New York City Sewer Worker Makes $772,000 -- In One Year

Many Americans long for that day when the ship finally comes in. For several New York City employees that day arrived last year when they raked in more than $700,000.

One of the group, Gerald Mistretta, a city sewer worker, made more than the police commissioner, the schools chancellor and the mayor -- combined, reports the New York Daily News.

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The Brooklyn father of three took home $771,841 for the fiscal year that ended in June. The amount included a yearly base salary of $109,850 and $173,000 in overtime -- plus nearly half a million dollars in back pay, according to the tabloid.

Mistretta said the huge lump sum makes up for all the years he went without a raise -- 16.

The payouts resulted from a settlement reached in 2009 after years of legal jousting over Department of Environmental Protection workers' base pay, which resulted in the employees working since 1994 without a contract.

"I know it looks like a whole lot of money," Mistretta told the News. "But people don't realize the hardships we went through.

"It was a very difficult period," he said. "We have families, and colleges to pay for, and mortgages."

Six other senior DEP workers made more than $700,000, while 13 made around $600,000. Another 47 earned about $400,000 to $500,000.

Local 1320 President James Tucciarelli told the News the city has no one to blame but itself for the huge payouts.

"You can't hire skilled trade people to do the jobs ... and then string them out for eight or 13 years without a pay increase and then not expect to see exorbitant back-pay numbers," he said.


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David Schepp

Staff Writer

David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.

Schepp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

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maczenwes

This article demonstrates what's wrong with journalism today, assuming you can call the drivel aol splats up on its site journalism...

"Sewer worker makes over $700,000 ALL IN ONE YEAR! He makes more than the Mayor!" the article screams.

You have actually READ the article to figure out that the statement is false. The person in question earned $500k of that money over the course of 16 years. That's a pay adjustment of around $31,000 per year, and some of that may be interest. The lede is misleading precisely in order to raise your ire and keep you reading this garbage. It's no better than the stuff Mr. Mistretta has to deal with all day.

And if you think that the amount Mr. Mistretta earned under his contract for the last year is excessive (about $280k) I suggest you all try the following:

Raising a family in NYC (where the average apartment costs $1600 a month, and that wont get you a 3 bedroom, trust me)

Working for the city bureaucracy (this one I've done, no picnic I assure you)

Shoveling human manure every day for 16 years+

Ask yourself how much you would want to make for doing that. Not just for one year, oh no, but also for having the experience and savvy and perseverance to do it for more than 16 years. Spending your entire working life dealing with what comes out of people's butts.

Now tell me he makes too much money.

October 06 2011 at 9:16 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
zonajefff

Unions are a scourge on our society and must be eliminated.

September 26 2011 at 12:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan Smith

it's no surprise why are governments are broke and dragging us all under. Unreasonable pay/benefits for public employees has become the expectation. Unsustainable.

September 25 2011 at 11:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
blacklabel

I make $814 per month and my rent is $750 per month, and Im not even mad at this. if you can get the money, get it.. if not.. well then you're like me. haha

September 25 2011 at 10:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jrzshor

i get the back pay issue but a base salary of $110,000 and then 200% in overtime. $300,000 for shoveling crap!? i have two master's degrees and don't make anywhere near a$100k.

September 25 2011 at 10:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Debbie

Ridiculous..unless they are spinning straw to gold..unreasonable salries.

September 12 2011 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jacky76

How can one person work that many hours of OT?? 110k is $53/hr for a 40hr work week. if OT is 1.5*BASE ($79), to get 173k in OT, this guy worked 2,189 hours of OT in one year [91 1/4 24HR days or 54.7 work weeks]. How is this even possible? Did this guy work 16hr days 7 days week w/o a vacation?

Wonder how this bumps up his pension, bet his gonna retire this year. This has got to be the same retirement scam that the LIRR workers were doing. Good to know where all my property and sales tax money is going to. Lets go DA's office start an investigation.

September 11 2011 at 11:00 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to jacky76's comment
john

the nyc pension this outstanding and dedicated employee for the nyc dep will get is based on an average of his last five years pay.and then a percentage of that depending on years of dedicated service.

September 13 2011 at 12:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jrzshor

it was probably "on call" hours. like fireman who work overnights yet sleep until the fire bell sounds

September 25 2011 at 10:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Roknoo

Wow thats a pretty nice chunck of change dude.

www.online-privacy.edu.tc

September 11 2011 at 8:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Random observer

Must be nice to receive back pay of over 30k per year. That works out to be just about 30% of base. Not too shabby, got to love the unions.

September 11 2011 at 8:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
red

wait, so he got paid 109,000 for his job as a sewer worker (reasonable, he lives in NY and its a hard/skiled job), then more money in overtime (which, he EARNED, btw and would not have earned if the city had the right number of workers) and then back pay because the city screwed him and didn't give him raise for 18 years.

And people are pissed about this? Why? he earned every cent, he just had to wait almost 20 years to collect a lot of it (after inflation) and in the meantime, kept trucking on his job.

Its sad the people on this board are against people getting what they earned and deserved, and for cities and governments screwing people. Because no one deserves a retirement, benefits or even a raise in their mind. You're on your own to figure that out with the corporates who have researched for years over how to screw you best...since you won't find out till its too late.

September 11 2011 at 1:40 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to red's comment
jrzshor

since when does moving crap equate to $300,000 a year?

September 25 2011 at 10:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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