World

Uproar after $385,000-a-year janitor discovered using closet for 'lunch breaks'

A US transit system janitor who caused an uproar over his salary has been found hiding in a closet during his work hours.

Mr Liang Zhao Zhang, who cleans the Powell Street station in downtown San Francisco, reportedly earned a total of US$271,243 (S$385,000) in 2015.

The sum includes his basic salary of US$57,945 and US$162,050 in overtime pay, public records released by Transparent California showed.

Local television station KTVU revealed that the Bay Area Rapid Transit (Bart) paid Mr Liang for working 20 hours a day for 18 consecutive days. He was also paid every day, including weekends, for the whole of 2015.

KVTU, which went through two days' worth of surveillance footage from Bart's security cameras, discovered that Mr Liang frequently visited a storage closet in the station and spent up to 90 minutes in the closet several times a day.

Mr Liang claims those were lunch breaks, although Bart said its employees have 30 minutes to eat their lunch in a break room.

Bart's chief transportation officer Roy Aguilera told KVTU Mr Liang had never refused extra work. "He's worked hard, he's completed the assignments, so I stand by the work he's done."

Transparent California's Robert Fellner slammed Mr Liang's "obscene" paycheck, calling it "absolutely outrageous". Mr Fellner joked that Mr Liang was "superhuman" to have worked every single day in 2015.

Transparent California said another 49 janitors earned over US$100,000 in 2015. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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