New York City school custodians are cleaning up — and not just classrooms.
Payroll data released Thursday by the Empire Center think tank show public school custodians were the highest-paid municipal employees for fiscal year 2014, earning an average of $109,467 a year.
That’s well above police officers, who got an average of $78,220.
The data show that out of 800 custodians, 634 made more than $100,000. The Department of Education said its records indicate salaries for custodians are between $82,000 and $110,000, depending on the number and size of buildings managed.
A union representative said that former Mayor Michael Bloomberg reduced the number of custodians, forcing the remaining employees to handle the extra load.
“You cannot blame the workers, who are being forced to take on these additional responsibilities and work these additional hours,” said Robert Troeller, who serves as business manager and president of Local 891.
He emphasized that custodians are more than just handymen. They’re technically “engineers” with higher-level skills and responsibilities.
The payroll data also showed that John Murphy, an associate inspector for the Department of Buildings, was the overtime winner in fiscal year 2014.
He earned $179,099 in overtime pay alone, boosting his take-home pay to $265,498. A spokesman for the Buildings Department said Murphy had been a key resource during superstorm Sandy response in the Rockaways and had picked up additional shifts and holiday work.
Most of his pay was covered by federal Sandy-recovery funds, the spokesman said.