Two double-homicide cases and a major gang-related drug bust made for a busy year with lots of overtime for Amsterdam police officers, who had nine of the top 10 city paychecks in 2012.
According to data provided by the city in response to a Freedom of Information Law request, nine police officers and one firefighter — Fire Chief Richard Liberti — earned a combined $125,445.33 beyond base salaries last year.
The top 10 highest paid city of Amsterdam employees in 2012, with name, position, base pay and total earnings.
Gregory Culick police chief $99,558 $110,100
Michael Cole police sergeant $69,967 $98,756
Victor Hugo deputy police chief $90,817 $95,733
Kurt J. Conroy detective lieutenant $78,017 $93,497
Richard Liberti fire chief $81,443 $88,422
Robert Richardson police lieutenant $76,017 $87,632
Thomas Hennessy detective $63,461 $84,489
Thomas DiCaprio police sergeant $74,676 $83,803
Owen Fuhs police sergeant $71,968 $82,602
Thomas Nethaway police sergeant $74,676 $81,012
Topping the list is Police Chief Gregory Culick, who earned $110,100. The pay reflects a $10,542 difference from the base salary of $99,558.
Culick and other officers at or above the rank of sergeant each earn six hours of overtime pay monthly as compensation for “on call” duty, according to police spokesman Lt. Detective Kurt J. Conroy.
In addition, all officers are allowed to sell back up to 96 hours of holiday time if they choose to work instead.
Conroy said officers also get an annual stipend of $2,000 if they opt out of the city’s health insurance. He said federal health care privacy law prohibits disclosing who gets city health insurance and who doesn’t.
Some officers are also claimed an educational incentive, Conroy said.
Those with an associate degree can earn an extra $250 per year; a bachelor’s degree yields a $500 bonus.
“That encourages the officers to have some education,” Conroy said.
In addition, officers are able to forgo available sick time and receive a quarterly buyback as high as $125 with the potential for $500 if they don’t call in sick.
All officers have to procure their own uniforms and other gear, and they receive an allowance of $700 or $1,200 depending on whether they are plain-clothed or uniformed, Conroy said.
Over in the Fire Department, Chief Richard Liberti was $6,979.43 above his base salary — stipends for code enforcement duties, EMS and on-call duty and a uniform allowance. Liberti said he also sold back a week’s vacation he never took.
Several police investigators, including Conroy, racked up numerous hours in overtime during a busy 2012.
Work requiring overtime last year included investigating the killings of Cheryl Goss, 46, and William McDermott, 56, who were found stabbed to death in McDermott’s apartment March 2.
Their work with state police and the office of District Attorney James “Jed” Conboy led to the conviction of Amsterdam resident Ivan Ramos earlier this month on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He faces life in prison at a sentencing scheduled for March.
Conroy, who recalls sleeping at the police station several nights during the investigation, said investigators worked the case “up until a couple of weeks ago, when it was on trial.”
The department also worked what was initially considered a missing persons case before Amsterdam officers found Paul Damphier, 16, and Jonathan DeJesus, 13, dead of gunshot wounds in a town of Florida field.
Anthony Brasmeister, 16, and Matthew Phelps, 15, are facing second-degree murder charges in the case being investigated by State Police.