Raleigh City Employee Salaries: A Year-to-Year Comparison

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In 2011, The Record brought you a full listing of all the City of Raleigh employee salaries, from Staff Support Specialists making $15k/year all the way up to the $219,000 annual salary of then City Manager Russel Allen.

In 2015, we updated that list, which saw City Attorney Thomas McCormick rise to the top of the heap with $232,405 a year.

Now, we’re happy to present to you the 2016 City Employee Salary database, but with a twist: we compared it to years past to see who got the biggest raises. Note: we’ve updated this post to include more information below the spreadsheets, click here to go there directly.

In addition to comparing the year-to-year salaries of the ten highest-paid City Employees, we also pulled the median salary range for a variety of positions in order to see how they were doing overall. It should be noted that multiple departments have employees with the same title: almost every department has an administrative assistant, for example.

As this article was inspired largely by the debate over Police and Fire employee salary increases, we also looked at several different positions within each department to see how they stacked up.

We reached out to both the N.C. Police Benevolent Association and the Raleigh Professional Firefighters’ Association for an earlier version of this article, and Jamie Rigsbee was kind enough to provide a copy of the letter his organization sent to City Council regarding the issue. You can view the PDF here.

S0 who did the best? Well, that’s a bit of a hard metric to define, so we’ll just go with greatest salary percentage increase from 2011-2016.

Using that criteria, it appears that the position of Assistant City Manager comes out on top — just barely — with a median salary increase of 21.45 percent, or $31,836. It should be noted that since 2011, the role of the Assistant City Manager has expanded, and there are actually three of them now. For this comparison, we are using Assistant City Manager James Greene’s salary from 2016, as it is the highest of the three.

Note: we had originally listed Fire Lieutanants as having one of the highest increases: this was a result of an error on one of the sheets. Fire Lieutanants have actually seen their median salary decline $1,277 since 2011, about 2.27 percent.

This puts the City Attorney in second place for 2011-2016 increases, as the annual salary went from $215,000 in 2011 to $259,000 in 2016, an increase of $43,999, or 20.46 percent. This was also by far the largest increase in terms of sheer dollars (Assistant City Manager was second).

The third highest increase was for the Chief of Police, which increased $20,654.21, or 14.8 percent from 2011-2016.

Interestingly enough, the median salaries for a few positions have actually gone *down* since 2011, the largest decrease being for Animal Control Officers, who saw a 12 percent decrease in median salary from 2011 to 2016 of about $4,400.

Firefighters (which includes, Firefighters, First Class Firefighters and Senior Firefighters) came in a close second, seeing a decrease of $3,469, or 8.13 percent from 2011 to 2016.

While Police Officers (which includes Police Recruits, Police Officers, First Class Police Officers, Master Police Officers and Senior Police Officers) saw a modest 3.45 percent increase from 2011, this was actually a slight decrease of 8.14 percent from the 2015 median salary.

The starting salary for Police Recruits, however, has gone from $34,281 in 2011 to $34,282 in 2016.

While the Police Chief only saw a 3.2 percent salary increase from 2011 to 2015 of $4,471, Chief Deck-Brown’s salary in 2016 went up $20,654 from the 2011 rate (when she was not Chief), an increase of 14.82 percent.

The Fire Chief saw an increase of $11,815 from 2011-2016, although this 8 percent increase was put in place in 2015; the salary remained exactly the same in 2016.

For a full list of salaries & our comparisons, check out the spreadsheets below. We have more data that we may add to this later; let us know what you’d like to see!

Note: below the spreadsheets, we’ve included some additional data we came across while putting these sheets together, as well as some explanations on the methodology.

2016 Salaries

Year-to-Year Comparisons (Tabbed)

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Update

We have now added the number of employees, their average and median salaries and their salary ranges for each of the above categories into countless paragraphs below.

The reason we chose to go with the median instead of a mean/average in the chart is that means are more susceptible to outliers when doing salary comparisons.

Medians are generally seen as the better option for these kind of analyses, and if you don’t believe us, the folks over at the site Payscale.com, which boasts of having “the largest real-time salary survey in the world” have an entire page dedicated to this very subject.

However, as the City has discussed salaries in terms of “averages” we figured it would be useful to include this.

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s a rundown of most of the data analysis we did for this piece. We’d like to preface this by saying some job categories may have excluded an employee or two that had a title we didn’t recognize, but we don’t believe that should have a profound effect on the overall results as we pulled the same job titles from each year.

Some job titles may have changed/evolved over the years, making direct comparison difficult.

