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Long IslandNassau

Oyster Bay’s staffing levels fall as its payroll costs go up

Oyster Bay Town Hall in 2014.

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

Oyster Bay decreased its staffing levels in both full-time and part-time employees in 2015 but its payroll costs increased compared with 2014, records show.

The full-time staff level fell by 31 employees to 1,189, a 2.5 percent decrease, according to town data.

“That was strictly due to attrition through that rolling [retirement] incentive that took place all year long and a commitment to not have any hires that were not essential,” Oyster Bay finance director Robert Darienzo said.

The number of part-time employees also dropped — by 82 to 1,155, a 6.6 percent decrease.

“There was certainly a conscious effort . . . to reduce the seasonals,” Darienzo said.

Despite the staff decreases, total pay in 2015, which includes base salary, overtime and other compensation, went up, to $95.5 million from $89.2 million, a 7 percent increase.

Darienzo said that about $4 million of that was due to the end of a phase-in of a payroll lag that had deferred employee paychecks in 2013 and 2014. After two years of having 25 paychecks in a year, the town returned to 26 paychecks per year, he said.

Overtime pay increased to $4.9 million from $4.6 million, which Darienzo said was also due to the end of the phase-in of the lag.

The remainder of the total payroll increase was due to contractual raises given out in January and July of 2015, Darienzo said.

All but one of the top 50 recipients of overtime worked in sanitation collection. For those workers, overtime ranged from $19,191 to $38,062. For full-time workers in sanitation collection, overtime counted for an average of 20 percent of their total pay.

“They’re contractually obligated to receive overtime for certain holidays, and they also receive overtime for yard waste pickup during certain portions of the year,” Darienzo said of the sanitation workers’ overtime.

Snowstorm cleanup did not have an impact on overtime in 2015, he said.

The highest-paid employee who did not retire was Douglas Robalino, a storeyard supervisor in the highway department, who was paid $153,300. He was followed by Town Attorney Leonard Genova, who was paid $150,768, and deputy commissioner of community and youth services Maureen Fitzgerald, who was paid $148,997.

Town Supervisor John Venditto, who was indicted on corruption charges in October, was paid $139,463 in 2015, making him the fourth highest-paid town or city executive in Long Island. Venditto has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The town paid two consultants from Hauppauge-based consulting firm Cashin Spinelli & Ferretti, who effectively worked full-time or slightly less than full-time, through the Department of Environmental Resources more than $500,000 in 2015 at an hourly rate of $175, according to invoices obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request.

Records show the town paid $285,512 in 2015 for Hal Mayer, an attorney, and $384,877 for John Ellsworth, who reviews environmental issues for the town. Neither are listed on payroll records as town employees. Ellsworth continues to work for the town as a consultant but Mayer stopped working for the town about midway through 2016.

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