Mayor Eric Adams is the top boss of roughly 300,000 city employees, but in his first year in office he was only the Big Apple’s 418th highest-paid employee, according to a new report from the think tank Empire Center for Public Policy.
The city shelled out $2.53 billion in overtime in Fiscal Year 2023, which ran from July 2022 to June 2023, a $90 million increase from the $2.44 billion doled out the prior year, according to the Empire Center, which analyzed publicly available city payroll records.
A total of 864 city employees pulled in more than $100,000 in OT, while nine raked in double that. Meanwhile, 83 employees clocked at least 2,000 hours of OT. Three of them topped 3,000 hours of OT, which would equate to about 96 hours on the clock every week of the year, according to the think tank.
“When you see people getting 3000 hours of overtime per year, it at least warrants closer inspection,” said Ken Girardin, Empire Center’s director of research.
The city’s highest-paid employee last year was Dayrell Thomas, the administrative chief at the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. He made $579,096 in Fiscal Year 2023, including $479,358 in “other pay” upon his retirement in December.
The city’s overtime champ, meanwhile, was Dhimiter Nushi, a plumber at the New York City Housing Authority. He collected $245,420 for working 1,955 hours of overtime.
Nushi was one of 29 NYCHA plumbers who earned more compensation than the mayor last year. Across all city agencies, 80 plumbers pulled in six figures of OT.
Three-quarters of those employees making over $100,000 in overtime came from three agencies: the Correction Department, the Fire Department, and NYCHA. At DOC, where 342 employees pulled in six figures of OT, the average extra pay stood at $28,388, with average overall pay at $107,170.
The city’s average daily jail population was 6,277 last month, according to the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services, which is 8% higher than a year ago but overall is below averages seen over the past decade.
“The Rikers numbers stood out because the incarcerated population is down from past years overall,” said Girardin. “And the rise in overtime in Corrections is definitely a blinking yellow light.”
The city’s highest-paid agency chief is Schools Chancellor David Banks, who hauled in $363,346. Mayor Adams himself made $258,041.
Historically, the agency with the largest share of overtime beyond its allotted budget has been the Police Department, according to City Comptroller Brad Lander. Last year, the city shelled out $671 million in NYPD overtime, 90% more than what was budgeted.
Despite overtime being up, city payroll overall is down slightly from last year, at $31.1 billion for Fiscal Year 2023.
The mayor has spent the bulk of the past year warning of potential fiscal catastrophe caused by the ongoing influx of migrants into the city. He’s said the migrant crisis could end up costing the city $12 billion by 2025, and has pled to little success for help from the federal government. The mayor has repeatedly ordered city agencies to slash their budgets to reflect the Big Apple’s fiscal uncertainty.
Partially as a result of that, as well as recruitment and retention challenges, city agencies have dealt with chronic understaffing throughout the Adams administration. The consequences of that range from slow processing of applications for food stamps, rental assistance, and cash benefits, to laggard progress on completing capital improvements at parks or on the city’s streets. But they also include a greater reliance on overtime when there are fewer staffers available to complete tasks, Girardin noted.
Spokespersons for the city’s 418th highest-paid employee did not return inquiries for comment.