In 2011, the City of Raleigh had 3,609 total employees with a total salary cost of $178,234,203. The average salary was $49,386 while the median was $45,937.

There were 51 employees making over $100,000 in 2011, the average of their salaries was $122,768 while the median was $113,790.

In 2015, there were 3,665 total employees with a total salary cost of $188,258,403. The average salary $51,366.55 while the median was $48,207.

There were 77 employees making over $100,000 in 2015, the average of their salaries was $119,444 and the median was $112,181.

In 2016, there were 3,804 employees with a total salary cost of $197,906,259. The average salary was $52,025 and the median was 48,838.

There were 86 employees making over 100k in 2016; as it happens, both the mean and the median of their salaries was $119,744.

In 2011, there were 498 Police Officer Recruits, Police Officers, First Class Police Officers, Master Police Officers & Senior Police Officers. The total salary cost was $23,309,801. The average salary was $45,806 & the median $45,971. The lowest salary (a Police Recruit) was $34,281, the highest was a Senior Police Officer at $64,027.

In 2015, there were 490 Police Officers (see above for categories) with a total salary of $23,545,168. The average salary was $48,501 and the median $51,669. The lowest salary was $34,282 and the highest $69,185.

In 2016, there were 489 Police Officers (see above for categories) with a total salary of $23,308,529. The average salary was $47,665 and the median $47,559. The lowest salary was $34,282 and the highest $69,185.

In 2011, there were 104 Police Sergeants with a total salary of $7,342,141. The average salary was $70,597 and the median $71,831. The lowest salary was $59,370 and the highest $73,996.

In 2015, there were 102 Police Sergeants with a total salary of $7,362,174. The average salary was $72,178 and the median $72,964. The lowest salary was $58,538 and the highest $76,216.

In 2016, there were 109 Police Sergeants with a total salary of $7,838,238. The average salary was $71,910 and the median $72,910. The lowest salary was $59,822 and the highest $76,216.

In 2011 there were 28 Police Lieutenants with a total salary of $2,247,615. The average salary was $80,271 and the median $80,991. The lowest salary was $74,375 and the highest $81,395.

In 2015 there were 27 Police Lieutenants with a total salary of $2,235,222. The average salary was $82,786 and the median $83,838. The lowest salary was $74,375 and the highest $83,838. Yes: the median and the highest paid salary are the same. That’s because 21 of the 27 Lieutenants made precisely $83,838 last year.

In 2016 there were 36 Police Lieutenants with a total salary of $2,992,293. The average salary was $83,119 and the median $83,838. The lowest salary was $72,215 and the highest $83,838. See 2015 listing for explanation as to why median and highest are the same.

In 2011, there were 116 Police Detectives, with a total salary of $7,080,375. The average salary was $61,037 and the median was $61,141. The lowest salary was $48,679 and the highest $67,269.

In 2015, there were 111 Police Detectives, with a total salary of $6,914,557. The average salary was $62,293 and the median was $63,149. The lowest salary was $51,040 and the highest $69,287.

In 2016, there were 116 Police Detectives, with a total salary of $7,299,192. The average salary was $62,924 and the median was $63,988. The lowest salary was $50,902 and the highest $69,287.

In 2011, there were 15 Police Captains, with a total salary of $1,346,007. The average salary was $91,951 and the median was $89,157. The lowest salary was $87,807 and the highest $94,083. It should be noted that the two highest paid Captains were also District Commanders. These positions were not included in the 2015 and 2016 salary reports.

In 2015, there were 15 Police Captains, with a total salary of $1,379,277. The average salary was $91,951 and the median was $92,292. The lowest salary was $87,544 and the highest $92,292. As with the Lieutenants above, a majority of the Captains (nine) made $92,292 in 2015. Five of them make $92,221.

In 2016, there were 14 Police Captains, with a total salary of $1,286,820. The average salary was $91,915 and the median was $92,292. The lowest salary was $89,727 and the highest $92,292. See 2015 listing for why the median and highest paid are the same.

In 2015, there were 5 Police Majors, with a total salary of $516,313. The average salary was $103,262 and the median $103,551. The lowest salary was $101,521 and the highest $105,117. This position was not included in the 2011 salary report.

In 2016, there were 5 Police Majors, with a total salary of $523,524. The average salary was $104,704 and the median $104,049. The lowest salary was $101,521 and the highest $107,745.

In 2011, there were 260 Firefighters, First Class Firefighters and Senior Firefighters with a total salary of $11,254,259. The average salary was $43,285 and the median $42,646.The lowest salary was $33,653 and the highest, for a Senior Firefighter, $69,148.

