North Hempstead payroll costs inch up as other towns decrease

North Hempstead payroll costs inch up as other towns decrease
North Hempstead Town Hall in Manhasset. (Courtesy of Google Maps)

The Town of North Hempstead was the only town in Nassau County to increase its payroll from 2016 to 2017, records gathered by Newsday via a Freedom of Information Request suggest, with a payroll cost increase just over half a percentage point.

Payroll was $34.85 million in 2017 and $34.66 million in 2016, representing a 0.56 percent increase, according to Newsday, with staffing rising from 915 to 935. Overtime pay went down, meanwhile, from $1.82 million to $1.7 million – or a decrease of $117,463.

Town officials told Newsday that the increase of full-time employees was 11, as payroll documents gathered by Newsday included both resignations and their replacements.

Carole Trottere, a spokeswoman for the Town of North Hempstead, said four of those 11 people were added in the building department.

The growth in staff there follows what officials previously described to Blank Slate Media as an office that’s doing more, with the town issuing thousands of certificates of occupancy in 2016.

“That is an indication of the fact that more is being done,” Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said in a previous interview.

Elizabeth Botwin, the town attorney since 2014, topped the list with a total pay of $166,470.30, according to the data.

Michael Levine, commissioner of planning and development, was second with $150,094.59 and Joseph Geraci, the acting superintendent of highways and deputy commissioner of public works, was third with $148,798.

Robert Troiano, listed as an “administrative assistant to supervisor,” made $141,723.28 before resigning in late December to serve as the county’s acting commissioner for traffic and parking violations.

He stepped down at the end of January this year when Newsday reported on issues with tax liens, although Troiano maintains he left for other reasons.

Troiano now works at the Nassau County Board of Elections as a director of special projects for a salary of $140,000 per year.

Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth made $135,780.29 in 2017.

The Town of Hempstead, with an estimated population of 770,367 compared to North Hempstead’s 226,322, decreased its staff from 4,161 to 3,921 between 2016 and 2017, according to Newsday’s data.

This corresponded with a total payroll decrease from $178.33 million to $175.73 million, or 1.4 percent.

Nine of the top 10 paid employees in the Town of North Hempstead for 2017 had termination dates in 2016 and 2017, according to the Newsday data. Michael Derry, a conference assistant to the Receiver of Taxes and the only one without a termination date, made $205,765.30 in 2017.

Newsday’s data shows that Michael Zappolo, the commissioner of parks, made $320,263.30 in total pay in 2017 – nearly double the top paid employee in the Town of North Hempstead – prior to his departure on Nov. 29, 2017.

The neighboring Town of Oyster Bay, with an estimated population of 293,214 according to the 2010 census, added 21 employees between 2016 and 2017, according to Newsday.

But total payroll costs there plummeted, Newsday’s data suggests, from just shy of $100 million to $86.76 million – a $13.14 million decrease, or 13.15 percent.

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