Even with not having gotten a raise for a dozen years, District Attorney James Sacket’s $119,800 salary made him Schoharie County’s highest-paid public servant for the year 2011, by a wide margin.
Sacket joins employees in various departments including corrections, public works and social services in the list of the top-10 salaries for the county, according to information provided in response to a Freedom of Information Law request.
For Sacket, now in his 15th year as prosecutor, the workload has undergone many changes, unlike the pay, but he said he enjoys criminal law and serving the public.
“It’s a demanding job but to me it’s an important job. We try to keep our community safe,” he said.
Sacket said he’s seen an increase in some crimes like domestic violence, burglaries and theft, crimes he suspects are related to a poor economy.
Added to the larger caseload is a list of responsibilities New York state has placed in the county’s lap: sex offender registration, DNA collection, drug treatment court, integrated domestic violence court and the prosecution of state police traffic tickets.
“I had none of those duties,” he said of the day when he started the job 15 years ago.
In an effort to lessen the county’s cost of prosecution, he said it’s important for the District Attorney’s Office to find grants whenever possible while keeping an eye out for proceeds of forfeitures and seizures during criminal investigations and prosecutions.
The work of a prosecutor, Sacket said, involves bringing the work police officers do on the streets into a courtroom.
And after working with police for more than a decade, he said he understands why many officers retire after 20 years.
“Police officers, day in and day out, they put their lives on the line for us. We take what they do and try to get the optimal disposition for every case,” Sacket said.
Salaries of some of the top 10 highest paid in 2011 were inflated by overtime incurred in the wake of tropical storms Irene and Lee, including that of Corrections Sgt. Allen C. Nelson Jr., who earned $73,637.87 with a base salary of $48,086.
A similar situation occurred for Public Works Supervisor Karl A. Remmers, who earned $72,227.54 with a base salary of $58,749.
Top 10 in 2011
Here are the top-paid Schoharie County employees, with job title, base salary and total 2011 earnings:
James Sacket, district attorney: $119,800; $119,800
Paul Brady, social services commissioner: $82,749; $88,362
Alicia Terry, planning director/economic development director: $69,509; $83,298
David Lapinel, social services attorney: $76,394; $82,204
William Cherry, treasurer: $71,743; $74,243
Allen Nelson Jr., corrections sergeant: $48,086; $73,638
Bonnie Post, deputy director of community services: $72,000; $72,427
Karl Remmers, public works supervisor: $58,749; $72,228
Kathleen Buschynski, head social welfare examiner: $71,137; $72,137
Anthony Desmond, sheriff: $69,690; $71,690
Source: Schoharie County