Payroll for Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) in calendar year 2020 crossed the billion-dollar threshold, with the Authority’s 8,945 active employees earning an average of $112,109 in total pay, according to data released today on, the Empire Center’s transparency website.

At $1.002 billion, the 2020 Port Authority payroll was nearly $160 million above the 2018 level, and five million above the 2019 level.

Overtime pay fell by more than $40 million in 2020, to $116,736,034, but other extra pay, such as shift differentials and holiday pay, increased by over $13 million.

The highest paid group of employees, the Authority’s Police Department, collected average total pay of $127,856 in 2020. Of the 2,330 police department employees, 69 were paid at least $100,000 in overtime.

The 2,073 Port Authority police officers in 2020 (defined as members of the Police Benevolent Association) were paid an average of $124,816. Fourteen police officers received at least $100,000 in overtime. Six-figure overtime payouts were more common among lieutenants and sergeants. Twenty percent (28 of 142) of lieutenants made $100,000 or more in overtime alone, as did ten percent (32 of 305) of sergeants. No detective made $100,000 or more in overtime.

More than 55 percent of Port Authority employees in 2020 were paid six-figures, including 64 percent of the Authority’s Police Department. The 607 Authority employees earning more than $200,000 in 2020 was similar to the 2019 number but double the 2018 total. The number earning more than $300,000 increased from 53 in 2019 to 60 in 2020. Four employees were paid more than $300,000 in 2018.

In 2020, the Authority paid nearly $120 million in retroactive wages, generally in furtherance of collective bargaining agreements that increase prior year pay levels. The greatest individual retroactive payment in 2020 was $132,532, paid to a retired police sergeant.

The three highest paid Port Authority employees, including base salary, overtime and other extra pay, were:

  • Richard Paugh, detective, with total pay of $415,126 including $45,881 in overtime and $91,630 in retroactive pay;
  • John Ryan, detective lieutenant, with total pay of $403,497, including $179,579 in overtime, $53,380 in extra pay, and $105,023 in retroactive pay; and
  • James Graf, detective sergeant, with total pay of $389,932, including $167,464 in overtime, $66,396 in extra pay, and $103,532 in retroactive pay.

The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, not-for-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies that can make New York a better place to live, work and raise a family.

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The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

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