Search public employee salaries: 5 things to know about our Payroll Project

The Dayton Daily News, Journal-News and Springfield News-Sun are committed to watching your tax dollars.

One effort that is central to this promise is our Payroll Project, as public employee payroll is the largest part of most government budgets.

In addition to our searchable database, our reporters analyze the data to reveal trends and help readers understand context related to our findings.

The employer for government agencies is the voting and taxpaying public. 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.

Here are five things to know about the Payroll Project:

1. Our searchable database includes hundreds of thousands of records dating back to 2014. You can search by agency, department and name. It now includes state employees and many local government employees through 2022. More will be added in coming weeks. Search the database here.

2. Our recent investigation into school superintendent contracts found that pay for top school officials has topped $200,000 at some districts, and superintendents get perks not available to teachers. Read the full story here.

3. Previous Payroll Project investigations revealed county coroners pull in massive paychecks working multiple side jobs with other counties, including some they have contracts with as elected officials. The Ohio Ethics Commission says this practice “raises issues under the ethics law.”

4. Another investigation in recent years found that local governments are struggling to fill many jobs that come wisht six-figure pay. For example, the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority cut bus routes because of a shortage of drivers, despite some drivers making over $100,000. We also found Kettering’s police officers and firefighters are among the highest paid in the region.

5. The Payroll Project also examined benefits available to public employees that aren’t common in the private sector. This includes the ability to cash out large amounts of unused sick and vacation leave, which created a $444 million liability for the state of Ohio. Read that story here.

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