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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | People Search | Personals | Travel | Yellow Pages  January 7, 2005
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The Eyewitness News Investigators
Exclusive: We reveal the highest paid city officials on the Providence Payroll
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In this time of budget cuts across the state, the eyewitness news investigators wanted to see how taxpayer money is being spent when it comes to the city payroll.

Eyewitness News Investigator Jack White set out to find out who makes what in the capital city. What he found may surprise you.

In addition to determining who makes the most money in Providence, we also compared their salaries to those of people doing the same job in cities of similar size.   While the city is struggling to meet the financial needs of the schools, that's exactly where we found four of the top five highest salaries.

The best paid city employee is a woman who oversees a $288 million dollar budget.

Meet Melody Johnson, superintendent of schools. She makes just over $163,000 a year, which is close to the Springfield superintendent's salary of $162,000 and higher than Worcester's superintendent, who is paid $154,000.

Next on the Providence best paid list is Police Chief Dean Dsserman. His base pay is $138,000.

The police chief in Springfield makes $102,000 and the Chief in Worcester gets $99,000.

 Essermen makes $44,000 a year more than the two previous chiefs in Providence - Guido Laorenza and Richard Sullivan.

He even makes more than the superintendent of the the Rhode Island State Police, Col. Steven Pare whose base pay is $124,000.

"He is worth every dime. And again to attract national ledership such as that requires a salary commensurate with that and so we are making a very wise investment in his salary."

The next three highest paid employees are principlas at Hope, Central and Feinstein high schools....each making almost $130,000.

Finally - at number six on the list - the city's chief executive officer Mayor Cicilline. He makes $125,000 a year.

 "(smile, laugh). Ah, you know, the salary when i applied for this job, you know, whe i went out to campaign. I certainly didin't take this job because i expected, i didn't do it for the money. "

Cicilline makes more than the mayor of springfiled, who gets $95,000 ....and less than the city manager in worcester who makes $136,000.

The mayor's administration budget in providence has dropped from $2.3 million under former mayor Vincent Cianci to $1.9 million under cicilline, due primarily to a cutback in employees.

"Cianci's administration was about 50 and we're down to somewhere around 30, i think. So we cut it dramatically to meet our commitment to reduce it by twenty percent."

The overall city payroll is up by about 4 million dollars over last year.

The increase is due to previously negotiated labor contracts that have built-in pay raises and increased benefits.

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