In Miami-Dade County government, the parks department finishes last on the pay rankings.
Dade Data tallied up the compensation for the nearly 28,000 workers in the county’s payroll system, then sorted the results by department. The upshot: Some of the smallest units in the county bureaucracy ended up with the highest rankings, along with Miami-Dade’s legal office and information-technology department.
At the lowest end of the scale sits the 1,800-person parks department, a county agency where most workers — about 55 percent — work part time. The average pay at Parks for 2014: $30,360. Community Action and Human Services, home to the county’s social-work arm, barely edges out Parks on the pay scale. The average employee at that 750-person agency earned about $32,000 last year. The 280-person agency that staffs the county’s courthouses with bailiffs and support staff rounded out the lowest three, with about $40,000 in average compensation for 2014.
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To create this list, Dade Data used individual compensation information posted on a county payroll database. The biggest caveat involves who is not in it: employees of the county-owned Jackson hospital system, which manages its own payroll. That leaves out some significant earners (Jackson CEO Carlos Migoya made more than $900,000 last year)
Jackson’s higher payouts are evident on this list. Miami-Dade manages payroll for a few Jackson administrative workers, who used to work for the county and had to remain on the payroll to preserve state-run retirement benefits, according to the county’s budget office. The three-person arm called Public Health Trust Support took the top spot on the list, with an average compensation of $137,413.
If the top slot comes from a human-resources quirk, the No. 2 spot is no surprise. The County Attorney’s Office accounts for 15 of the 20 best-paid employees in Miami-Dade’s payroll system, so it makes sense that its average pay of about $134,000 is also at the top of the department rankings.
The county board that oversees Miami-Dade’s transit tax snagged No. 3 on the list with an average compensation just below $105,000, thanks to a small band of well-paid employees. The lowest-paid of eight employees earning about $50,000 for the year.
As we did with our ranking of Miami-Dade’s 500 best-paid employees, this list also seeks to exclude outgoing employees who received a significant payout of deferred retirement benefits. We omitted any employee whose final paycheck in 2014 accounted for more than 10 percent of their overall compensation for the year.
Two other asterisks: workers who enter Miami-Dade’s five-year deferred retirement program can see a bump if they cash in unused leave, and private companies send payments to the county when they hire police and firefighters for outside work.
Dade Data is an online series that examines the numbers driving Miami-Dade County government.