2022 payroll and overtime for some of the largest cities and counties in Kansas are available on kansasopengov.org. This information was collected via Kansas Open Records Requests since January 2023. Overland Park is currently missing from the database because the city has still not complied with an Open Records request that is more than six weeks old, but will be added as soon as it is provided.
Eight of the 10 highest-paid city employees were members of the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities, a non-profit that provides water and electricity and makes money from utility bill payments. Its General Manager, William A. Johnson, made $428,853.06 in 2022. That’s almost double what Wichita’s City Manager, Robert Layton, made. Eight out of the 10 highest city overtime earners were part of the BPU as well, with the in overtime in 2022 alone. The highest was Tiffany Saturday, a Fire Engineer Paramedic from Lawrence who made $138,493 in overtime for a gross pay of $237,005.
Seven of the 10 highest-paid county employees were in Johnson County, with the number one spot going to county manager Penny Postoak at $315,732. Lane Pivonka, a paramedic captain whose gross pay came out to $305,435.80 with $189,530.8 of that being in overtime pay was the second-highest paid county employee. The overtime pay top 10 was mostly paramedics and detention deputies with the one exception being Ellis County Executive Peggy Pratt who made $98,492.76 in overtime pay.
In 2021, Kansas had the second highest rate of local government employment per capita in the country, second only to Wyoming. Having so many more local government employees is a major factor in Kansas having some of the highest effective property tax rates in the nation, especially in rural areas.
Public workers do important jobs and deserve to be paid appropriately for them. But analyzing payrolls is key to continually removing wasted costs while providing the same services. Finding small amounts to save in the budget adds up quickly. And, can result in real savings for taxpayers. Not filling positions after employees naturally leave and continually evaluating the size of the government are ways to start saving money.