Having someone lead Schenectady County’s economic development efforts doesn’t come cheap.
Ray Gillen, the commissioner of the county’s Department of Planning and Economic Development and chairman of the Metroplex Development Authority, was paid $168,719 to do the job in 2012, most of which came in the form of his base salary. Gillen’s gross pay easily ranked him first among Schenectady County’s top paid employees last year.
Gillen’s base salary alone — $162,283 — was more than $20,000 higher than any other county worker, according to figures provided by the county under a Freedom of Information request submitted by The Gazette this week. He earned an additional $6,436 through a retroactive pay raise from 2011 and through the county’s health insurance buyback incentive.
The name, title, base salary and total pay of Schenectady County’s 10 highest-paid employees in 2012:
• Raymond Gillen, commissioner of planning, $162,283, $168,719
• Andrew Kulmatiski, library director (retired), $94,700, $145,981
• Robert Carney, district attorney, $140,300, $145,708
• Kathleen Rooney, county manager, $129,218, $140,333
• James Dickinson, corrections officer, $54,918, $134,242
• Deborah Mancini, finance commissioner, $116,725, $132,826
• Dennis Packard, social services commissioner, $131,122, $132,672
• Phillip Mueller, chief assistant district attorney, $122,907, $132,119
• Jason Temple, patrol lieutenant, $73,868, $131,196
• Robert Kennedy, patrol officer, $61,900, $130,703
The only county employee to come near Gillen’s gross salary was library Director Andrew Kulmatiski, who earned $145,981 after cashing in vacation, sick leave, and longevity pay when he retired last year. County District Attorney Robert Carney, who earned a salary of $140,300, came the closest to Gillen’s base pay.
Gillen wasn’t shy about discussing his salary. While acknowledging it was considerable, he pointed to the sweeping changes he’s overseen since coming to the county from his job as director of industry development for the Empire State Development Corporation in 2004. Last year alone, he said, he oversaw roughly $200 million in economic development throughout the county — something that was made possible by streamlining operations.
“Look at our annual report,” he said. “We now have 10 fewer people working in economic development and we’re getting 10 times the results. We are a streamlined, effective, results-oriented economic development team.”
Of course, Gillen wasn’t alone among the list of county workers topping six figures. In fact, all 10 top earners in the county grossed more than $130,000.
Among them were several other county executives. County Manager Kathleen Rooney earned $140,333, bolstering her base pay of $129,218 with longevity pay and a retroactive pay raise from 2011.
Deborah Mancini, the county’s finance commissioner, earned $132,826 last year. Dennis Packard, the county’s Social Services commissioner, grossed $132,672.
The list also includes three deputies from the Schenectady County Sheriff’s Office. In each case, their salaries were bolstered by overtime pay, plus other allowances contractually afforded to correction officers and the sheriff’s road patrol.
Correction Officer James Dickinson was the highest-paid county lawman, earning $134,242 last year. His base pay was $54,918.
Lt. Jason Temple and Patrol Officer Robert Kennedy also made the top-10 highest-earners list. Both earned more than $53,000 in added pay on top of their base salaries.
Sheriff Dominic Dagostino said the two deputies both fill in at the county jail when there’s a shortage of employees. With the jail requiring a minimum staffing level, he said he has to parcel out hours to the officers who are willing to work them.
“Other correction officers chose not to take the overtime,” he said. “As a result, there are three or four officers who earn a lot of money.”
Dagostino said the high gross salaries also don’t reflect the recent drop in overtime he’s overseen at the jail. He said overtime costs have dropped by roughly $300,000 over the past calendar year, largely as a result of a policy change that forces correction officers to come to work or face termination when they exhaust their leave time.
“As a result of that, our attendance has been much better,” he said.