Schenectady police dominate list of top-earning city employees in 2022

Schenectady Police Station exterior

Schenectady Police Station

SCHENECTADY — Members of the Schenectady Police Department hold nine of the top 10 slots on the list of the city’s highest earning municipal workers in 2022.

Police officers proliferate the list, with 27 of the top 30 rankings on the list, according to official city records on top earners.

Police overtime pay significantly boosted salaries for police in 2022, with the city’s top earner, police officer Richard Desbiens, paid $132,590 in overtime last year, boosting his base salary of $82,087 to a total of $222,333.

Police investigator Michael Crounse finished second on the city’s list, earning $97,057 in overtime pay to raise his total income to $192,172.

Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy said the police overtime pay system is a reality of retaining a police force in the city.

“The difficulty with that is then when you’ve gotta staff 24 hours and seven days a week and our base staffing is down,” McCarthy said on Wednesday. “Of course I wish those numbers were lower, but I’m at the same time thankful that I’ve got people who step up to take the slots so we can provide the coverage and respond to calls. In the police department now, many times we’re mandating the officers to stay so we can meet minimum staffing so we can provide services to residents as they call in for police assistance.”

McCarthy earned $100,568 in 2022, which did not crack the city’s list of top 50 earners. McCarthy is set to receive the same salary in 2023.

Police Chief Eric Clifford, who did not return calls for comment as of press time, finished 16th on the list of city workers and was paid $165,246 in 2022. Clifford will retain the same base salary of $164,796 in the city’s approved 2023 spending plan.

The police department budget in the city’s approved 2023 budget totals $23,166,713, up from the $22,865,515 total in the adopted 2022 budget.

The approved 2023 budget includes a $256,161 reduction in police overtime funding from the mayor’s original proposal.
McCarthy said staffing and compensating the police department is a top priority for the city.

“Police and fire are expensive personnel,” he noted on Wednesday. “They’re expensively trained and equipped. Unfortunately it’s just a reality of delivering those areas of service.”

Schenectady Fire Chief Donald Mareno finished ninth on the list with a $183,988 salary in 2022, with Assistant Fire Chief Marc Ciccone earning $161,611 last year, with $50,557 earned in overtime compensation.

Assistant Police Chief Michael Seber finished third on the list with $192,158 earned last year, with investigator Michael Hudson coming in fourth for city employees with $191,908 in total salary with $98,183 coming from overtime pay.

Of the city’s top-paid 50 public employees in 2022, all were members of the police and fire departments.

The mayor said he expects the trend of first responders commanding the top earners list to continue in the future.

“Historically it’s always been police and fire dominating it,” McCarthy said.

Categories: News, News, Schenectady, Schenectady County

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