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 in the 2016-17 fiscal year.
Thomas Quatroche Jr. was the highest-paid employee of local government in the state. The president and CEO of the Erie County Medical Center earned $820,977.
Ranking third at $546,413 was Kara Bennorth, the executive vice president and chief administrative officer at the Westchester Medical Center.
Outside the healthcare field, the top earners 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 in the 20116-17 fiscal year.
In 2017-18 fiscal year, which ended March 31, Thomas Cokeley, a Ramapo town police captain, was paid $323,562 — the most of any local government employee in New York, according to a report Monday by the Empire Center, a fiscally conservative think tank in Albany.
The data shows earnings information includes salary, overtime pay, vacation payouts and other compensation for the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2017.
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 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 the latter’s executive director, Nick Noce, at $197,000, the records showed.
Former Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks works at 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 The Broome District Attorney Stephen Cornwell earned $188,000.
In Dutchess County, the top earner last year was District Attorney William Grady at $182,000.