Smithtown’s payroll rose 3 percent from 2014 to 2015, despite fewer employees working for the town.
The town’s $37,422,321.77 payroll in 2015 reflects contractual raises for employees in the town’s blue- and white-collar unions, as well as higher benefits payouts for retirees, said Town Comptroller Donald Musgnug in a phone interview.
“We had contractual increases with both unions and the overall increases were 1.4 percent for both unions,” Musgnug said. He added, “as our employee census gets older and has more time and longevity, their vested benefits payout are generally higher. Because of the number and the longevity of those employees, I believe the longevity payments contributed to the higher payout.”
The Smithtown payroll was the eighth highest for towns on Long Island. In 2015, the town’s average employee pay was $29,676.70, a 7 percent increase over $27,767.37 in 2014.
The total overtime pay decreased in 2015 to $1,582,784.47 from $1,604,087.46 in 2014. The total overtime pay as a percentage of the town’s overall payroll also declined to 4.23 percent of the total payroll, from 4.4 percent in 2014.
For the second year in a row, Smithtown’s director of environmental protection, Russell Barnett, was the top earner in the town with a paycheck of $168,818.77 on a base salary of $156,611.00. In 2014, he earned $153,671.
The second-highest earner was Public Safety Director John Valentine, who made $152,311.62 on a $143,488.80 base salary in 2015.
Town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio was the 40th highest paid town employee with a $111,635 salary with no overtime. His secretary Marlene Wolke was the eighth highest paid employee with a $142,264.52 paycheck on a base salary of $102,432.62.
The town had 1,261 full- and part-time jobs in 2015, with 38 positions vacated due to retirement or resignations. Musgnug said the town employed fewer people in full-time jobs in 2015 than in the previous five years.
“There were 448 full-time positions, and there were 462 in 2014, and 474 in 2013. It’s gradually going down,” he said.
The drop in positions reflects a philosophy by Vecchio’s administration to shrink government, Musgnug added.
“The supervisor and the town board really take an active participation in managing the work effort and the number of employees,” he said. “We are also constantly seeking to gain efficiencies so that as our employee base reduces, we’re able to keep up with the demands of the public.”