The top annual salary for a San Jose police officer is $86,000. But one officer last year more than doubled that figure, earning a total of nearly $175,400. How? The city’s Mercury News examines “special pays,” a combination of overtime, on-call work and other extras that put this officer among the 100 highest-paid of the city’s 6,800 employees. It’s all perfectly legal and above-board.
And the officer was hardly alone – one firefighter with an $84,000 salary was paid more than $163,000 last year, according to city records. While those are extreme examples, they show that for many city employees – in civilian as well as public safety jobs – their salary is just the beginning of their take-home pay. San Jose’s compensation structure includes 135 categories of extra pay, though no single employee can get them all. The city’s average employee salary and benefit costs have risen 45 percent since 2000.