AMITYVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A new report showing pay for New York’s county and municipal employees lists one Long Island public worker from getting nearly $360,000 in Suffolk County, followed by a police officer paid $306,000 in neighboring Nassau County.
The report from the Empire Center for Public Policy shows the highest average municipal salaries led by the villages of Sands Point, averaging $91,000 for general employees, and Amityville at nearly $176,000 for police.
Taxpayers in the Suffolk County village said Thursday that they were shocked by the high salaries paid to public officials.
“That’s too much. It’s more than the average Amityville people make,” one man told WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs.
“Average street cop? No, no, no,” another resident said.
“It’s highway robbery without a gun,” said another taxpayer.
But some residents told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff that their police are being fairly compensated.
“They’re here to protect. Why should other people be on their backs to try to cut down on their pay?” said one Amityville resident.
Amityville police said that they are reluctantly at the top of the list and that a number of officers had to work overtime to help residents in the wake of Sandy.
“Normally we have 27 officers and we were down seven officers at that time,” said Lt. Gerard Gralton.
The information based on retirement system data excludes New York City.
It covers one year from April 1, 2012, through March 31, 2013 and includes overtime and pay for unused sick and vacation time.
Sixteen of the 20 highest paid public workers were police. Of those, 12 are members of the Nassau County PD.
In Nassau County Gary Renick tops the list as the highest paid cop in the state at $306,299. A significant portion of that salary comes from overtime from court appearances stemming from his 118 DWI arrests.
Renick declined to comment but the Nassau County PBA said that the police department is understaffed by five-hundred officers.
“This is a decision municipalities make. Whether they want to hire of not hire and when they don’t hire you have salaries and overtime that increase dramatically like you’ve seen here,” explained Nassau County PBA President James Carver.
Nassau County hired 33 new cops in May but they are not working yet.
The report says George Gatta Jr., executive vice president of Suffolk County Community College, collected $359,632 before retiring in February.
A spokesman for the Nassau County executive told CBS 2 that Hurricane Sandy triggered an unusually high overtime demand which resulted in skewed statistics, and that the county is in the process of hiring new police officers.
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