In 2015, there were 267 Firefighters et. all  with a total salary of $11,249,313. The average salary was $42,132 and the median $39,734. The lowest salary was $33,654 and the highest $58,218.

In 2016, there were 281 Firefighters et. all  with a total salary of $11,644,060. The average salary was $41,437 and the median $39,177. The lowest salary was $32,674 and the highest $61,317.

In 2011, there were 124 Fire Lieutenants, with a total salary of $6,884,717. The average salary was $55,521 and the median $56,145. The lowest salary was $44,205 and the highest $64,293.

In 2015, there were 121 Fire Lieutenants, with a total salary of $6,523,245. The average salary was $53,911 and the median $53,790. The lowest salary was $43,312 and the highest $63,476.

In 2016, there were 132 Fire Lieutenants, with a total salary of $7,250,217. The average salary was $54,925 and the median $54,868. The lowest salary was $44,661 and the highest $66,222.

In 2011, there were 18 Battalion, Division & Assistant Fire Chiefs with a total salary of $1,511,547. The average salary was $83,974 and the median $80,815. The lowest salary was $75,244 and the highest $99,054.

In 2015, there were 24 Battalion, Division & Assistant Fire Chiefs with a total salary of $2,037,167. The average salary was $84,881 and the median $83,250. The lowest salary was $69,211 and the highest $105,117.

In 2016, there were 23 Battalion, Division & Assistant Fire Chiefs with a total salary of $1,963,717. The average salary was $85,378 and the median $83,250. The lowest salary was $68,885 and the highest $107,745.

In 2011, there were 19 Deputy & Assistant Fire Marshals with a total salary of $1,137,270. The average salary was $59,856 and the median $57,344. The lowest salary was $46,839 and the highest $74,230.

In 2015, there were 28 Deputy & Assistant Fire Marshals with a total salary of $1,696,640. The average salary was $60,594 and the median $58,556. The lowest salary was $51,000 and the highest $79,037.

In 2016, there were 30 Deputy & Assistant Fire Marshals with a total salary of $1,766,009. The average salary was $58,866 and the median $55,117. The lowest salary was $48,837 and the highest $81,013.

 

In 2011, there were 111 Fire Captains with a total salary of $7,545,559. The average salary was $67,978 and the median $69,446. The lowest salary was $50,822 and the highest $73,024.

In 2011, there were 127 Fire Captains with a total salary of $8,600,955. The average salary was $67,724 and the median $68,333. The lowest salary was $47,637 and the highest $79,467.

In 2016, there were 124 Fire Captains with a total salary of $8,464,867. The average salary was $68,265 and the median $68,086. The lowest salary was $49,304 and the highest $80,039.

In 2011, there were 55 Administrative Assistant & Administrative Support Roles with a total salary of $2,272,283. The average salary was $41,314 and the median $39,270. The lowest salary was $28,930 and the highest $56,903.

In 2015, there were 64 Administrative Assistant & Administrative Support Roles with a total salary of $2,684,446. The average salary was $41,944 and the median $36,880. The lowest salary was $30,377 and the highest $53,632.

In 2016, there were 67 Administrative Assistant & Administrative Support Roles with a total salary of $2,896,236. The average salary was $43,227 and the median $38,987. The lowest salary was $28,930 and the highest $56,903.

In 2011, there were 11 Animal Control Officers (including supervisory roles) with a total salary of $416,459. The average salary was $37,859 and the median $36,387. The lowest salary was $29,364 and the highest $52,389.

In 2015, there were 11 Animal Control Officers (including supervisory roles) with a total salary of $402,705. The average salary was $36,609 and the median $32,596. The lowest salary was $28,391 and the highest $61,595.

In 2016, there were 10 Animal Control Officers (including supervisory roles) with a total salary of $416,459. The average salary was $35,800 and the median $31,947. The lowest salary was $28,931 and the highest $63,135.

In 2011, there were 10 City Attorneys (excluding City of Raleigh Attorney Thomas McCormick) with a total salary of $1,075,527. The average salary was $107,552 and the median $105,595. The lowest salary was $76,030 and the highest $125,454.

In 2015, there were 13 City Attorneys (excluding City of Raleigh Attorney Thomas McCormick) with a total salary of $1,417,638. The average salary was $109,049 and the median $115,000. The lowest salary was $83,200 and the highest $129,864.

In 2016, there were 14 City Attorneys (excluding City of Raleigh Attorney Thomas McCormick) with a total salary of $1,547,936. The average salary was $110,566 and the median $110,015. The lowest salary was $86,112 and the highest $129,864.

