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Some BART Workers Make Almost 3 Times Their Salaries In Overtime Pay

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- How would you like to make tens of thousands of dollars on top of your regular salary? All you have to do is get a job at BART.

A long repair list, such as a broken BART escalator, motionless for months at the 16th and Mission Street station, has been keeping the transit agency's escalator repair team busy.

And they get lots of overtime to do it  We obtained employee compensation data for 2015 and found one escalator repairman alone with an annual salary of just over $77,000 made a whopping extra $139,000 in overtime.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

The BART compensation list for 2015 is here.

A system service worker earning $57,900 in base pay made almost three times his salary, over $162,000 in overtime.

And a BART police officer tops the list. On top of a $96,000 salary he made over $170,000 in overtime.

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We found 13 percent of total compensation for BART employees went to overtime last year. That's compared to 3 percent average for O.T. in the private sector.

"Well really what this is, is our system is an aging system," said BART spokesperson Alicia Trost. She says capital repairs are underway, and that takes manpower.

"When we shut down the tracks last year with the Transbay Tube all those workers are getting paid overtime working 16 hour days so we can rebuild our system and have the least amount of impact to our riders," said Trost.

As for BART police officers: "That is because you want to make sure you have enough people staffing events, like New Year's, Pride, Halloween. And with police you've got first day off is time and a half, second day off its double time," said Trost.

We asked why BART hasn't staffed up and paid regular wages instead of budget busting overtime.

Trost's response: "We are actually having a hard time recruiting. The conditions aren't very glamorous, working 24 hours a day on our stink old escalators. We don't have a lot of people chomping at the bits for that."

But how hard could it be to recruit station operators, the ones who man the booth? We found one of them made $105,000 dollars in overtime last year. "BART wants to make this all about maintenance and security, but that is not what you see when you examine this list," said State Senator Steve Glazer.

Glazer is a longtime critic of BART.

"Multiple station agents received over $40,000 in overtime. What does that 40K in OT...have to do with maintenance and safety?" said Glazer.

He questions whether the transit agency can be trusted to handle a $3.5 billion influx of cash if a bond measure passes in November.

"The list is so broad as to raise not so much impropriety by one or two, but a system that is really broken down in their ability to manage their affairs properly," said Glazer.

BART's response: "It's not questionable management, it's us trying to provide better service," said Trost.

BART has set up a task force to look at the overtime issue.

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