The pay is taking off at Massport — home to Logan Airport — with a 30% jump year-over-year in those earning $100,000 or more, a Herald analysis shows.
For the first time, the two top bosses are also piloting the quasi-state agency at the lofty pay of $400,000 a year.
The payroll for quasi-state agencies, autonomous fiefdoms that run with various degrees of taxpayer underwriting, has just been updated for 2022 and Massport leads the way with 716 employees who earned $100,000 or more — a 29.24% increase in one year, state Comptroller records show.
The two top Massport executives, CEO Lisa Wieland and Director of Aviation Edward Freni, now make $417,609 and $413,678, respectively.
The climbing pay is the latest example of public payrolls in the state ballooning, mostly due to rampant overtime, but also the result of pay hikes. As the Herald has reported in the New Year in the annual “Your Tax Dollars at Work” report, there seems to be no ceiling.
“The state seems to be running out of control,” said MassFiscal’s Paul Craney, a longtime watchdog who is sounding the alarm on big pay in big government.
“There’s a lot of people trying to test the new governor to see if she’s willing to stand up for the taxpayers or even care,” he added. “It’s overwhelming. No one seems too concerned in this massive growth in payroll.”
A Massport spokeswoman said business is booming at the airport and port now that the pandemic is on the slide.
“In the last year, Massport’s business activity rose significantly, with passenger growth at Logan up by 60%. Total staffing remains below our pre-pandemic number and Massport implemented a furlough program (effective pay cut) in 2021. We are actively competing with other organizations and the private sector to recruit top talent,” the agency said in an emailed statement.
This all comes as some “eye-popping” overtime was doled out last year, as the Herald first reported last month.
Those big OT winners — usually dominated by State Police — now include nurses, MBTA workers and corrections officers. The pandemic with all its COVID testing and protocols must be a factor, but the hours add up fast.
The pay ranged from $478,172 for a Department of Mental Health nurse (who claimed $295,189 in overtime) to a state trooper paid $334,083 last year ($197,732 in OT).
Even the state Legislature is getting into the pay-hike habit, where stipends range from around $7,000 to nearly $90,000. That’s serious cash that’s basically doubling Speaker Ron Mariano’s and Senate President Karen Spilka’s pay with $109,163 stipends for holding court in those top jobs.
The king of the hill, as is true every year, remains the UMass system — home to the highest-paid public employees in Massachusetts, with three top earners all pushing past $1 million a year. They are all doctors who teach or run the medical school.
But, The UMass system had 4,447 employees who earned $100,000 and up, records show.
It’s your tax money, and it’s being spent from the big agencies to the semi-secret, quasi-state offices.
Go to bostonherald.com to view all the public payrolls and now Massport’s.
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