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Hempstead Town had largest workforce, payroll on LI

The Hempstead Town Hall is shown on Nov.

The Hempstead Town Hall is shown on Nov. 28, 2011. Credit: JC Cherubini

Hempstead, the country's largest town, had the largest workforce among Long Island's cities and towns in 2013, with 4,582 employees, and the highest payroll at $168,844,857.

Town workers -- including full-time, part-time and seasonal employees -- increased by 43 last year. Town spokesman Michael Deery said that increase was largely attributable to the aftermath of superstorm Sandy.

"We were just picking up refuse on people's lawn, every day," Deery said. "That went on months."

Federal reimbursement for Sandy covered some of those costs, Hempstead Comptroller Kevin Conroy said.

Despite the additional work, overtime costs as a percentage of total pay went down to 2 percent from 5.3 percent in 2012. The town spent $3.4 million on overtime. Conroy said that decrease was the result of a policy shift that began several years ago.

"For example we take a guy in the parks department and if we need him in sanitation, we move him to sanitation," Conroy said. "That basically was an offset to overtime hours."

The top three compensated employees in Hempstead, among people who didn't retire, were Deery, with $173,881; Raymond Mineo, chief of staff-supervisor with $173,582; and town attorney Joseph Ra with $173,582. The highest paid employee was Craig Weeden, who retired as deputy comptroller and was rehired as a part-time clerical aide. He was paid $211,432, which included his retirement payout.

Conroy said those salaries were "absolutely commensurate with the time and devotion they have for the Town of Hempstead, not to mention the tenure they have in public service."

Hempstead had the highest average pay in Nassau County at $36,849. Deery said the higher salaries were a reflection of the higher costs of living related to the town's proximity to New York City. Town Supervisor Kathleen Murray was the highest paid town supervisor in Nassau at $139,206.

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