It pays well to wash your motorcycle if you are a cop in Newport Beach, where officers who patrol on motor bikes are paid an additional six hours of overtime every month simply for giving their cycles a wash. The special compensation equates to, on average, about a 5 percent pay hike for motorcycle officers, or about $5,600 a year in additional monies, according to an analysis of city documents and interviews with key city staff.
As alarming as that may seem, this is only one example of special pay that inflates salaries and is often hidden from public view because of the stealth nature of negotiations.
The sweet deal is part of the contract negotiated between the police union and the city – yet another creative example of public employee pay abuses at taxpayer expense.
Here's how the payout is described in a 2010-2011 memorandum of understanding between the city of Newport Beach and the Newport Beach Police Association: "Assigned Motor Officers are responsible for keeping the motorcycle assigned to him/her cleaned and polished at all times. This work shall be performed outside of the regularly scheduled work hours; and compensated at the rate of six (6) additional hours overtime per month (six (6) hours at time and one half equals 9 hours compensation)."
One might assume that keeping equipment clean should be part of basic job functions, but in the world of public employees, where seemingly everything is negotiable, that is not the case.
Getting to the bottom of exactly the amount of money each motor officer is paid for washing his/her bike was problematic because the city only provided a broad look at motor officer salary information instead of specifics in salary, overtime and special pay for each of the eight motor officers and the one motor sergeant. Newport Beach ought to have this information at its fingertips and accessible online.
Nevertheless, if you take the average annual pay of a police officer in the traffic division at $109,139, then divide it by 2,080 work hours in a year, the hourly rate is $52. So overtime (related to cleaning motorcycles) would be $468 a month or $5,616 a year. That's the equivalent of a 5.1 percent pay raise. There are a number of categories of special pay including: being bilingual, having a master's degree, a commercial drivers license, fire mechanic certification, etc. (These special pays begin to add up.)