Glen Cove’s payroll costs fell 5 percent between 2014 and 2015, a Newsday review of city records shows.
Mayor Reginald Spinello attributed the drop in part to the effects of retirements and of 2014 buyouts, when, in an effort to save money, the city offered financial incentives — based on job tenure — for employees to leave.
“We had people who retired and people who came in at lower salaries,” he said.
The total Glen Cove payroll in 2015 was $18,281,505, compared with $19,235,499 in 2014.
A 2013 contract with the union representing police and a 2014 contract with the union representing many other city employees will continue to reap savings in future years, the mayor said.
The police contract decreased the base pay for newly hired officers and increased the time it takes new officers to reach the highest pay scale, he said. Both contracts require new employees to pay part of their health insurance costs for the first time.
Glen Cove had 586 people on its payroll in 2015, and the 36 top-paid employees were police officers. Police Chief William Whitton was the city’s highest-paid employee. He earned $252,983, including $5,303 in overtime pay, in 2015.
Glen Cove’s overtime costs dropped by nearly 3 percent, driven by a 17 percent decline in police overtime pay, in 2015 over 2014.
Spinello said several retirements and the hiring of officers at lower salaries meant lower overtime costs. In addition, “better management” by keeping closer tabs on overtime helped, he said.
Even so, Glen Cove had the fourth-highest percentage of its payroll going to overtime of the Island’s two cities and 13 towns.
“When you have a city that has a police department, it obviously skews your overtime,” Spinello said.
Police work, by its nature, leads to more overtime, he said. For example, if officers make arrests near the end of their shifts, they need to bring the suspects to Mineola to be processed and remain there for a while.
Eleven of the top 20 overtime recipients in 2015 were police officers. That’s down from 2014, when 17 were police employees.
Most of the other top overtime recipients worked either for the water department or for the Department of Public Works. The high overtime income for some public works employees stemmed primarily from major snowstorms, Spinello said.
Water service foreman Michael Colangelo received more overtime than any other city employee: $64,728, in addition to his base salary of $71,868. Colangelo’s overtime pay was up 33 percent from 2014, when he took in $48,585 and also was the city’s leading overtime recipient.
Colangelo’s total income — $147,732 — made him the city’s highest-paid non-police employee in 2015.
Spinello said Colangelo is the “lead guy in water” and had to deal with a large number of water main breaks in 2015, primarily because of freezing pipes.
A milder winter in 2016 and more automation of water operations is bringing down overtime costs for this year, the mayor said.
The number of full-time employees in Glen Cove was the same in 2015 as it was in 2014: 210. The number of part-time and seasonal employees went up slightly, from 370 to 376, according to city payroll records. Spinello said that is in part because of the expansion of a camp program in 2015.