Top Saratoga County earners are courtroom foes

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
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— Public Defender John Ciulla was the top earner in Saratoga County government last year, while corrections officers at the county jail were among the highest earners of overtime pay.

Ciulla, who has worked for the county since 1978 and has headed the public defender’s office for the last 30 years, was paid $144,942 in 2012, according to county payroll records.

He will be retiring in March. A new head public defender has yet to be named.

The public defender’s office represents criminal defendants who can’t afford a private lawyer. Ciulla’s occasional courtroom opponent, District Attorney James A. Murphy III, was No. 2 on the county salary list, at $139,400 in 2012.

The other top earners were all management employees. County Administrator Spencer Hellwig made $126,141, the top salary among employees without legal degrees.

Other top county salaries included: Dr. Stephen Strader, medical director of the Maplewood Manor infirmary, $118,427; County Attorney Stephen Dorsey, $117,365; county Finance Director George Martin, $113,753; Sheriff James D. Bowen, $113,305; Social Services Commissioner Robert Christopher, who retired in September, $112,079; Mental Health Director Hans Lehr, $111,953; and Maplewood Manor Director Diane Brown, $111,952.

The only hourly wage-earner to make a six-figure income in 2012 was Gary Costa, a corrections officer at the county jail for the last decade. He worked more than 1,000 hours of overtime last year, bringing his total earnings to $101,087, including $38,890 in overtime.

Six of the top overtime earners were corrections officers at the jail in Milton, which is staffed around the clock, 365 days a year. In the second position on the overtime list, though, was Richard Schultz, senior plant operator at the county sewage treatment plant in Halfmoon, which also runs around the clock. His total earnings were $83,721, including $22,717 in overtime.

The rest of the top 10 earners of overtime included corrections officer James Petrone, who earned $21,339 in overtime and total compensation of $77,607; corrections officer Jeffrey Marcel, who earned $17,788 in overtime and a total of $73,539; and Bruce Richards, a laborer in the county public works department, who earned $16,643 in overtime and overall compensation of $60,488.

Also on the list, corrections officer Scott Cossart earned $16,325 in overtime and a total of $69,581; corrections officer Michael Montanye earned $15,900 in overtime and a total of $67,548; corrections Sgt. James Galarneau earned $15,602 in overtime and a total of $81,465; Catherine Bourgeois, supervising nurse at Maplewood Manor, earned $14,120 in overtime and a total of $77,777; and James Vedder, main mechanical supervisor at the sewer district, earned $14,106 in overtime and total compensation of $74,394.

The county has about 1,500 employees, including elected officials and part-time workers.

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