Town Attorney Robert Kozakiewicz, who is retiring at the end of this month, is slated to receive a pay increase of just over $9,000, under a resolution on the town board's agenda Tuesday. File photo: Denise Civiletti

Some of Riverhead Town’s highest paid civilian employees will see substantial raises this year, under resolutions up for a vote by the town board Tuesday.

Among them is Town Attorney Robert Kozakiewicz, who is retiring at the end of this month. Kozakiewicz will see a pay hike of just over $9,000, bringing his annual salary to $146,455.

The resolution before the board will give Kozakiewicz a 5% increase over and above the 1.5% increase called for by his employment contract.

The other lawyers in the town attorney’s office will also see significant raises over and above their 1.5% contract increases, as will the town engineer, the town’s financial administrator and principal accountant, and the community development director.

Deputy Town Attorney Annmarie Prudenti is slated to receive a 7.5% increase on top of the 1.5% contract raise — for a total pay hike of $11,543, bringing her annual salary to $138,212.

The other two deputies, Dan McCormick and Erik Howard, will each see 5% boosts — again, on top of the 1.5% contract increase — raising their pay to $125,929 and $102,789, respectively.

Financial Administrator William Rothaar is slated for a 7.5% raise over and above the 1.5% contract increase — a total increase of $14,630 — bringing his 2022 annual salary to $175,178.

Principal Accountant Caitlin Buthmann is slated to receive a 5% — $4,895 — increase over and above the contract increase, raising her pay to $102,789 for 2022.

Town Engineer Drew Dillingham will see his paycheck swell by $10,000 annually above the 1.5% contract increase, to $134,483 — plus a $3,000 stipend he’s paid for overseeing the town’s household hazardous waste program.

Community Development Director Dawn Thomas will get a 7.5% increase — $9,153 — above the 1.5% contract raise, for a total raise of $10,957, bringing her annual salary to $131,195.

The identical resolutions — other than the amounts of the increases — all state that the employee has requested a salary increase and the raises are being granted “in recognition of years of service and continued dedication and hard work.”

These increases, which total about $63,777, all take effect Jan. 1.

Deputy Tax Receiver Lisa Richards, who in November left her post as the supervisor’s chief of staff and budget officer for the number two slot in the tax receiver’s office, will see a $6,000 pay increase in addition to her contract increase — raising her salary from $48,789 to $55,521. Richards’ pay is still about $11,000 less than what it was in the supervisor’s office, however.

Besides these raises, 10 Civil Service employees will be receiving increases by way of additional “step” increases under the salary schedule of the Civil Service Employees Association collective bargaining agreement. All but one are being boosted by two steps, resulting in pay hikes of $2,525 to $4,484 apiece. They total about $30,000.

In addition, nine highway department employees, also members of the CSEA, are getting promotions in the new year, moving into higher-paying job titles resulting in wage increases of $3,118 each, for a total of just under $28,000.

Rothaar said in an interview today the raises for non-union employees are intended to cover cost of living increases. Inflation has devalued the dollar, he said.

CSEA President Terri Sweeney said the town’s civil service workers are feeling the pain of inflation as much as anyone else. CSEA members, who make up the bulk of the municipal workforce, are also the town’s lowest-paid workers. Most have to work second jobs to make ends meet, she said.

“Everyone is hurting,” Sweeney said. “It’s really a question of fairness.”

CSEA Vice President Neil D’Amara agreed.

“Management seems to usually get increases,” he said. “It would be nice if all members would get some kind of an increase.”

The CSEA’s collective bargaining agreement with the town expires at the end of 2023.

The union contract’s 1.5% per year pay increase is the basis for the department heads’ annual contract increase, Rothaar said today.

All of the increases were funded in the town’s 2021-2022 adopted budget, he said.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.