The town of Rotterdam’s 10 highest-paid employees in 2014 were all members of the Police Department, and overtime pay pushed many officers’ total earnings past the $100,000 mark.
Fourteen town employees, all police officers, earned six figures, according to numbers provided by the town. Of those workers, only four earned more than $100,000 in base pay.
“I certainly think the officers earn their pay,” said Deputy Chief Bill Manikas, whose $125,814 earned in 2014 placed him sixth on the list. “There’s no question about that.”
Richard Kranick, an investigator who retired last spring, topped the list by earning $154,818, which included an $80,932 buyout and $23,228 in overtime pay. His regular earnings were $50,326 and he was also paid a $331 clothing allowance.
A look at the town’s top 10 earners in 2014:
Name Gross pay Base pay
1. Inv. Richard Kranick (Ret.) $154,818 $50,326
2. Lt. Jason Murphy $142,926 $104,486
3. Chief James Hamilton $142,237 $136,197
4. Officer Patricia Mahar $141,175 $81,053
5. Sgt. Robert Dufek (Ret.) $132,582 $93,561
6. Deputy Chief Bill Manikas $125,814 $120,329
7. Sgt. Willard Stearns $124,373 $98,185
8. Officer Christopher Foster $122,614 $88,751
9. Lt. Michael Brown $119,938 $103,866
10. Lt. Thomas Culbert (Ret.) $117,284 $22,210
SOURCE: Town of Rotterdam
Manikas said the buyout was that high because Kranick elected to be paid for sick, compensatory, holiday and vacation time when he retired rather than on a yearly basis.
“He, I believe, banked the max,” he said.
Second on the list was Lt. Jason Murphy, whose $37,552 in overtime pay was the third highest among the town’s top earners. Murphy, who is retiring in the spring, earned $142,926 in total pay, which also included an $887 clothing allowance and a base salary of $104,926.
Manikas said Murphy worked extra overtime hours last year because Lt. Thomas Culbert retired in the spring, leaving Murphy as the department’s only patrol lieutenant. Murphy was thus required to respond to any major crime within the town.
“That created a glut of overtime for Lt. Murphy, as he’s now on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week instead of splitting it with the other lieutenant,” Manikas said.
In December, a divided Rotterdam Town Board denied promoting Sgt. Jeffrey Collins to lieutenant, a promotion the Police Department deemed necessary because Murphy is retiring this spring.
“When you do things like that, I understand there’s a cost savings, but you’re going to drive up overtime,” Manikas said.
Chief James Hamilton was third on the list, earning $142,237. Fourth was Officer Patricia Mahar, who is retiring in the spring and earned $141,175. Of that, $60,000 was overtime pay, but only $41,878 was from overtime hours worked in 2014. The rest was accrued holiday pay, longevity pay and overtime earned in previous years, Manikas said.
“I don’t think she’s turned down any overtime for the last year,” Manikas said. “Most officers refuse a substantial percentage of the overtime.”
Manikas said the town has hired eight police officers since late 2013, and that creates a need for overtime because officers-in-training do not count toward the number of officers on duty mandated by the police contracts. The new officers were hired to replace retiring officers, he said.
Supervisor Harry Buffardi, a retired Schenectady County sheriff who worked 36 years in law enforcement, said many officers with high overtime earnings are working extra hours as they approach retirement.
“I think some officers do look to get as much as they can during their finishing years because it adds into their retirement,” he said.
Buffardi said overtime is driven “by circumstance” — and not necessarily by increases in crime.
“A day like today could push overtime,” he said Monday, when the region was hit with heavy snow.
He added, “Barack Obama could come to town.”
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