In 2011, there were 45 Code Enforcement Officers with a total salary of $2,544,518. The average salary was $56,544 and the median $51,450. The lowest salary was $52,596 and the highest $67,829.

In 2015, there were 40 Code Enforcement Officers with a total salary of $2,251,877. The average salary was $56,296 and the median $52,579. The lowest salary was $41,388 and the highest $75,928.

In 2016, there were 46 Code Enforcement Officers with a total salary of $2,700,875. The average salary was $58,714 and the median $57,273. The lowest salary was $44,979 and the highest $75,928.

In 2011, there were 133 Equipment Operators with a total salary of $4,438,525. The average salary was $33,372 and the median $30,590. The lowest salary was $26,240 and the highest $45,255. Note: Future years had significantly more employees in this category, most likely due to a change in title.

In 2015, there were 242 Equipment Operators with a total salary of $8,635,163. The average salary was $35,682 and the median $38,892. The lowest salary was $26,503 and the highest $58,093. Note: In 2011, it is likely many of those now titled “Equipment Operators” were working under different job titles.

In 2016, there were 244 Equipment Operators with a total salary of $8,771,110. The average salary was $35,947 and the median $35,777. The lowest salary was $27,553 and the highest $58,093.  Note: In 2011, it is likely many of those now titled “Equipment Operators” were working under different job titles.

In 2011, there were 62 Maintenance Workers with a total salary of $2,334,427. The average salary was $37,652 and the median $27,668. The lowest salary was $37,440 and the highest $45,255.

In 2015, there were 77 Maintenance Workers with a total salary of $2,976,001. The average salary was $38,649 and the median $36,924. The lowest salary was $26,241 and the highest $41,091.

In 2016, there were 80 Maintenance Workers with a total salary of $3,117,038. The average salary was $38,962 and the median $37,465. The lowest salary was $26,241 and the highest $58,989.

In 2011, there were 59 Recreational Facilities and Program Supervisors in the Parks Department with a total salary of $2,799,917. The average salary was $47,456 and the median $50,447. The lowest salary was $35,883 and the highest $67,539.

In 2015, there were 76 Recreational Facilities and Program Supervisors in the Parks Department with a total salary of $3,638,272. The average salary was $47,872 and the median $51,140. The lowest salary was $33,941 and the highest $64,290.

In 2016, there were 81 Recreational Facilities and Program Supervisors in the Parks Department with a total salary of $3,943,958. The average salary was $48,690 and the median $47,937. The lowest salary was $33,491 and the highest $65,897.

In 2011, there were 346 Service Specialists  with a total salary of $10,413,938. The average salary was $30,098 and the median $32,400. The lowest salary was $22,667 and the highest $37,046.

In 2015, there were 229 Service Specialists  with a total salary of $7,049,674. The average salary was $30,784 and the median $30,474. The lowest salary was $22,492 and the highest $46,826. It would appear that many of the 2011 Service Specialists were given different job titles beginning in 2015.

In 2016, there were 218 Service Specialists  with a total salary of $6,798,203. The average salary was $31,184 and the median $30,837. The lowest salary was $24,991 and the highest $44,393. It would appear that many of the 2011 Service Specialists were given different job titles beginning in 2015.

6 thoughts on “Raleigh City Employee Salaries: A Year-to-Year Comparison

  1. I’m not sure where your info comes from, but as a nearly topped out Fire Lieutenant, I dont make nearly what you say the median is

  2. I think the median income for fire Lt. In 2016 is a typo…..has to be.
    Also, somethings that are not addressed are pay compression between ranks in the fire department (some firefighters make more than lieutenants, some lieutenants make more than Captain’s) and our quartile pay structure. This pay structure stifles the percentage of raise that a senior person in their respective rank gets…… furthering pay compression.

  3. Folks, you were absolutely right: there was a typo for the Fire Lieutenant median. I checked the other numbers and they look OK: that one really should have been a red flag considering the large increase, and I apologize for not catching that. It turns out the median salary actually went down.

    James

  4. I’m glad it was pointed out so quickly: when I promote the story on social media tomorrow I’ll specifically mention the RFD LT salary going down in case anyone missed the correction.

    I’m also working on a pretty substantial update that will give people a reason to come back, so they should definitely notice the correction, either in the article itself or down here in the comments.

    Thanks,

    James

  5. Not sure what it says about Raleigh when the City Atty gets paid more than the City Mgr…and a bunch of other Attys are in the top tier of pay.

    Perhaps time to “shop” our Attys.