District Attorney Louise Sira tops the list of highest paid employees in Fulton County for 2011.
The rest of the list consists department heads, most of whom do not receive overtime and have not had a raise for since 2010. In many cases, the top wage earners received only a base salary and longevity stipend, an amount based on their years of service with the county.
Sira is one of the exceptions in that she earned a base salary of $119,000 with no longevity stipend. Her salary is set by the state and is expected to increase by $40,000 over the next three years, courtesy of a binding recommendation of a special state commission. The commission recommended salaries of district attorneys and state judges across the state be raised 27 percent.
Then-Gov. George E. Pataki appointed Sira as Fulton County district attorney in 2002.
She had been serving in an interim basis after former DA Polly Hoye was elected Fulton County judge that year.
Sira joined the district attorney’s office in 1994 and was first assistant under Hoye when Hoye was elected to the bench. Sira was elected to office in 2006 and re-elected in 2010. In becoming district attorney, an elected position, Sira forfeited longevity steps awarded by the county.
Jon Stead, Fulton County administrative officer and clerk of the board — who is fourth on the list with a 2011 pay of $83,642 — said department heads top the list because the county does its best to maintain adequate staffing and control overtime costs.
In larger counties, non-department heads such as road patrol officers, correction officers and caseworkers are often the top wage earners, thanks to substantial overtime pay on top of their base pay.
No members of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office are on the list of top wage earners. Sheriff Thomas Lorey, whose 2011 budgeted salary was $67,485, does not even make the list of top 15 wage earners.
One person who won’t be on the top 10 list for 2012 is Jennifer Gilston, who served as administrator of the Fulton County Residential Facility. She earned $85,144 in 2011, making her No. 3. Gilston resigned as administrator earlier this month rather than go to work for the new owners of the nursing home. The county sold the nursing home to a downstate health care corporation, with the transition expected to be complete by April. The county will save her salary going forward.
Also on the top 10 list are:
No. 2: Jeffrey Bouchard, director of solid waste management, $94,610.
No. 5: Rodney Montana, deputy superintendent of highways, $82,732.
No. 6: Ernest Gagnon, director of community mental health, $81,830.
No. 7: Denise Frederick, director of public health, $78,624.
No. 8: Sheryda Cooper, commissioner of social services, $78,511.
No. 9: Mark Yost, superintendent of highways and facilities, $77,859.
No. 10: James Mraz, planning director, $75,354.