Payroll Project: Can you drive a bus? RTA drivers pull in 6-figure pay

Twenty Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority employees were paid more than $100,000 last year, including seven bus drivers, according to the Payroll Project, an annual reporting project from the Dayton Daily News.

Overtime is a major driver of six-figure pay for RTA drivers, with six drivers earning more than $25,000 in overtime in 2022.

The voting and taxpaying public is the employer for government agencies. As with any other employer, the public has not just a right but a responsibility to know how much its employees are paid in the interest of good stewardship.

Go here for a searchable database of state and local government pay across our region.

RTA officials say they’ve had success recruiting more drivers in recent years. They have 30 open positions for drivers, which is down from 100 openings last year.

RTA spokeswoman Jessica Olson said recruitment efforts are continuous, including at least one large-scale hiring event each quarter. Another large hiring event where applicants can test drive a bus is scheduled for August. More information is available at

In addition to increasing overtime costs, driver shortages have forced RTA to cut routes in recent years.

“Through our service changes we complete at least three times a year, we have been able to right-size our services to ensure we are adequately staffed and bus routes are covered,” Olson said. “The last thing we want is for riders to be waiting on a bus that never comes due to not having enough drivers to run it. We hope that our continued efforts in hiring will allow us to increase our bus services someday in the future.”

RTA provides all training at no cost, including CDL certification, to people hired to be drivers.

“We are looking for people who have good customer service skills and want to serve their community as an essential worker providing needed transportation,” Olson said.

While overtime boosted pay for drivers — “designated traditional fixed route operators” in the agency’s pay system — the highest-paid employees at RTA last year remained administrators who didn’t get overtime.

The highest paid RTA employees in 2022 were:

1. Robert Ruzinsky, chief executive officer: $272,492

2. Mary Stanforth, chief financial officer: $169,216

3. James Brown, director of maintenance: $166,352

4. Roland Caldwell, chief transportation officer: $162,132

5. Brandon Policicchio, chief customer and business development officer: $160,842

6. Brenda Thomas, director of human resources: $137,796

7. Timothy Harrington, director of information technology: $135,933

8. Patrick O’Malley, deputy chief maintenance officer: $132,841

9. Robert Stevens, director of labor relations: $115,077

10. Juan Jones traditional fixed route operator: $114,693

About the Author