DRPA's public safety chief one of nation's highest paid

Posted: July 26, 2010

The top law enforcement official at the Delaware River Port Authority is one of the highest-paid such executives in the nation.

With a salary of $180,081, he earns more than similar officials at most transportation and port authorities surveyed by The Inquirer, despite overseeing a workforce that is smaller than those at many of the agencies.

The current DRPA public safety chief, Michael Joyce, also earns more than the top officials at the New Jersey State Police and the Pennsylvania State Police.

Joyce also receives a $9,000 car allowance, which is unusual among his peers. But that won't last; under pressure from Gov. Christie, the DRPA said Thursday it would abolish car allowances for its executives as part of a series of reforms to be announced this week.

In addition to public safety chief Joyce, DRPA employs a chief of police, David McClintock, who is paid $130,000 a year. He receives no car allowance.

DRPA is under fire for pay, perquisites, and some of its business practices, such as closed-door meetings and no-bid contracts.

The heat increased Friday, when Pennsylvania state Treasurer Robert McCord demanded a broad accounting of car allowances, free E-ZPass transponders, hiring of family members, awards of contracts, conflicts of interest, and pension deals.

The pay of staffers at DRPA's top law enforcement agency is among salaries at the authority that may be in for scrutiny as Christie seeks to trim costs at state New Jersey agencies.

"All the salaries are too high, not just the public safety salary," DRPA vice chairman Jeffrey L. Nash said. "They're too high for public-sector work."

He said some salaries might be changed as part of a DRPA management restructuring.

"We're going to look at every aspect of port authority management," Nash said.

Joyce, a Camden County lawyer who also serves part time as solicitor for Pennsauken Township, was disciplined last week for misuse of free E-ZPass privileges.

He was docked three days pay - about $2,000 - and required to reimburse the agency $600 after it was learned he had borrowed another official's free E-ZPass for use by his daughter for 18 months.

A management consulting firm told DRPA in 2008 that the salary for the public safety chief was too high by about $50,000.

The consultant, Kroll Inc., recommended that a salary of $130,000 to $135,000 would be more appropriate, because the public safety chief oversees only about 160 employees.

Among similar transportation and port agencies, only Michael Fedorko, director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, makes more than the DRPA official. Fedorko is paid $215,098, with no car allowance.

Jim Jordan, SEPTA assistant general manager for public and operational safety, is paid $164,346 and gets a free SEPTA pass. In addition to his police responsibilities, he is in charge of SEPTA's real estate department, risk management, claims, workers compensation, and system safety.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, who oversees more than 6,600 officers, has a salary of $195,000, with full-time use of a police vehicle. But his salary will be reduced to $187,500 this year, as he is required to take 10 unpaid furlough days as part of the city's austerity push.

NJ Transit's new police chief, Christopher Trucillo, will be paid $160,000 a year when he starts Monday. He will have full-time use of a police vehicle.

At the opposite end of the pay scale from DRPA is Patrick Reilly, director of public safety and security at the Burlington County Bridge Commission, who is paid $93,000 and no car allowance. The bridge commission operates the Tacony-Palmyra and Burlington-Bristol toll bridges.

Contact staff writer Paul Nussbaum at 215-854-4587 or pnussbaum@phillynews.com.

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