Southampton Town favors paying overtime to its top officials in the summer months — when the population swells — to hiring more full-time, year-round employees, its comptroller said.
The town’s $40.3 million payroll was the seventh-highest among Long Island’s 13 towns and two cities. The average pay of $43,092.51 was fourth-highest.
The town’s staff rose by 3 percent from 2014, when it had 910 employees. Southampton Town added 26 employees in 2015. The town was last near that level in 2011, when there were 934 employees.
Southampton has the ninth-largest staff of Long Island’s towns and cities.
The town’s 56 top earners were members of the police department, records show.
Three employees in the town’s staff of 936 made more than $40,000 in overtime in 2015.
John Julian, a labor crew leader, received $46,645 in overtime and made $122,784.55 in total pay. His overtime earnings were 67 percent of his $69,217.20 base salary. Det. Steven De Marco received $45,860.27 in overtime pay and Det. Patrick Aube received $43,770 in overtime. De Marco’s total salary was $185,453.47, while Aube’s was $189,313.80.
“During the summer months, the population is three to four times that of year-round residents,” said Town Comptroller Leonard J. Marchese. “It’s challenging to staff operations on an annual basis, when you know you have such a need for services in the summer months.”
Marchese said paying overtime is preferable to hiring seasonal employees in the police department. “It’s hard to do that. You have to just go with OT because they’re highly trained,” Marchese said.
Top earners in Southampton Town were: Lawrence Schurek Jr., a captain with the town police, who took home $206,575.06 in total pay; Police Chief Robert Pearce, who made $205,249.20; Det. Sgt. Lisa Ann Costa, who made $200,262.22; and Lt. Michael Zarro, who made $193,214.35. Sgt. Todd Bennett made $189,562.78.
CORRECTION: Southampton Town’s payroll and the average pay was incorrect in an earlier version of this article.