A BART janitor who earned more than a quarter million dollars in salary, overtime, and benefits has made headlines ..
The janitor, Liang Zhao Zhang, earned $57,945 in base pay in 2015 for cleaning San Francisco’s Powell Street station. But according to public records uncovered by Transparent California, his also raked in an additional $162,050 in overtime, bringing his total salary and benefits that year to $271,243.
“It’s absolutely outrageous,” said Robert Fellner, with Transparent California.
Fellner has examined public employee salary information for years, and says he has never seen anything like this.
“For Janitors that’s obscene! It’s unconscionable!
2 Investigates obtained Zhang’s timecard data and plotted it out over the calendar year. The results showed the BART paid Zhang every single day in 2015. Most days he worked overtime, clocking in about 17 hours of work. He also used some days of paid vacation and holidays in order to rake in pay for 365 days that year.
In one stretch during July 2015, Zhang worked 17 hour days for 18 days straight, according to timecard records.
“Super human!” said Fellner. “The average reaction to that is ‘How is that possible?'”BART’s
Chief Transportation Officer Roy Aguilera says it’s possible because Zhang never refuses extra work and picks up much of the overtime hours offered.
Aguilera says the population of homeless people who spend time in the Powell Street station means the janitorial staff spends much of their time cleaning up urine, feces, and needles, which he calls “totally unacceptable.”
“People are not raising their hands and saying, ‘I want some of that overtime.’ Mr. Zhang has said yes, he’s worked hard, he’s completed his assignments, so I stand by the work he’s done,” Aguilera said.
When asked whether he’s check up on Zhang’s performance, time cards, or overtime hours, Aguilera said he personally hasn’t but the supervisors working under him have.
2 Investigates learned that BART has never conducted an extensive investigation of Zhang’s time cards, despite the janitor earning more than $705,000 in pay and benefits during the four years from 2012 to 2015.