More than 200 Tucson safety workers paid more than $100,000

More than 200 Tucson safety workers paid more than $100,000
Posted at 12:19 PM, Mar 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-06 17:14:06-05

More than 200 public safety employees in Tucson were paid more than $100,000 last year.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that 148 of the Tucson Police Department's 1,317 employees and 55 of the city's 816 Fire Department workers earned above $100,000.

The median base salary for all commissioned and civilian police employees was $45,558.

For all Tucson Fire Department employees, the median base salary was $51,191.

With special pay, the median salary for police rose to $63,257 and for firefighters, $67,926.

The highest paid department employee last year was police Capt. Fabian Pacheco, who received $202,000.

His compensation includes a $100,000 base salary, a deferred retirement payment and unused sick and vacation time paid when he retired.

Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus was paid roughly $189,000 last year, with a base salary of nearly $174,000.

Despite the 2016 salaries, Tucson police officers are still paid below fair market value, said Tucson Police Officer Association President Roland Gutierrez.

"I believe we've only received one raise in eight years, so the situation is stagnant," he said. "Especially as officers become more experience and get more training."

In December, the Tucson City Council approved a measure to add a half-cent city sales tax to the May ballot to provide revenue to improve roads and purchase equipment for the police and fire departments.

In January, the departments asked the council to approve nearly $150 million in new vehicles, equipment and facilities, to be paid for if the sales tax measure passes.

In recent weeks, Tucson Police Officer Association members have been visiting neighborhoods and talking to community members about the proposed sales-tax increase.

Several residents have asked why it won't be used for salaries or to provide raises, Gutierrez said.