Long Island government employees are some of the highest-paid in the state, according to the 2015-2016 “What They Make” report, released today by the Empire Center.

The Suffolk County Police Department is the highest-paid county police department in New York State, the report says. Police in Suffolk are paid $161,463 on average for 2,397 employees, ranking the department eighth of all county, town and village police departments in the state.  Nassau police are paid on average more than $10,000 less, with 2,344 employees earning an average salary of $150,292.

On Long Island, Riverhead has the highest-paid town police department with an average pay of $133,252 for 91 officers. Shelter Island is second with an average salary of $130,195 for 10 employees, with Southold in third at an average salary of $129,629 for 53 employees. Several village police departments have higher average salaries, including Southampton Village, where the average pay was $134,600. Southampton Town Police, a force of 105 officers, had an average pay of $124,969 last year.

But the highest-paid town police officers statewide all work for departments not on Long Island, with Ramapo ranking number one with $180,235 average pay.

General employees make more money in Nassau than Suffolk county. In Nassau 6,955 employees are paid an average salary of $69,095 while Suffolk’s 8,595 employees get an average of $64,757.

Of general town employees, those in Babylon are paid the most. Southold has the sixth best paid general employees at an average of $49,666 for 252 people, and Riverhead places eighth with 239 employees paid an average of $46,809. General employees in the Village of Greenport make on average $44,954.

In Riverhead, members of the police department occupy most of the the top spots in the town’s payroll, with Chief David Hegermiller being the highest-paid Riverhead Town employee at $224,005 a year, according to data on the Empire Center’s SeeThroughNY website. Riverhead’s highest-paid general employee last year was longtime town engineer Kenneth Testa who made $149,730. Testa retired this year. See Riverhead Town’s full payroll here.

Similarly, members of the Southold Town Police Department take up the majority of the top-paying positions in the town, with Chief Martin Flatley being the highest-paid Southold Town employee at $197,982 a year. The highest paid general employee in Southold Town is comptroller John Cushman, making $131,097. See Southold’s full payroll here.

Other excerpts of note from the Empire Center report:

* Suffolk County ranks fourth highest in general employee pay at an average of $64,757 for 8,595 employees.
* As a region, Long Island’s average pay for town police departments is $126,852, about 30 percent higher than the overall average of $94,544.
* Long Island dominated the list of the top 50 highest paid general county and municipal employees, with the lion’s share going to Nassau with 35 employees on the list. One Suffolk employee, Brandon Neal of Suffolk County Police Department, appears at #24 with a pay of $269,312.

The report gathers information for full-time and part-time workers actively enrolled in the pension system as of August 2016. Click here to see full report.

The figures used to compute the averages include regular pay, overtime and pay for unused sick and vacation time, and do not include pension contributions, health insurance, and other fringe benefits, elements of total compensation “that can add 35 percent or more to personnel costs,” the report reads.

The Empire Center is a non-partisan, non-profit organization based in Albany. SeeThroughNY includes payroll and pension data for state and local government employees and retirees; detailed expenditure data for the state Legislature; comparative statistics on local government spending; a searchable database of state revenue and expenditures; and copies of all teacher union contracts and superintendent of schools contracts.

The survival of local journalism depends on your support.
We are a small family-owned operation. You rely on us to stay informed, and we depend on you to make our work possible. Just a few dollars can help us continue to bring this important service to our community.
Support RiverheadLOCAL today.