North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena voted for raises for officials,...

North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena voted for raises for officials, including Deputy Supervisor Joseph Scalero. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

The North Hempstead Town Board approved raises for two top officials in the supervisor’s administration, with the town’s finance director set to get a pay hike of 31%. The raises were approved over the objections of three Democrats on the board.

The town board earlier this month also voted to hire several new employees.

Town Supervisor Jennifer DeSena and the three Republican council members on Feb. 6 approved raises for the deputy supervisor and finance director, retroactive to Jan. 1. 

Finance Director Paul Wood will be paid $140,000, a raise of 31% from $106,590, the 2024 budget shows. Deputy Supervisor Joseph Scalero will be paid $190,000, an increase of 8% from $175,560.

Town spokesman Kevin Higgins said in a statement the increases are in line with the town’s 2024 budget and “will not result in any tax increase” for residents. 

“For more than two years, the supervisor's office has been dramatically understaffed,” Higgins said. “In many cases, the town is adjusting salaries to reflect increased responsibilities given to employees.”

Wood, for instance, was also serving as acting comptroller for the past two budget seasons with no pay increase, DeSena said at the meeting.

Councilman Robert Troiano, a Democrat, voted against the hirings and raises. He expressed concerns about the hiring process at the meeting, saying he didn’t have a chance to vet some candidates. 

“I have nothing against Mr. Scalero or Mr. Wood in the roles that they fulfill, but the salary increases of 8% and over 30%, I think are too high for anybody,” Troiano said.

The board voted 4-3 to hire a new public information officer. Umberto Mignardi will be paid $140,000 a year in the role; Deputy Comptrollers Michael Schlosser and Vivian Qian will each be paid $100,000 a year and new Director of Purchasing Doron Nissan will be paid $120,000 a year. 

The board also approved hiring more than 10 full-time staffers for several departments.

Higgins said the town board is not considering pay raises for board members.

"At this time, no increases for town board members have been discussed,” he said.

Ken Girardin, research director for the Empire Center for Public Policy, said “there’s an argument for bigger raises if people are absorbing responsibilities and saving the town from having to hire another employee.”

But, he said, raises should be included in the budget process and given across the board. 

The board also voted to terminate several employees in January, including Public Safety Commissioner Shawn Brown, Communications Director Gordon Tepper and other support staff.

Planning Commissioner Michael Levine retired in December. 

Within the past three months, the Republican-controlled towns of Oyster Bay and Hempstead approved raises for elected officials that include automatic yearly pay bumps. Hempstead approved automatic yearly raises tied to inflation for council members, the supervisor, the clerk and the receiver of taxes. The raises, which weren't included in Hempstead's previously approved 2024 budget, passed despite objections from residents.

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