Double-dipping Islip official collects nearly $200G

Left, an undated image of Islip Town Hall. Left, an undated image of Islip Town Hall. Right, Linda A. Angello, whom Supervisor Tom Croci appointed as his unpaid deputy amid a power struggle on the Town Board. (March 16, 2005) Photo Credit: Erin Geismar, Jim Peppler

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Islip Town's newly appointed deputy supervisor is its top double-dipper, making nearly $200,000 annually in state pension payments and town salary, according to a recent public records request.

Linda A. Angello, whom Supervisor Tom Croci appointed last month as his unpaid deputy amid a power struggle on the town board, has made $90,000 annually as the town's director of labor relations since January 2012 and began collecting a $102,761 annual state pension since 2010.

In a recent interview, Croci said Angello, who retired from her part-time state post as an adviser to then-state Sen. Caesar Trunzo on July 10, 2008, is "overqualified" for the Islip post. "We were very fortunate to have that kind of skill level and expertise."

Angello, 59, is one of eight town employees who under Croci received waivers, which allow retirees to collect pensions while drawing a full government salary. Five of those employees still work for the town.

Angello, who also held posts as the commissioner of the state Department of Labor and as director of the governor's office of employee relations, did not respond to a message seeking comment. Her waiver expires March 1, 2014.

Croci said the waiver system has allowed the financially strapped town to attract top talent.

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"The state system recognizes with these waivers that we can't compete with corporate America with regard to salaries and bonuses," Croci said. "But we still require the same kind of business experience and skill that corporate America requires, which is why they have this waiver system to bring in this knowledge that we couldn't otherwise afford."

State law limits former government workers younger than 65 receiving pensions from making more than $30,000 annually unless they receive a waiver, which requires municipalities to prove the employee is uniquely qualified for the post.

Under the previous administration of Democrat Phil Nolan, 10 town employees received waivers, town officials said.

Croci said among towns on Long Island, Islip's salaries are among the lowest -- $101,000 for commissioners -- and can negatively affect recruiting efforts. Town officials said they save money because the employees who have received waivers have health insurance through the pension system.

Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt, who Croci stripped of her post as the unpaid deputy supervisor, did not respond to messages seeking comment.

In addition to Angello, who according to public records, places first among salary earnings of the town's double dippers, Robert J. Schaefer, the commissioner of Long Island MacArthur Airport who worked previously as a staff sergeant at the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey, has a waiver allowing him to make $101,000 annually while collecting an annual $72,718 state pension.

Joseph J. Montuori, the town's commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, draws an annual salary of $65,000 while receiving a $66,227 annual state pension from his time as a state parks employee.

Councilman Steven J. Flotteron said he was unaware that Angello was collecting a pension, noting, "It's not something I manage." But he said the waiver system has helped the town find top talent.

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"My first responsibility is to get a very qualified person to get the job done for the taxpayers."

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