Brookhaven had the highest overtime spending of all Long Island towns and cities in 2014, totaling $6.5 million, or 9.52 percent of its entire payroll, a Newsday analysis of the town’s spending found.
The town had 234 employees who made $10,000 or more in overtime that year. Despite its high overtime spending, Brookhaven was also the only Long Island town to reduce its payroll spending — by a little more than $45,000 — for total of $68 million in 2014.
“You can’t just look at overtime by itself,” said Matthew Miner, Brookhaven’s chief of operations and commissioner of waste management. “You have to look at overall salary expenses. . . . We’re better managing the staff and really examining whether it’s better to add staff or utilize existing staff and some overtime.”
Miner said that effort has helped the town hold down overall spending because new hires come with the added cost of health and other benefits. He said the town has reduced its overall workforce by 19 percent since 2008. The town has brought total overtime spending down from 11.4 percent in 2012.
Brookhaven’s highest-gross pay of $152,589 went to Edward P. Morris, the commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Sports, and Cultural resources. He’s also the supervisor’s chief of staff, a role he isn’t paid extra for, Miner said.
The highest overtime pay in 2014 went to Edward Gregory, Brookhaven’s maintenance supervisor for the Parks Division. His gross income of $150,097 was supplemented with $56,500 in overtime, making him the second-highest-paid town employee.
Miner said overtime was largely driven by the town’s busy landfill, and its geographic size — Brookhaven is the largest town in Suffolk County and has many miles of roads that needed clearing after heavy winter storms last year.
The highway department paid $2.4 million in overtime in 2014, accounting for nearly 37 percent of Brookhaven’s total overtime spending. The department had 84 workers making $10,000 or more in overtime. The department’s highest overtime pay in 2014 went to General Supervisor Michael Murphy, who added $46,694 to bring his annual pay to $118,441.
The park division, which had 63 employees making $10,000 or more in overtime in 2014, accounted for nearly $1.5 million, or 23 percent of Brookhaven’s total overtime expenses.
Refuse and garbage workers accounted for 20 percent, or $1.3 million. Of those workers, 47 made $10,000 or more in overtime. Senior scale operator Dale K. Sutton made $54,394.37 in overtime, nearly doubling his $64,650 salary.
Union workers accounted for $58.1 million of Brookhaven’s total salary costs, including $6.5 million, or nearly 100 percent of its overtime spending. The town has 568 nonunion workers, including elected officials and management employees, who made $9.9 million, or 14.6 percent of total salary spending in 2014. Only two nonunion workers — part-time employees in the Youth Recreation Program — were paid overtime, for a total of $288.
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.
Dec. 7: Town and City Payroll Overview
Dec. 8: Glen Cove and Huntington
Dec. 9: Hempstead and Babylon
Dec. 10: Oyster Bay and Smithtown
Dec. 11: North Hempstead and Islip
Dec. 14: Brookhaven and Long Beach
Dec. 15: Southampton and East Hampton
Dec. 16: Riverhead, Southold and Shelter Island