Urbana doubled bonuses paid to its workers in 2022; Total compensation for workers rose $1.4 million, a 6.64% increase

By Carmen Martinez / For CU-CitizenAccess

March 16, 2023

Urbana City Building from Google Maps.

The amount of bonuses paid to Urbana employees doubled between the previous two fiscal years, city data shows. 

During fiscal year 2021, 28 people received bonuses totaling $46,323, and the average bonus was $1,654. Administrator Assistant Kathryn Brickman Levy received the highest bonus of $5,000 in fiscal year 2021. Of the 28 people, all but 2 were firefighters and there were 6 unique positions awarded.

In the latest fiscal year, which ended in June 2022, 40 people received bonuses totaling $98,450, and the average bonus was $2,461. That year, the highest bonus was $13,500 and was given to Fleet Supervisor Corry Travis. Of the 40 people, two-thirds were firefighters and there were 17 unique positions awarded.

The notes on total compensation reports, published annually, say bonuses are a sum of bonuses, educational incentives and specialty pay. Urbana Human Resources and Finance Director Elizabeth Hannan said bonuses may also be given out based on performance.

The local contract for the International Association of Fire Fighters, a six-year contract beginning last July, says an employee who has completed an Associate’s degree in fire science or paramedic will receive an educational incentive bonus of 1.25% the fire fighter or EMT-1 base pay. But effective as of last July is a new rule expanding the eligible Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees, which awards a 2.5% bonus, to include fire administration, business administration and public administration.

Overall, Urbana spent $1,436,239, or 6.64%, more in the most recent fiscal year than the previous, total compensation reports show, which are published annually. The compensation for Urbana city employees rose from about $21.1 million to $22.5 million.

Total compensation includes salary, health insurance, and, when applicable, bonuses, uniform allowances and more. The city only publishes the salaries and benefits for employees for $75,000 and over on their website, which is required by state law.

CU-CitizenAccess filed a successful Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to access the full data, as it did in 2021, because Urbana only publishes information on employees earning $75,000 or more on its website, as required by state law. Champaign, however, publishes the full data every year. 

During fiscal year 2022, there were 303 employees for the City of Urbana, and the median total compensation for those employees was $77,003, an increase from last year’s median of $71,626. The number of employees decreased compared with the previous year from 315 to 303.

The employee with the highest total compensation was City Administrator Carol Mitten with $178,285. But she had only the third-highest salary of $169,823, behind Police Sergeant Timmy McNaught at $171,519 and Police Chief Bryant Seraphin at $175,016. In the previous year, Firefighter Brian Hoff had the highest total compensation with $167,645 and the fifth-highest salary.  Compensation includes salary, health insurance, bonuses, and in some cases vehicle and uniform allowances.

Mitten received a salary increase of about $10,000 between the latest two fiscal years, going from $159,680 to $169,823.

Total compensation reports list each employee’s title, so specific positions can be analyzed. For example, firefighters saw an increase in the median total compensation between the two years. 23 firefighters were paid a median total compensation of $86,982 in the fiscal year 2021, which increased to $92,348 in the following year. 

In fiscal year 2021, Brian Hoff had the highest total compensation for a firefighter at $167,645. The following year, Hoff’s title changed to fire engineer, and the top-compensated firefighter became Stephan Birt at $139,255. 

Employees with the basic police officer title, which excludes sergeants and lieutenants, saw a decrease in employee numbers and an overall increase in the median total compensation between the two years. The department went from 40 officers down to 32, yet the median total compensation increased from $84,960 to $88,575. 

In the fiscal year 2021, the highest-paid police officer was Matthew Quinley with a total compensation of $107,299. The total compensation paid for police officers overall was $3,264,760. The following year, the highest-paid police officer was still Quinley whose total compensation rose to $123,989, an increase of more than $10,000. The overall total compensation paid to police officers fell 17.46% to $2,694,864.