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Oyster Bay paid most overtime in 2014 to sanitation workers

Oyster Bay Town Hall is seen in 2014.

Oyster Bay Town Hall is seen in 2014. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

The 53 Oyster Bay Town employees who received the most overtime pay in 2014 worked for the sanitation division, a Newsday analysis of town and city payroll data shows.

Twenty of those sanitation workers each received more than $29,000 in overtime in 2014, pushing their total pay into the six figures.

Total overtime in Oyster Bay increased 1.2 percent in 2014, to more than $4.6 million. The town spent 5.18 percent of its payroll on overtime, a drop from 5.3 percent in 2013, putting it slightly above the Islandwide average of 4.83 percent.

Town attorney Leonard Genova attributed the high overtime pay to contract requirements that sanitation workers hired before 1996 receive a minimum amount of overtime that is calculated from employees’ base pay. And overtime for sanitation workers also stems from reliance on them during snowstorms, said Supervisor John Venditto.

The town’s total payroll expense rose 3.6 percent from 2013 to 2014, after falling more than 17 percent the previous year.

The Oyster Bay Town employees with the top pay — including accrued vacation and sick leave payouts as well as overtime — were a mix of union employees in the public works, parks and highway departments, and the top town executives.

Two employees linked to financial scandals in Oyster Bay this year were among the town’s 60 highest-paid workers in 2014.

Commissioner of Planning and Development Frederick Ippolito, who in March was indicted on federal tax-evasion charges, had the 12th highest total pay: $137,610. Ippolito pleaded not guilty and remains commissioner.

Frederick Mei, who sources have identified as the town official indicted restaurateur Harendra Singh allegedly bribed to obtain loan guarantees from Oyster Bay, was paid $111,861 last year as deputy town attorney. Mei resigned in August. Singh pleaded not guilty to 13 federal charges.

Venditto was paid $134,099, the fourth-highest pay of the Island’s supervisors and top city officials in 2014.

Oyster Bay increased its full-time and part-time workforce by 61 employees in 2014. In 2013, Oyster Bay had the largest decrease in employees — 361 — of any Long Island town thanks to its cost-cutting effort at the time. Many of those departing employees took advantage of financial incentives to leave, but the town did not know in advance how many would do so, Venditto said.

“After the significant cuts in staff that occurred during 2013, we reassessed our needs for 2014 and made adjustments accordingly,” he said.

HOW IT WAS DONE

A team of 11 Newsday reporters has gathered 2014 payroll data from Long Island’s 13 towns and two cities under New York’s Freedom of Information Law. Those statistics have information that has been has been added to payroll data for the previous three years, from 2011 to 2013.

To research payroll data in your town or city, go to Newsday’s interactive database at newsday.com/payrolls.

THE SERIES

Thursday: Oyster Bay and Smithtown

Friday: North Hempstead and Islip

Monday: Brookhaven and Long Beach

Tuesday: Southampton and East Hampton

Wednesday: Riverhead, Southold and Shelter Island

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