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Smithtown board OKs contract with pay hikes

Department heads and administrators in Smithtown will receive average annual raises of 1 percent, according to a contract unanimously approved by the town board last week.

The retroactive agreement -- effective for 2011 to 2014 -- calls for no raise for 2011, a 1 percent raise for 2012 and 1.5 percent increases for 2013 and 2014 for the roughly 30 members of the Smithtown Administrators Guild.

Newly hired employees will pay 15 percent of the cost of their health insurance premiums, up from 10 percent under the previous contract, said Supervisor Patrick Vecchio, who negotiates contracts. The change will save the town money, he said, adding, "A family plan is about $20,000."

The union had not had a contract in two years, said Vecchio, describing negotiations as "placid and respectful."

Russell Barnett, the town environmental protection director who serves as the union president, could not be reached for comment.

The town reduced salaries for six vacant positions including town engineer and assistant town director of public safety, and it increased salaries by $5,000 for the network communications manager, deputy town comptroller, solid waste coordinator and town director of public safety and by $10,000 for the director of traffic safety.

Councilman Robert Creighton, who is running for town supervisor, voted to table the agreement at a board meeting two weeks earlier "because I wanted to know what the exact cost was of the agreement," he said in an interview. Creighton said Vecchio told him the contract would cost $45,000 per year, while town comptroller Louis Necroto later said the changes represented $170,000 per year.

"I voted for the contract anyway," Creighton said. "If, at this point I voted against it, it would end up in arbitration and cost the town a lot more money."

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