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Southampton police among town’s highest-paid staff, data show

Southampton police officers were among the highest-paid town

Southampton police officers were among the highest-paid town employees in 2016, data show. Police cars are shown outside police headquarters on July 30, 2014, in Hampton Bays. Credit: James Carbone

The Southampton Town payroll’s top 44 spots last year were all law enforcement employees, town records show.

The town spent $42.1 million on its payroll in 2016 — the sixth-largest payroll of Long Island’s 13 towns and two cities, a Newsday analysis of payroll data found. The payroll included $1.73 million in overtime pay, representing a total of 4.11 percent of its overall payroll. That’s lower than the Islandwide average of 4.7 percent of total payroll cost coming from overtime pay.

Detective Richard Gates was paid the most in the town in 2016, making $235,418 in total pay. 

The top non-police salary in 2016 went to town Comptroller Leonard Marchese, who was paid $148,528 with no overtime.

Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman was the 100th highest-paid employee in town last year, earning $117,428 with no overtime, records show.

The town’s total overtime costs rose 2.5 percent from 2015 to 2016, from $1.73 million to $1.77 million. Marchese said the police department changed its shift structure, which contributed to the drop in overtime pay.

“There’s more efficient deployment of staff. We changed our shifts around the prior year when we went to 12-hour shift, so that allowed us to reduce overtime when we did that,” Marchese said. “There was a regular eight-hour shift, so by working 12 [hour shifts] we were able to reduce overtime.”

Southampton had 968 workers compared to 940 workers in 2015. Last year, police Chief Robert Pearce retired with a $139,659 salary after spending about 36 years on the force. “We added two police officers, a net of two” additional positions, Marchese said.

Marchese said one area of personnel growth has been code enforcement because of overcrowding issues, especially with the town’s year-round housing stock. “We got a zombie home grant and that provided funding to pay for another code enforcement officer,” Marchese said. “We’re constantly trying to stay on top of quality-of-life issues in the town.”

Marchese said the town is also growing in population thanks to retirees moving from New York City.

“We’re a growing town,” he said. “So our services are likely going to continue to increase just as a result of more people and more services required by residents.”

Editor's note: After reviewing its 2017 payroll data, the town realized it had calculated several things incorrectly in 2016 payroll materials. The town provided corrected data for 2016 and 2017. This story has been updated to reflect the corrected data. 

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