Mon, Sep 5, 2022 8:19 AM
By Tom Gantert, The Center Square
The five highest paid employees in the city of Minneapolis were police officers in 2021 with a police sergeant making the most at $375,973.
Thirteen of the 17 city employees who grossed more than $200,000 in 2021 worked for the police department, according to city payroll records.
The second highest paid employee was a police sergeant who made $326,425. Mayor Jacob Frey made $136,023 in 2021. The highest-paid non-police department employee was an assistant fire chief who made $211,765.
City documents stated the City Council approved major cuts in the police department because of unanticipated attrition and a loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The city's annual audited budget that was released in July reports total revenues for the city dropped from $916.4 million in 2019 (the year before the pandemic) to $817.3 million in 2021, about an 11% reduction over that two-year span.
According to the 2021 adopted budget, the city cut $28.7 million in police expenses in 2021, or 15% of total costs as compared to 2020. The City Council kept vacant 140 sworn full-time jobs and 21 non-sworn positions for a total of 161 unfilled full-time positions.
The city anticipated having to increase its overtime budget for police in 2021 from $3.5 million to $8.5 million because of the unfilled positions.
In 2020, the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers set off a flurry of protests around the country. The intersection of 38th and Chicago where Floyd was taken into custody has been renamed George Floyd Square by the city.
"It is an important space for racial healing and justice among many members of the community and visitors from all over," the city stated. "This area, also called George Floyd Square, pays tribute to his life and is a powerful way for the Minneapolis community to rally around the importance of Black lives."
The salary data released by the city also reports what the police officers charged in the murder of George Floyd earned in their last year of full-service.
Derek Chauvin, who was sentenced to more than 20 years in prison in the death of Floyd, had a base salary of $91,303 and made $11,665 in overtime in 2019.
Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane were convicted by a federal jury of violating Floyd's civil rights.
Lane made $65,416 in 2019 with no reported overtime. Thao made $85,650 in 2019 with $2,366 in overtime. J. Alexander Kueng was not hired by Minneapolis police until December 2019 and had a base pay of $65,416.
The city has not responded to emails seeking comment.