Seven Port Authority of New York and New Jersey employees last year collected more than $200,000 each in overtime as total overtime surged, according to 2023 payroll data posted today on SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s government transparency website. The five-year increase in overtime far exceeds the Port Authority’s payroll savings from phasing out bridge and tunnel toll collectors over the same period.

Port Authority Police Officer Russell Polanco was both the Authority’s top overtime recipient ($238,652) and its highest-paid employee with total pay of $410,376. Five of the others also worked for the Police Department and one worked in Aviation.

A total of 319 employees last year collected over $100,000 each in overtime and most (232) worked for the Police Department. Among all Police Department employees, overtime pay averaged $44,991.

The other employees who topped $100,000 in overtime worked in Aviation (39), Rail Transit (29), Operations Services (14), Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals (4) and the Office of the Inspector General (1).

Overtime spending totaled $193 million at the Port Authority last year, up 9 percent from 2022 and up 48 percent from 2018, when it was $131 million.

The Port Authority’s total payroll grew 6 percent between 2022 and 2023 to $1.1 billion, and has climbed 30 percent since 2018, when it was $845 million.

The 2023 payroll covers the first full year in which the Port Authority did not rely on human attendants to collect cash tolls at its bridges and tunnels. The Port Authority in 2018 paid almost $13 million (not including benefits) to its 283 employees in toll collection roles.

Today’s data update also includes the separate payroll for the 35-employee Gateway Development Commission overseeing construction of the rail tunnel between Newark and Manhattan. The commission’s highest paid employee was CEO Kris Kolluri, who was paid $379,423.

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