East Hampton Town spent $25,582,094 on payroll in 2015 — an increase of $966,092 over 2014 — and increased its total general fund surplus by about $4 million while also hiring four new employees, a Newsday review shows.
The four new hires included a director of public safety, an ordinance inspector, an environmental technician and an executive assistant to Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell. The four received salaries of $81,600, $45,852, $48,880 and $40,000, respectively.
Cantwell was paid $102,792 in 2015 compared to $100,776 in 2014, representing a 2 percent raise given across the board to non-bargaining employees, according to Charlene Kagel-Betts, the town’s chief auditor.
The highest paid town employee was Police Lt. Thomas Grenci Jr., at $224,071, “because of his retirement payout, including sick time and vacation,” town budget officer Leonard W. Bernard Jr. said. Second was East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael D. Sarlo, who made $196,352 in 2015, up from $183,573 the previous year.
“When you take out his [Grenci’s] payout, he was well below the chief,” Bernard noted.
The total paid in town employee overtime went up slightly in 2015, to $808,508 from $729,306 in 2014. Kagel-Betts said the amount allotted for overtime in the adopted 2014 budget was $570,059. Snowstorms and other unanticipated expenses increased that amount to $729,306.
“Most of it [2015 overtime] was probably attributable to Montauk — that’s a reflection of increased police, code enforcement and building personnel, so that was to be expected,” Bernard said.
He was referring to the crackdown by town officials initiated last year in response to disruptive behavior by young summertime visitors to Montauk.
Years of such problems came to a head in 2015 after a particularly raucous July Fourth weekend that led to increased police patrols, heightened code enforcement, new laws and other measures.
Kagel-Betts said the crackdown built up more funds for the town, citing the increase in East Hampton Town Justice Court fines and fees generated from lawbreakers, which rose from $995,000 in 2014 to $1.2 million in 2015.
“The overtime was more than offset by the fruits of enforcement,” Bernard said, noting such increased efforts as fire marshals being extra diligent by issuing citations at overcrowded nightclubs.
“In retrospect at the end of the year we increased the total general fund surplus by about $4 million for a total of $17.2 million with a conservative budget and department heads keeping spending down,” Bernard said.