When it comes to Albuquerque city worker paychecks, nobody tops first responders.
Albuquerque Fire Rescue battalion chief Clinton Anderson earned a city-leading $235,993 last year, according to the city’s 2022 earnings data. That represents more than twice his base salary, a total he achieved primarily with overtime pay.
Six fire department employees ranked among the city’s 10 biggest earners last year. The list includes four AFR paramedic lieutenants. Each earned at least $191,000 despite a base salary of about $79,000.
Not on the Top 10 list was Mayor Tim Keller, who made $132,500.
Tom Ruiz, one of the paramedic lieutenants on the list, attributed the fire department employees’ high earnings to the position’s rank and licensure.
For example, Ruiz said that when it comes to overtime lieutenants can fill a range of field roles, including those with lesser ranks. Some can also cover captain-level shifts, he said.
“They have a wider net, so to speak – more opportunities to fulfill those overtime needs,” said Ruiz, who also serves as the department spokesman.
Unlike most city departments, AFR is fully staffed. Ruiz attributes the overtime volume to holes created when colleagues are out on sick time, vacation, training or family leave.
The Albuquerque Police Department – which consistently has hundreds of officer vacancies – has three employees among the city’s 10 highest-paid workers.
Lt. Justin Hunt led the way, making $217,646.
That’s more than APD Chief Harold Medina and Lawrence Rael, who manages all of city government as Albuquerque’s chief administrative officer, though both rank in the top 10 of the city’s biggest earners.
Rael made $212,143 and Medina made $204,023.
All told, police and fire personnel account for the overwhelming majority of the city’s highest earners. APD has 143 of the top 250 spots and AFR has 51.
No other city department has more than seven people on the top 250 list.
The lowest-paid person on the top 250 list, General Services Deputy Director Marina Salazar, made $124,541 in 2022.
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