The highest paid employees on Shelter Island, and the leading overtime recipients in 2014, were police officers and highway department workers, a Newsday analysis of town and city payrolls shows.

As in other Long Island towns and cities with their own police departments, the biggest annual paychecks went to police officers. Shelter Island police had the nine largest pay packages in the town last year, ranging from $125,893 to $186,294, the data show.

“We’re building on contracts that go back to good economic times . . .,” said Christine Lewis, the town’s deputy supervisor.

“I think they’re very effective negotiators,” she said of the Police Benevolent Association, the police union.

But, she said, police pay on Shelter Island is lower than in some other departments on Long Island. In Long Beach, for example, 61 police officers made more money in 2014 than Shelter Island’s top pay recipient, Det. Jack Thilberg, who made $186,294.

Thilberg also led the list of the town’s overtime recipients, with $29,000 in overtime pay in 2014.

Lewis said that as the department’s only detective, Thilberg often works extra hours on investigations of the few serious crimes that occur in the town each year.

Thilberg also made $33,678 beyond his base salary and overtime. The additional pay included a $19,500 stipend for directing the town’s emergency medical services department, along with longevity, night-differential and holiday pay, said Supervisor James Dougherty. Thilberg made $1,553 more in 2014 than Shelter Island Police Chief James Read, who received $184,741 last year.

Dougherty had the highest pay among Shelter Island civilian employees at $83,934.

The seven top overtime recipients were police officers, but most of the rest of the town’s overtime went to highway department employees.

“They’re the people you call out in storms,” Lewis said. “They plow all night and plow into the next day. There’s your overtime.”

Overtime in the town, Long Island’s smallest, fell to $197,515 in 2015 from $247,377, and to 4.38 percent of the payroll from 5.66 percent the previous year.

Shelter Island had 123 employees in 2014, down from 125 in 2013. Fifty-one were full-time and 72 part-time.

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


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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