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What you need to know for 04/23/2017

Niskayuna: Department heads top high-earner list

Niskayuna: Department heads top high-earner list

Four out of the five top earners employed by the town of Niskayuna in 2012 were department heads, ac

Four out of the five top earners employed by the town of Niskayuna in 2012 were department heads, according to town numbers.

The other member of the top five was a police sergeant, who was one of just two town employees in the top 25 to earn more than $20,000 in overtime.

Eight earned more than $100,000.

The town’s top earner for 2012 was longtime town Highway Superintendent Frank Gavin. Gavin earned a base salary of $107,868, plus $2,066 in buybacks for a total pay of $109,934.

At a glance

Top salaries for Niskayuna employees (base salary followed by actual pay earned, including contractual pay, buybacks and overtime and officer-in-charge pay):

* Highway Supt. Frank Gavin, $107,868, $109,934

* Police Sgt. Michael Stevens, $80,348, $109,126

* Supt. Water & Sewer Richard Pollock, $107,868, $107,868

* Comptroller Paul Sebesta, $107,868, $107,868

* Police Chief John Lubrant, $103,368, $105,923

* Deputy Police Chief Stanley Fiminski, $99,230, $103,212

* Patrolman James Walsh, $74,123, $101,805

* Sergeant Joseph Twitty, $80,348, $101,486

* Senior Civil Engineer Matthew Yetto, $82,932, $99,561

* Patrolman John Serotta, $74,123, $98,453

Niskayuna Police Sgt. Michael Stevens came in a close second with a total pay of $109,126, representing a base pay of $80,348 and “overtime and officer-in-charge” pay of $20,336. He also received about $8,500 in contractual pay and buy backs.

In neighboring Schenectady, the top earner in 2012 was a lieutenant who earned just over $171,000 in 2012, a number that included nearly $90,000 in overtime pay.

Town Board member Julie McDonnell said overtime costs are something the town works on.

“We certainly do work very hard to keep the overtime down as much as possible,” McDonnell said. “But there are certainly situations where it’s needed.”

McDonnell said the effort is all the more important with the tax cap in recent years, something that many municipalities face.

Final overall overtime numbers were not available, but the town budgeted $131,000 for overtime in 2012. That was down from the $170,624 the town actually saw in 2011. The department saw $181,876 in overtime in 2010 and just $107,601 in 2009. The tentative 2013 budget included $150,000.

Town Board member Jonathan McKinney noted that having four out of the top five being department heads is to be expected.

Salaries, he noted, are a huge part of any town’s budget.

“I think even with all the rising costs of health care and benefits, we still keep things reasonable,” McKinney said. “I’m happy with where we are.”

Overall, 19 of the town’s top 25 earners in 2012 hailed from the Police Department, compared with 20 of the top 25 in 2011.

The town’s overall 2012 budget was $13.2 million. The Police Department’s share of that was just over $3.05 million.

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