

The highest paid School Department employee was Supt. Mary Bourque, who made $175,555 in 2016.

By comparison, Revere Supt. Dianne Kelley – who was in her first year in 2016 – made $191,912 in 2016.

Bourque was recently named the state Superintendent of the Year for 2016 as well.

Of overall note, the Top 100 municipal employees all made more than $110,000 per year.

Just 15 years ago, only a scant few municipal employees in Chelsea made more than $110,000.

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