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Southold’s top town salaries went to police in 2014

Republican Southold Supervisor Scott Russell, seen Aug. 12,

Republican Southold Supervisor Scott Russell, seen Aug. 12, 2015. Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Southold Town spent more than $19 million on its 341 workers in 2014, a $972,880 — or 5.4 percent — increase from the year before, a Newsday analysis of town and city payroll data shows.

“Salaries are far and away the single biggest [budget] cost,” Supervisor Scott Russell said. “The problem is that salaries are influenced by the salaries of surrounding towns. . . . At the end of the day, municipal workers do very well.”

Overtime accounted for nearly $1.2 million, or 6.2 percent, of the town’s total salary costs last year. Southold had 36 employees who added $10,000 or more to their take-home pay through overtime.

Russell said the town tries to minimize overtime. Except for the police and highway departments, all overtime must be preapproved by a department head and Russell himself.

The local police force, including dispatchers, accounted for $8.4 million, or 44 percent, of the town’s total payroll expenditures — the town’s single most costly department.

Police Captain for Towns and Villages Frank R. Kruszeski was the highest-paid worker, making $233,927. He supplemented his $179,627 base pay with $9,018 in overtime and $45,280 in vacation, sick days and other payouts.

Southold had 56 workers who made $100,000 or more in 2014. All but one of the town’s 40 highest-paid employees worked in law enforcement.

Russell made $100,857, ranking 56th highest-paid in his town. His pay ranked 11th out of Long Island’s 15 town and city executives.

The town’s 230 union workers collectively made $15.3 million, including $1.1 million in overtime. The 111 nonunion workers made $3.8 million, including $52,855 of overtime.

The town had 212 full-time workers, who accounted for $17.6 million of total payroll costs. Part-time and seasonal workers numbered 129 — nearly 38 percent of the town’s entire workforce. Their paychecks accounted for $1.5 million of total payroll costs, or 7.8 percent.

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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