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Smithtown To Pay $319K More to Town Employees in 2013

Rise in town employee salaries due to union contracts, promotions and raises.

As Smithtown elected officials are dipping into reserve funds to prevent a tax spike, several town employees are receiving salary raises in the five-digit range.

Smithtown Town board voted unanimously to budget an additional $319,776.53 to cover town employee salaries under the $103 million budget for 2013. The 2013 budget represents a 2.4 percent spending increase with $7.3 million of reserve funds, nearly 25 percent of the town's reserves, being used to offset the tax increase.

Supervisor Patrick Vecchio told Patch on Nov. 19 that under the approved 2013 budget, assistant town attorney Martin Simon would receive a $10,000 salary increase, receiving about $70,000 per year, after one year of employment. Other significant salary raises incorporated in the budget include a $10,000 raise for Traffic Safety Director Mitchell Crowley, who has worked 6 years for the town, and a hourly increase for senior planner Peter Hans.

"I agree with those three raises, but the others were added by town board members," Vecchio said in November.

A closer line-by-line look at the town's budget revealed several other salary increases for town employees, some as much as $24,086, budgeted for in 2013 due to a combination of union contracts, title promotions and merit raises approved by Town Board.

Vecchio said a basic line-by-line evaluation can be misleading, as the 2012 budget was made in late 2011. At that time, the 2012 figures did not include the mid-year contractual increases of 3.5 percent to the manager's union, and 5 - 5.5 percent to Civil Service Employee Union members, a state-wide union, according to the supervisor.

Vecchio said he's negotiated to make strides towards changing in the future.

"This last contract, I negotiated 16 steps [for CSEU members], so it will take longer for people to reach the highest-end salary," he said. "It was always 11 steps, not 16. They will be getting more like 3.5 percent not 5.5 percent."

Yet, even a maximum contractual raise of 5 - 5.5 percent does not mathematically explain why a laborer in the town's Highway Department is expected to receive $16,096 more in 2013 than in 2012, a 27.9 percent increase.

Here's a look of those positions with the largest salary difference between 2012 and 2013:

Position Title 2012 Budget 2013 Budget Difference Reason Deputy Town Comptroller $73,281 $80,473 $7,192 Raise given by Town Council Network Communications Manager $81,448 $88,896 $7,448 Mid-Year Raise Account Clerk - Typist $43,435 $50,604 $7,169 Promotion* Deputy Town Clerk $45,773 $54,303 $8,530 5% union raise plus merit raise Town Attorney $112,913 $125,00 $12,087 New Town Attorney receives higher starting salary in 2012 Asst. Town Attorney $70,914 $95,000 $24,086 Received raise when new Town Attorney was hired Asst. Town Attorney $60,000 $71,800 $11,800 Raise after 1 year on job Town. Maint. Crew Leader $85,212 $95,108 $9,896 Auto Parts Manager $77,289 $85,211 $7,922 Laborer $57,610 $73,706 $16,096 Possible Promotion* Auto Mechanic $77,289 $85,211 $7,922 Fire Marshal II $52,006 $62,732 $10,726 Fire Marshal II $54,876 $66,179 $11,303 Highway Construction Supervisor $85,212 $95,108 $9,896 Possible Promotion* Highway Maint. Crew Leader $85,212 $95,108 $9,896 Possible Promotion* Highway Labor Crew Leader $77,289 $85,211 $7,922 Possible Promotion* Highway Labor Crew Leader $73,711 $83,023 $9,312 Possible Promotion* Highway Project Inspector $73,711 $83,023 $9,312 Possible Promotion*

* = Indicats a salary increase Vecchio believes may be due to a promotion, but could not be confirmed.

Harry December 07, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Boy I feel bad for them, PLEASE! At 50 years old I'm making 40% less than I did three years ago and feel lucky I have a job! I'll take a laborer job if there is an opening.
Nesconset Dude December 07, 2012 at 02:27 AM
I know, but there's been so much controversy that the raise is almost comical. It's not just Main Street, though. Our residential strip is a virtual drag strip when people are using it as a cut-through, and I know others have had the same complaint. Heck, we've even seen town trucks blow the stop signs. Either way, instead of curbs, sidewalks, and roads repaired, people got raises. In a bad economy, nonetheless.
Georgiann Anderson December 07, 2012 at 12:44 PM
I wish some of this surplus money was used to fill in the potholes on our streets but I guess we have to wait. I've been waiting since 2008 to have my street repaired. It's up for review in 2013. When you wish upon a star time.
Argile December 07, 2012 at 02:16 PM
I guess today people aren't happy that they just have a job. This is the kind of stuff that brings a slow death to towns.
Harry December 07, 2012 at 11:52 PM
I totally agree that there should be no raises. My wife grew up in the development we live in. She told me it's been over 30 years since the roads were paved. When I shovel leaves out of the street I pick up asphalt. We pay more every year and get less. It Sucks!

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