Ramapo police officers who cashed in some of their accrued time found themselves among the top salary earners in Rockland and among state workers during 2017.
Ramapo Police Chief Brad Weidel led the Rockland contingent on the Empire Center list of reported earnings with a 2017 total of $369,412. The chief’s 2018 salary package with benefits stands at $266,663, according to the Ramapo town salary schedule.
While Weidel’s 2017 salary ranks 27th among thousands of state employees, several Ramapo officers follow: Ramapo Capt. Martin Reilly is ranked 29th with a 2017 earnings of $364,671, retired Officer Christopher Dodrill at $340,256, Capt. Thomas Cokeley at $333,009 and Officer Sean Lee at $288,211.
Six other Ramapo police officers were paid more than $250,000 in 2017.
Also among the top 2017 wage earners in Rockland are several Clarkstown police officers: Detective Lt. Glenn Dietrich ranked 114th statewide at $269,907 and Capt. Anthony Ovchinnikoff ranked 120th at $266,694. Police Chief Raymond McCullagh, appointed in October, got paid $223,659 in 2017, which ranked 1,234th, and made $267,601 in 2018.
As a point of comparison, the earnings list is topped by Erie County Medical Center Corp. CEO Thomas Quatroche at $820,977 and Gregory McDonald at $587,131, the chief financial officers for the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Overall, the percentage of workers in local government earning more than $100,000 jumped 14 percent over the past five years, a review of state records showed.
But at the same time, the total number of employees in New York’s roughly 3,000 municipalities and authorities fell 5 percent. Total earnings stayed flat over that stretch, the records from the state Comptroller’s Office showed.
The data showed how local governments have been leery of adding new staff amid uncertain fiscal times and limited tax revenue.
Yet with fewer employees, it has meant higher salaries in some cases for the ones who have stayed on, mainly through pay raises as part of union contracts.
Total employment by local governments dropped from 367,000 to 350,000 from 2013 to 2017, but the average salary rose from $45,949 to $48,095.
The number of workers earning more than $100,000 nearly topped 30,000 last year.
Who earned the most?
The top salaries are dominated by executives and doctors at public hospitals.
In fact, the top 15 local earners and 33 of the top 50 last year worked for public hospitals.
Thomas Quatroche, Jr was the highest paid employee of local government in the state last year.
The president and CEO of the Erie County Medical Center earned $820,977 during the 2017 fiscal year.
Ranking third at $546,413 was Kara Bennorth, the executive vice president and chief administrative officer at the Westchester Medical Center.
Outside of the healthcare field, the top earners last year were from the Ramapo police department in Rockland County.
Chief Brad Weidel earned $369,412, while Capt. Martin Reilly earned $364,671.
Six other officers in the department earned more than $250,000 last year.
The data shows earnings information includes salary, overtime pay, vacation payouts and other compensation for the fiscal year that ended March 31.
Local top earners
In Monroe County, the highest paid was Bill Carpenter, the head of the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transporation Authority, who earned $251,000 last year.
That was followed by District Attorney Sandra Doorley, who earned nearly $200,000 last year as district attorneys in New York have received raises in recent years on par with raises for state judges.
After her, the next five highest earners either worked at the RGRTA or the Monroe County Water Authority, led by executive director Nick Noce at $197,000, the records showed.
Former Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks works at the RGRTA and makes more than she did as county executive.
Brooks, who left office in 2015, earned $133,000 last year, while County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo earned $125,000.
In Broome County, Kevin Drumm, the community college president, earned $229,800 last year.
The Broome District Attorney Stephen Cornwell earned $188,000 last year.
In Dutchess County, the top earner last year was District Attorney William Grady at $182,000.