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Caltrain CEO Jim Hartnett awarded big Salary increase

Original post made by morris brown, Menlo Park: Park Forest, on Apr 19, 2017

Noticed by few, at the end of the April 6 2017 the Caltrain Board meeting, Jim Hartnett’s employment contract was amended by a unanimous vote of the Board.

Video Link:
Web Link

Hartnett’s amended contract calls for an additional $5000 for work on Caltrain. A 3.5% increase in base salary and a one-year extension on his contract. Also he was awarded a $50,000 performance bonus. This will bring his total compensation (not including pension benefits) to about $500,000.

One might wonder why the Board has anointed CEO Hartnett such a lavish contract. The CBOSS Positive Train Control project is now well over budget, years late and lawsuits are pending with the vendor.

The decision to sign vendor contracts for the “modernization” project, before securing the needed funding will result in Caltrain incurring at least $20 million in additional costs. And that is if the project even manages to proceed.

Finally now disclosed is Caltrain has deceived the FTA when submitting passenger capacity data to support its application for a $647 FTA core grant. When the increased now existing passenger capacity of the train is properly disclosed, the application for the grant fails, since it provides less than a 1% capacity increase, whereas a FTA core grant demands at least a 10% increase.

Such has been Mr. Hartnett’s current performance.

Video Links:
Web Link

Web Link

Morris Brown
Menlo Park

Comments (12)

2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 19, 2017 at 10:17 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

And people bitch about fire fighters' pay.


4 people like this
Posted by Sam/Caltrans
a resident of Woodside: Family Farm/Hidden Valley
on Apr 19, 2017 at 11:10 am

Here's the 2015 scoop on pay for the entirety of Samtrans - Web Link

The top guy needs to have his pay looked at, as do the average firefighters.

Menlo Voter: are you saying you support the multiple firefighters making over $300,000.00 a year?


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 19, 2017 at 12:15 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Sam/Caltrans:

The fire fighters earned that money by working overtime. Are you suggesting not paying time and a half when someone works overtime?


2 people like this
Posted by not Kansas, toto....
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 19, 2017 at 4:08 pm

And CEO's of mid size companies make what these days?


10 people like this
Posted by CEOs
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 19, 2017 at 5:21 pm

CEOs at midsize companies make about the same. The big difference is when those CEOs screw up major projects, they get fired. They certainly don't get a raise and contract extension like Caltrain's CEO.

The taxpayers get hit twice. One, they have to pay to fix these projects. Two, they have to pay for the pay raise.

The raise doesn't upset me as much as the lack of accountability.


Like this comment
Posted by morris brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Apr 20, 2017 at 5:40 am

The SM Daily Journal has expanded on this with an article located at:

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Sybille
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Apr 20, 2017 at 3:00 pm

As the song goes: "Money makes the world go around, the world go around." Sigh!


9 people like this
Posted by local
a resident of another community
on Apr 20, 2017 at 3:47 pm

I hope this gentleman at least spends his salary at local (mom & pop) drugstores, grocery stores, nurseries, merchants, shoe stores etc and not an online shopper for everything he needs. How about giving back to the community that is paying a portion of his salary


Like this comment
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 21, 2017 at 12:10 pm

"The fire fighters earned that money by working overtime. Are you suggesting not paying time and a half when someone works overtime?"

When yu are paying more in overtime that they earn in base salary (to more than one person in that position) it is fiscally irresponsible. You could hire another full time person who would work more hours and cost less. Why, because they would be working 40 hours for X dollars and not the 27 hours that you would get for the same cost at the 1.5x rate. And let's be honest 1.5 is optimistic, I am sure that a good portion of that OT was paid out at the 2x rate.

Now are you implying that just because one person is overpaid that we should ignore all the government people that are overpaid?


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 21, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"Now are you implying that just because one person is overpaid that we should ignore all the government people that are overpaid?"

Not at all. I question whether these firefighters were actually over paid. It seems much of this overtime was paid for by the state and the feds to firefighters that were deployed to wild fires and other disasters. If that is the case then, no, it's not fiscally irresponsible. They were getting paid that OT to do work that was outside their normal scope of duties and hours.

If most of the overtime was paid to the firefighters to back fill unfilled positions that may be a different story, but what I am hearing is much of the OT was not for that purpose. I withhold judgement until I have the facts surrounding exactly what these firefighters were paid OT to do.


Like this comment
Posted by Louise68
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 21, 2017 at 1:17 pm

He is overpaid, IMO. On the other hand, firefighters risk their lives fighting fires, and save our lives when they respond to 9-1-1 calls -- and yet some people are complaining about the salaries firefighters make, and not about the ridiculously high salaries and stock options, etc., that FaceBook and Google, etc., are paying their executives?

We can live quite well without FaceBook and Google, etc., but not without firefighters. They deserve every dollar they are paid.

(I wonder what the annual salaries are of those who are complaining about firefighters' pay. Maybe far more than a measly $300,000 a year?)


Like this comment
Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 21, 2017 at 10:34 pm

Brian is a registered user.

Louise,

in my humble opinion the firefighters are overpaid at the compensations levels reported in the Almanac. It is like the BART Janitor that took home $270K in a year. He has to deal with nasty messes, did he earn that pay? Pay is commensurate with qualifications and need. Engineers in SV get paid well because they have skills that are in high demand and are hard to find qualified applicants. CEOs at Facebook and Google are compensated because they do their job well and the companies profit from their leadership, that is a very rare skill and not one easily replaced.

As for your question, I seriously doubt many if any of the people who are appalled by the salaries make $300K a year or more. Maybe you do, I do not.


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