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Which city of Fresno employees were paid the most in 2017?

Fresno City Council
Fresno City Council Fresno Bee file

If you think Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer or Mayor Lee Brand made the most money in 2017 of all city employees, those are good guesses. But they're wrong.

Transparent California, a site that provides compensation information on public employees in California, recently released 2017 numbers for the city of Fresno. It's funded by the Nevada Policy Research Institute. Transparent California's data comes from public records requests.

Here's how the city's top-paid employees stacked up.

FFD-Kerri Donis
Chief Kerri Donis shared helmet cam video of a recent rescue performed by Fresno firefighters. She says it underscores the larger problem of too many vacant buildings in Fresno catching fire. That just adds to the workload of one of the busiest fire departments in the nation, she says. Fresno Fire Department
5. Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis

Donis, the highest paid woman in the city of Fresno, took home $199,973 in 2017, Transparent California numbers show. Her benefits cost about $50,000.

Donis was the first woman named to the top post in the fire department in 2014. She's been with the department since the mid-1990s. She is Fresno's 15th fire chief.

4. City Attorney Doug Sloan

Sloan's total pay for 2017 was $224,325. He received about $13,000 in "other pay," Transparent California shows.

Sloan was named city attorney in 2013 after working as assistant city attorney.

The city attorney is one of two city employees hired by the city council. (The other is the city clerk.)

The City Attorney’s Office represents and advises the mayor, city council, other city boards and commissions, city officials and city departments on legal matters.

3. Deputy Fire Chief Todd Tuggle

Tuggle made $245,937 in 2017. He earned more than $70,000 in overtime and his benefits cost about $45,000.

He's been with the department since 2003 and was named deputy chief in 2016.

Donis noted Tuggle’s overtime pay represents his out-of-county assignments on incident management teams. The state's Office of Emergency Services reimburses the city of Fresno for that time.

Firefighters frequently are called to help other jurisdictions around the state with fires and other natural disasters that require more manpower. California's 2017 wildfire season was the most destructive season on record.

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Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer John Walker Bee file photo
2. Police Chief Jerry Dyer

If your guess for top paid was Dyer, you were close. He's No. 2 and was No. 1 in 2016, according to Transparent California. In 2017, Dyer's wages totaled $247,232.

Dyer started as a cadet with the Fresno Police Department in 1979. He's been chief for nearly 20 years.

His contract ends in October 2019.

The October date coincides with when Dyer must officially retire under terms of the city’s Deferred Retirement Option Program, or DROP, which allows older employees to continue working while diverting pension payments to a supplemental retirement fund. Dyer, 59, "retired" as chief in 2011, but agreed to stay on the job under the DROP system.

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Retired Fresno City Manager Bruce Rudd MARK CROSSE Fresno Bee file photo
1. Retired City Manager Bruce Rudd

The city employee who made the most no longer works for the city. He retired Aug. 1 after returning to work on an interim basis from his first retirement.

He's Bruce Rudd, Ashley Swearengin's city manager who Brand asked to stick around when he became mayor. In 2017, Rudd collected $447,772 in wages, according to newly released numbers from Transparent California.

But only about half of that money was what Transparent California calls "regular wages."

Rudd took home $213,000 in "other wages." About $6,000 of that was for a travel allowance, city spokesman Mark Standriff said. The remainder of that was a payout for vacation and leave time Rudd accumulated over four decades working for the city. He also received $27,955 in benefits.

Rudd retired after more than 40 years working for the city in multiple departments. Wilma Quan-Schecter was named city manager in April 2017, the first woman to hold the position. She was paid $196,594 in 2017, according to Transparent California.

And, for the record, the mayor made about $128,000 and councilmembers typically make about $65,000.

Brianna Calix: 559-441-6166, @BriannaCalix
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