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Riverhead workforce dropped in 2014; payroll rose slightly

Riverhead Police Chief David J. Hegermiller was the

Riverhead Police Chief David J. Hegermiller was the highest-paid town employee, making $327,605 in 2014. Photo Credit: Kathy Kmonicek

Riverhead paid its 580 employees $28.4 million in 2014, an increase of about $196,500, or 0.7 percent, despite having nine fewer employees than in 2013, a Newsday analysis shows.

The town had the second-highest average pay on Long Island, at $48,950, behind Southold, with an average pay of $55,902. Supervisor Sean M. Walter said that number is skewed because it’s compared to other towns in Nassau and Suffolk counties that don’t have their own police departments, as well as towns and cities that do have them.

The Riverhead Police Department was the most expensive segment of Riverhead’s payroll spending, at $13.6 million for 145 employees in the department, including officers, dispatchers and other staff, making up 48 percent of the town’s total salary spending in 2014.

“It’s well worth it,” Walter said. “We wouldn’t have it any other way. Having a local hometown police force is essential to the quality of life in Riverhead.”

Police also accounted for 23 of the town’s 25 highest-paid workers last year.

Police Chief David J. Hegermiller was the highest-paid, making $327,605. His pay for days worked was $157,460, with more than $100,000 in sick day buybacks, plus compensation from vacation days, excused days, holidays, a stipend and night differential making up the $170,145 difference.

Police Captain Richard T. Smith was the second highest-paid worker in town, making $224,006 in 2014. His pay for days worked was $143,065. He made no overtime, but excused days, holiday and vacation day buybacks, longevity pay and other compensation contractually required made up the difference.

Riverhead has 314 full-time employees, whose pay totaled $27.2 million in 2014, including nearly 100 percent of the town’s overtime spending. The town’s 266 part-time workers made $1.1 million.

Just under half of Riverhead workers are unionized — 269, or 46 percent. Those workers accounted for $22.2 million, or 78 percent of the town’s payroll costs. Nonunion workers numbered 311, and accounted for $6.2 million, 22 percent of payroll. Riverhead had the second-lowest rate of overtime behind East Hampton and Hempstead, which were tied with the lowest rate of 2.32 percent in 2014 on Long Island. Riverhead spent $745,490, or 2.63 percent of its total payroll costs on overtime, down from 3.53 percent in 2013.

Det. Michael Schmidt made the most in overtime, adding $47,191 to his $106,916 pay for regular hours. Night differential, longevity pay and other compensation helped bring his total pay to $197,320 last year.

Police employees received $579,010 in overtime, or nearly 78 percent of Riverhead’s total overtime spending.

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

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

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