GLOVERSVILLE — A shortage of police officers last year resulted in huge overtime expenses for Gloversville, with some officers earning more than $30,000 more their base salary as a result, according to records obtained by The Daily Gazette.
A list of the city’s top 10 earners for 2022, obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request, included nine members of the Gloversville Police Department, and shows the city paid out an exorbitant amount in overtime last year as it grappled with a severe staffing shortage, according to Mayor Vincent DeSantis.
“When you have that, those shifts have to be filled, so there was a lot of overtime to fill those shifts,” DeSantis said. “It’s really a public safety matter. You have to have people on shift out there in the community 24 hours a day.”
The city’s top earner last year was Sgt. Russell Klippel, who earned $122,962 — $42,612, or 53%, more than his base salary of $80,350, according to records.
Michael Garavelli, who began the year as a captain with the department but was promoted to chief following to resignation of former Chief Anthony Clay, was the city’s second top-earner, brining home $122,630, or $29,405 more than his base pay of $93,225.
Clay was sixth on the list, earning a salary of $110,472, just under $7,000 above his base salary of $103,851, according to city records.
DeSantis said increased overtime costs were necessary to fill shifts due to vacancies created by officer retirements and transfers.
At one point, the department had 12 vacancies — the equivalent of one-third of the 36-member force, DeSantis said.
“It’s become very unpopular to be a police officer these days, but in the last few months of 2022, we’ve had some real good luck at recruiting people,” DeSantis said.
Gloversville Fire Department Battalion Chief Michael Putnam was the only city employee on the list who did not work for the Police Department. He brought home a $107,531 salary last year, or $37,626 more than his $69,905 base pay, according to records.
DeSantis said the city has since filled a majority of the vacant positions, and that overtime expenses have already dropped this year compared to last — a trend he hopes will continue as the year progresses. The Police Department currently has three vacancies, DeSantis said.
He added that the vacancies on the police force allowed the city to save on base salary and benefit costs, but was not sure if the overtime expenses washed out any of the potential saving.
DeSantis also pointed to quality-of-life concerns associated with the overtime expenses, noting that while the increased hours result in higher pay, it takes away from their personal life, which eventually takes a toll on officers.
“You have officer burnout when you have to work like that,” he said. “They don’t want the overtime at some point. They have lives of their own. They want time off, they want to be able to take vacation time.”
Asked what the city is doing to recruit and retain officers to prevent such vacancies in the future, DeSantis pointed to a new contract approved by lawmakers last year that increased salary and offered greater benefits for officers.
Garavelli did not return a message seeking comment.
Here’s a list of the city’s top-earners in 2022.
- Sgt. Russell Klippel Jr. $122,962.74, or $42,612.34 above his base salary of $80,350.40.
- Cpt. Michael Garavelli: $122,630.56, or $29,404.96 above his base salary of $93,225.60.
- Lt. Bradley Schaffer: $114,863.45, or $28,065.05 about his base salary of $86,798.40.
- Sgt. Ronald Reu: $111,746.12, or $31,395.72 above his base salary of $80,350.40.
- Detective Sgt. Lucas Nellis: $111,444.16, or $27,869.76 above his base salary of $83,574.40.
- Chief of Police Anthony Clay: $110,472.78, or $6,621.78 above his base salary of $103,851.
- Detective Lt. Richard Richardson: $109,656.20, or $22,857.80 above his base salary of $86,798.40.
- Battalion Chief Michael Putnam: $107,531.42, or $37,581.02 above his base salary of $69,950.40.
- Police Corporal William Christman: $105,220.04, or $30,402.44 above his base salary of $74,817.60.
- Police Officer Michael Quattrocchi: $105,101.41, or $35,816.61 above his base salary of $69,284.80.
Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected] or by calling 518-395-3120.