SCHENECTADY — All but one of the city’s top 10 highest-paid employees work for the city Police Department.
City cops dominated the top-earner list in 2019, with large chunks of their compensation fueled by overtime.
Sgt. Jeff McCutcheon drew $205,383, including $82,417 for his base salary and $114,044.11 in overtime.
Joining McCutcheon in the top five was city Fire Chief Raymond Senecal, who earned a total of $157,941, with no overtime pay.
Police Chief Eric Clifford also made the top 10, earning $151,594, also drawing no overtime.
Rounding out the top 10 were police officers Nicholas Giardono, Richard Desbiens, Robert Young, Jr., Peter Mullen Jr., Jason Slingerland, Aaron Lang and Sgt. Joseph Gatta.
Assistant Fire Chief Don Mareno was edged out of the top list, clocking in at No. 11 with $150,429; $9,139 of that in overtime.
In total, 124 city employees earn over $100,000 annually, according to a report provided by the city Corporation Counsel’s Office.
Clifford acknowledged overtime is driving salaries skyward.
"Typically what happens is the top-earners are the most reliable workers to grab those extra shifts,” Clifford said, including weekends, holidays and off-hours.
Overtime can also be attributed to officers filling in while their colleagues are undergoing training, a measure that will ultimately reduce costs long-term by reducing the department’s insurance premiums, Clifford said.
"We do appreciate the officers for the time they provide to the [city] Police Department and the city in general,” Clifford said. “For every hour they work, it’s one less hour spending with their family and friends, so we realize their sacrifice.”
Clifford said he hasn’t personally performed a cost-benefit study to weigh hiring more full-time staff as opposed to continuing to pay out overtime costs, which totaled $665,000 for the top eight staffers alone last year.
The chief, however, estimated once additional costs are included, such as health insurance and benefits, he would have to hire 40 more officers in order to eliminate overtime entirely — a 25-percent increase over the department’s current force, which contains 160 officers on the payroll.
"From a cost-effective standpoint, it’s more effective to pay overtime,” Clifford said.
He also noted the department has been working to reduce sick time usage in recent years.
"This year, our sick time use was down significantly,” he said.
While not taking top slots, asstistant chiefs Jack Falvo Jr. and Michael Seber each took home $140,080.
Despite the controversy over Mayor Gary McCarthy’s requested 16-percent salary increase last year, he didn’t make the top 100, earning $99,700 last year.
The City Council ultimately approved a more modest 4-percent increase for the mayor, which will be kept flat for the next four years.
Top 10 earners among city of Schenectady employees in 2019
- Sgt. Jeffrey McCutcheon $205,383 (including $114,044 in overtime)
- Officer Nicholas Giardono $197,662.05 (including $112,663 in overtime)
- Officer Richard Desbiens $169,053 (including $86,660 in overtime)
- Officer Robert Young, Jr. $166,652 (including $77,835 in overtime)
- Sgt. Joseph Gatta $160,964 (including $67,900 in overtime)
- Fire Chief Raymond Senecal $157,941
- Officer Peter Mullen Jr. $154,976 (including $69,500 in overtime)
- Officer Jason Slingerland $152,873 (including $66,600 in overtime)
- Police Chief Eric Clifford $151,594
- Officer Aaron Lang $151,540 (including $69,682 in overtime)