A large group of firefighters remained among the highest-paid employees in Montgomery County in 2016.
Of the 44 county employees who made more than $200,000 in 2016, 26 worked for the Department of Fire & Rescue Services, according to salary information posted in late February on dataMontgomery. The information does not include the salaries of Montgomery County Public Schools employees.
Twenty-five of those fire department employees earned an average of $85,000 in overtime pay. The 26th fire department employee who topped $200,000 in pay—Fire Chief Scott Goldstein—received no overtime pay in his $213,211 gross pay.
Explaining how some firefighters could earn so much in overtime pay, county spokesman Patrick Lacefield said the county must meet certain standards when a fire truck is sent out on a call. That means a truck may have to be staffed by firefighters who have specialized training, and the truck must be staffed around the clock. If the county had to hire full-time firefighters to work the overtime hours put in by those specialized firefighters, the county would end up paying more than the overtime expense because it would have to pay the cost of benefits for the additional employees, he said.
“We’ve made some progress in the past to try to have overtime filled in the least expensive way as possible,” Lacefield said.
Chief Administrative Officer Timothy Firestine was once again the highest-paid employee in the county, receiving a total of $313,700 in gross pay. He was the only county employee to top $300,000 in gross pay and has earned the highest pay annually since 2014, when the county began releasing employee salary information online.
Three fire department employees—Patrick Stanton, Gregory Ruff and Raymond Sanchez—have been among the 15 top-earning employees in the county annually since 2014. Stanton and Sanchez earned more than $100,000 in overtime pay in both 2015 and 2016, while Ruff has averaged around $85,000 per year in overtime.
Readers may be surprised that County Executive Ike Leggett is not among the top 15 highest-paid employees. In 2016, Leggett made $190,767 in gross pay—making him the 55th highest-paid county employee.
The following are the names of the top 15 highest-paid employees, followed by a list of all the employees who made more than the county executive last year. The employees are ranked by gross pay, which includes base salary, overtime pay and additional pay such as bonuses:
15. Harash N. Segal, chief information officer, Department of Technology Services
Gross pay: $222,650.51
Annual pay: $215,120
Date hired: Oct. 15, 1985