Glen Cove’s overtime costs jumped nearly 8 percent from 2016 to 2017, pushing up the city’s overall payroll expenses even as employee costs elsewhere on Long Island fell, a Newsday records review shows.
The city in 2017 had the third-highest percentage of its payroll going to overtime of the Island’s two cities and 13 towns: 7.6 percent compared with 4.8 percent Islandwide. Private companies or the state government reimbursed the city for overtime payments generated from, among other things, driving-while-intoxicated patrols.
More than half of Glen Cove’s $1.5 million in overtime in 2017 went to the police department, as it had in previous years.
Police overtime increased 8 percent in 2017 to $867,000, but $81,845 of that was special detail for the filming of the Adam Sandler movie “The Week” in the city, Deputy Police Chief Christopher Ortiz said. The film’s production company later fully reimbursed the city, he said. Without that expense, department overtime dropped by about $18,000 compared with 2016, records show.
Fifteen of the top 20 overtime recipients in 2017 were police officers.
The two top police overtime recipients, Dets. Eddy Linares and Brian Glennon, “do a lot of narcotics enforcement,” including on two cases in 2017 that required them to repeatedly travel during their usual off-hours to U.S. District Court in Central Islip, Ortiz said.
Linares was the city’s second-highest overtime recipient in 2017, with overtime pay of $41,823, in addition to his $148,270 base salary and $24,481 in other income that includes night differential, holiday pay and longevity pay. Glennon ranked third, with $38,425 in overtime, a base salary of $148,189 and $24,505 in other pay.
Both also work nights, when overtime tends to be higher, Ortiz said. The city court is closed at night and with no city jail, arrestees must be transported to Mineola, he said.
The city’s fourth and sixth top overtime recipients, Officers Steven Grella and Jason Grella, also work nights, he said. The men are cousins, Ortiz said.
Much of Steven Grella’s overtime is because he made the most driving-while-intoxicated arrests in Glen Cove in 2017, Ortiz said. Peter Grella — who is Steven Grella’s brother and was 16th in total overtime pay — made the second highest number of DWI arrests, Ortiz said. Their combined overtime of nearly $62,000 in 2017 was due in part to the time to transport DWI suspects to Nassau County Police headquarters in Mineola for testing by specially trained breath alcohol technicians, including during special enforcement efforts, such as holiday weekends, when waits for breath tests are long and push up officers’ work hours, he said.
The top Glen Cove overtime recipient overall was Emanuel Grella, the general labor foreman in the Department of Public Works, who made $47,330 in overtime. That constituted 36 percent of Grella’s total $130,510 pay in 2017. Much of that overtime was work during snowstorms, city controller Sandra Clarson said. Emanuel Grella is not related to Steven and Peter and Jason Grella, she said.
Overall, the city’s payroll costs in 2017 rose 2.9 percent, to $19.9 million from $19.3 million. Clarson said the chief reason for the increase was unionized city employees receiving an average 4 percent pay increase between 2016 and 2017.
The top-paid employee in 2017 was again Police Chief William Whitton, whose total income was $258,068. The 39 highest-paid city employees were all police officers, with 19 making at least $200,000, including overtime, according to the records provided by Glen Cove.
“There’s not a lot we usually can do about that, because they are under the PBA [Police Benevolent Association] contract, and we have to abide by that,” Mayor Timothy Tenke said.
The highest-paid non-police employee was parks and recreation director Darcy Belyea, who had an income of $149,363, including $25,173 in overtime in 2017, records show.