VERNON – School administrators were the highest paid employees in town last year, with 18 of the top 20 earners working in the school system and bringing home salaries well in excess of $ 100,000, while overtime of the police pushed dozens of officers into the top 100.
A review of the top 100 employees in the city and schools of Vernon provided through an access to information request shows that the salary of school superintendent Joseph Macary is $ 186,679, which makes he is the highest paid city employee.
Everyone in the top 10 works in the school system, with Deputy Superintendent Robert Testa following Macary with a salary of $ 166,104 last year.
Rockville High School Principal Jason Magao won $ 160,371, while Vernon Center Middle School Principal Dominique Fox and Director of Student Services Melissa Iles each won $ 155,160 Last year.
The city’s top 10 earners, all of whom work in the school system, earned between about $ 186,600 and about $ 146,300. City administrator Michael Purcaro breaks the educator pack, coming in a No.11, earning $ 141,175.
Lake Street School Principal Terse Duenzl, Center Road Principal Jennifer Frese-Miller and Special Education Supervisor Jacqueline Middleton were among the top 20 earners last year, each earning more than $ 140,000.
All but one of the top 20 employees were school administrators earning over $ 129,000. That person is Police Lt. Lucas Gallant, who was No. 19 and earned $ 129,247, of which over $ 24,000 was spent on overtime.
About $ 55 million of the city’s overall budget of $ 95.9 million goes to the school system.
Macary said director salaries are largely based on supply and demand and competition.
“The main thing for student learning is to have quality teachers in the classrooms. Number 2, however, is leadership, ”he said.
Macary noted that administrators must have higher degrees and have worked as teachers in the past, thus minimizing the hiring pool compared to teachers.
“Their compensation is well deserved,” he said of the directors. “I think we have been competitive in the region.
OT police officer, private work
Dozens of police reached the top 100 in part because of their overtime earnings, with now-retired Detective Charles Hicking bringing in around $ 38,000 in overtime, raising his base salary from $ 86,286 to over of $ 125,000.
Former Chief James Kenny was the second highest paid police officer last year with a base salary of $ 126,614.
Purcaro noted that some of the overtime, like in other cities, comes from outside parties who pay officers for security, such as at construction sites.
“At first glance, some of the pay may seem high for these officers. … (However) the full salaries of some of these officers are not 100 percent a liability to taxpayers, ”he said. “A lot of these officers work very hard; they work hard to provide for their families.
The city invoices private entities for the overtime payment of the agents, then uses the reimbursements to pay the agents directly. If a vendor doesn’t pay on time, Purcaro said, the city no longer allows agents to work privately for these entities.
“A large majority of our private contractors pay and they pay on time because it is in their best interests to do so,” he said, adding that “a very small percentage” of outside suppliers do not pay.
While taxpayers are not held responsible for work done for outside entities, they are responsible for some pensions that are inflated due to overtime.
Vernon changed its pension plan for certain employees from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans. The city kept the defined benefit plan for the police “for recruiting purposes,” said deputy city administrator Dawn Maselek, who placed 23rd with a salary of $ 125,376 last year .
The pensions of employees hired after July 1, 2012 are based only on their annual salary, and not on overtime, private duties, overtime or sick pay and vacation pay, she explained.
Additionally, costs billed to vendors include the employee’s hourly wage, use of a police car, Federal Insurance Contribution Act costs, medicare, and retirement costs, Maselek said. .
While not all police overtime is paid for by taxpayers, the majority of extra pay over the past year was covered by taxpayers to the tune of around $ 1,600 to $ 29,000 for officers who have chosen to work overtime for work other than private work.
Compensation for private agents, which is reimbursable and not covered by taxpayers, ranged from around Hicking’s $ 23,000 to as little as $ 550 for agents seeking private work.
Purcaro said Vernon bases its salaries on comparisons with other cities with similar demographic and socio-economic characteristics, using the data to offer competitive salaries with similar communities.
“Vernon always stays in the competitive mid-range,” he said, adding that the practice balances the fiduciary responsibilities of executives to taxpayers with the ability to recruit talented employees.
Without ever having met Purcaro in person, Rennette Resnick, a resident of Vernon, said that she and her husband Barry Resnick “think Mike Purcaro earns every penny he gets.”
“We are so impressed with the town of Vernon; we’ve been living here for 55 years, ”she said, adding that city leaders had done a“ fabulous ”job dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and getting people vaccinated.
The Resnicks noted that their taxes haven’t changed for three years, and they “totally agree” about the quality of leadership in town.
“It’s something we’ve discussed frequently, how happy we are to live in Vernon,” said Rennette Resnick.
To put the incomes of the city’s employees into perspective, Vernon has a population of 30,215, a median household income of about $ 64,500, and a per capita income over the past 12 months of $ 36,384, according to the US Census Bureau.
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