About 20 top managers at the Philadelphia Parking Authority are taking immediate 6 percent pay cuts in the wake of recent newspaper stories about the agency's soaring payroll and pension costs.
The authority's executive director, Vincent J. Fenerty Jr., called each of his department heads into his office yesterday to tell them of the imminent reductions, described as a symbolic gesture to counter the recent publicity.
Fenerty himself will take the biggest hit - an $11,690 reduction from his $194,830 salary. But subordinates noted that he'll still be left with $183,140 a year – more than double what he was making when Republicans took over the parking agency in mid-2001 - along with pension benefits of more than $100,000 a year, reported last week in the Daily News.
Fenerty's second-in-command, former police lieutenant Carl C. Ciglar, will take a $10,572 cut from his $176,193 salary. But he'll still be making more than double the $69,000 he received when he took a job at the authority four years ago.
Sources speculated that the pension disclosures - focusing on the six-figure pensions lined up by Fenerty and Ciglar – were the final straws convincing Fenerty and the agency's board chairman, Joseph Ashdale, that they had to order salary reductions.
"It's not a lot of money," said one source, describing the overall impact of the pay cuts. "They just felt they had to do it."
Neither Fenerty nor Ashdale could be reached for comment.
The one-year savings from the pay cuts will total about $150,000, the source estimated. In most instances, the 6 percent reductions will be restored next year, with the next set of step increases for top executives.
Rank-and-file employees are not affected by the reductions. While salaries have increased sharply in recent years for those at the top of the authority, two-thirds of its 1,066 employees make less than $40,000 a year.
Many of the rank-and-file have been as angry as the general public to learn of the salaries and pensions pulled down by the authority's top executives.
Last Friday, the authority announced that employees would have to pay $25 a head to attend the agency's annual Christmas party, scheduled for Dec. 14 at the painters' union hall in Northeast Philadelphia. Until this year, the event was free.
"Almost nobody is going, between those who can't afford it and those who are p----- off," said one source.
In the authority's lunchroom at 3101 Market St., someone posted a chart that appeared a month ago in the Inquirer, listing the names and salaries of 20 officials making $100,000 a year or more. "And we don't have money for a Christmas party," the individual scribbled on the chart.
The GOP takeover in 2001 was engineered by state House Republican leader John M. Perzel, who said the move would provide at least $45 million for the city schools.