A BART station janitor in San Francisco earned more than a quarter million dollars in total pay last year, a research group discovered.
According to public compensation data released by Transparent California on Tuesday, Bay Area Rapid Transit employee Liang Zhao Zhang grossed $235,000 last year, more than four times his base salary of $57,945. By putting in 144 hours per week, the janitor was able to rake in $162,000 in overtime pay, ABC news reported. Other pay and benefits brought Zhang to a total of $271,243.
A BART janitor typically makes around $50,000 a year, while the average janitor in all of California makes roughly $28,000 a year.
The team of researchers who discovered the janitor’s exorbitant compensation, however, points the blame not on the employee, but on BART instead. For non-profit group Transparent California, BART’s compensation packages are “outrageous and irresponsible.”
“There is just no reason to be paying their employees so much more money than what the average person gets,” Transparent California’s Robert Fellner was quoted as saying.
While a spokesperson from BART has stated that giving out overtime is cheaper than hiring more employees, BART board director Zakhary Mallet disagrees.
“What’s wrong is that again, there is that many hours available for over time. That is indicative of a staffing shortage,” said Mallet.
Public opinion to Zhang’s large income are mixed, as revealed by ABC interviews.
“People need jobs. If you’re paying one guy $200,000 you can for sure hire more people,” said one BART passenger
“I think it’s a good opportunity for that person,” another commuter said.
Zhang, who has made a six-figure salary over the past three years because of overtime pay, said he was too busy cleaning a station to give his thoughts on the matter.