Seven of 10 highest-paid town employees in Niskayuna are police

Sunday, March 2, 2014
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— Seven of the 10 highest-paid Niskayuna employees in 2013 were part of the Police Department, town records show, while department heads made up four of the top six.

Michael Stevens, a police sergeant in 2013, took the top spot by earning $123,294 in 2013, including $85,330 in base pay and $27,558 in overtime.

Last year’s top earner, Highway Superintendent Frank Gavin, dropped to second place this year with a total of $116,145.

Each of the top 10 earners in the town took home more than $104,000.

Four of those were department heads: Gavin (second), Superintendent of Water and Sewer Richard Pollock (third), Comptroller Paul Sebesta (fourth) and Police Chief John Lubrant (sixth), who has since retired.

The other six employees on the list all work for the Police Department — three patrolmen and three sergeants.

The top overtime earner in the group was patrolman John Serotta, taking home $33,880 in overtime on top of his base pay of $78,085. Serotta’s total earnings of $113,140 placed him fifth overall.

Serotta’s overtime total represented 43 percent of his base pay. By comparison, in neighboring Schenectady, three officers earned enough overtime to make their total pay double their base salary.

Overall police overtime went up in 2013 to $192,101, according to Comptroller Paul Sebesta.

In the preceding three years, actual overtime numbers fluctuated from $181,876 in 2010 to $142,552 in 2012, according to town records.

Sebesta attributed the 2013 numbers to injuries and illness in the 27-member department.

Town Supervisor Joe Landry said Wednesday injuries and illnesses come up from time to time and the department has to deal with them. Overall, though, he is satisfied with overtime numbers.

“We try to control overtime, I think we do a good job with the overtime,” he said.

New Police Chief Daniel McManus said overtime is prompted by a variety of reasons, including injuries, illnesses and military deployment. Some overtime hours also come from targeted grants, he said.

“Overtime does become something that’s inherent in the business so we can continue to staff the appropriate complement of officers that we think is necessary for public safety,” he said.

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