Remember this later when the next town hire comes up for discussion

Last week’s decision by the BET to cut our Tax Assessor’s salary in half, to $49,000 is just fine with me; in fact, we should repeat that process for all town employees, starting at the Selectman’s office and working our way down from there. But how it was done, and the reasons for it are less appealing.

BET Democrat John Blankley, who proposed the cut, said it was not personal against Laudonia. The salary is too high for an elected official, he said, and the town should always ensure that the job should go to someone with the proper credentials and certification.

“For me this was the continuation of the campaign last fall when I supported our tax collector candidate, Howard Richman, whose platform was the abolition of the tax collector as an elected position,” Blankley said. “There is money to be saved by reorganizing that department and making its head an appointed official with demonstrated qualifications and credentials, just as we did with the tax assessor position.”

Laudonia, who who won re-election by a two-to-one margin and is a certified tax collector, was not buying that claim.

“John Blankley happened to be the treasurer and campaign confidante of my opponent and after they resoundingly lost three months later he floated a change in governance that was turned down by the people of Greenwich,” he said. “He’s not accountable to anyone.

Blankley may not be accountable to the town, but he certainly answers to his family and sees to its needs. For instance, his own daughter Katie was promoted to Town Planner, without the “requisite – until-waived” educational requirements, and now receives a salary well in excess of $100,000 (her predecessor, Diane Fox, was making $141,000 in 2012). I’m heading off to a meeting and don’t have time to find the definitive list of Town salaries – it’s hidden; perhaps a reader has a link – but  here’s a chart of what various “planners” make in Greenwich. 

Wanna save money? Start at Town Hall.

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 5.41.47 AM

 

25 Comments

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25 responses to “Remember this later when the next town hire comes up for discussion

  1. Just the Facts!

    I’m all for trimming all levels of government considerably. This move smacks of pure political silliness. Attacking one democratically elected in the name of cost cutting is embarrassing and an insult to the Town. Mind you, it’s one of three elected positions left in Town Hall and the current tax collector received more votes than any of the BET members. So if anyone has the will of the people, the tax collector and the staff is more in line with voters.

    If our joke of a BET/Selectman’s Office wanted to be serious about cost cutting and serving the electorate, they should propose across the board cuts to not appear to be brutally political. And they should put a moratorium on new projects and spending increases. Remember, that 3% slow and steady rate of spending growth is added to the rise of inflation (i.e. grand list expansion). Greenwich taxes have increased at this 5-6% growth rate since the first Lash administration over a decade ago. In the end, the RTM should not endorse this political hit on the Tax Collector and send a stern message to the BET to get serious about their role of fiscal responsibility. JTF!

  2. Once

    Why so many fresking planner? Trandportation planner? We already have the roads. And all with generous retirement packages. We are getting screwed. Our taxes dont HAVE to go up every year. But this largesse assures thst they do.

  3. Mickster

    I have no dog in this fight but anyone with a brain could see it was a petty party political move to cut Tods salary. Goes to the character of the man. They are more interested in their little petty battles than they are in the wellbeing of the Town and its citizens.

  4. Greenwich Taxpayer

    To “Just the Facts” – unfortunately the RTM cannot increase the budget so the cut will stand unless the BET votes otherwise (they can still restore the monies but the Democrats won’t likely do that). This is petty politics. Lash’s excuse about “cutting the budget” does not hold water – as you, Chris, have stated, he should have then proposed cuts to other salaries – including the First Selectman and Town Clerk, not just Tax Collector. This smacks of a personal vendetta on Lash’s part – he tried to get rid of the Tax Collector and make it appointed when he was First Selectman (on the grounds that it would be less “political” if appointed – who is he kidding?) and failed. The Democrats ran on that platform this last election and got no where. So now they go back door and get Lash to go along (he is really proving he is a Democrat not a Republican with all the spending he wants – anyone ask about his wife leading the Byram Pool and him approving it?). Tesei’s leadership is laughable – there is no leadership from him at all – and Lash is proving that big time…

  5. I don’t think that the link you posted is listing actual positions and actual salaries. It’s more likely salary data taken from job ads for those job titles in the region around Greenwich. The heading for that chart says “Average Salary of Jobs with Related Titles”.

    There are tons of job listing sites. One way they draw visitors is by offering this type of data. Payscale.com actually surveys people about their current compensation and qualifications. If you fill out their profile you get a really nifty report with how you compare to others in their database. It’s priceless for negotiating an adjustment if you’re under compensated and they want to keep you.

  6. Walt

    Dude –

    Any moron could run a business where they plan to spend 3% or 4% more every year. And only a moron would consider that to be doing a good job. Technology alone should have reduced the towns headcount, but instead it’s gone up. And spending “ONLY” increases by 4%. That’s a win?

    Who is the HNIC? I WANT A MEETING!! I want an across the board 10% salary cut. I want a plan for an immediate 5% headcount reduction. Goodbye pensions, hello 401-k’s. Do you know what those planners do all day? SURF INTERNET PORN!! The only thing they are planning for is a hot Jap schoolgirl to talk the dirty to them as they rub one out!! Those perverts.

    Considering a 4% annual tax increase a win is unacceptable, untenable, atrocious, a poor prognosis, and IT CANNOT STAND!!

    Everyone else had to cut spending, and do more with less, EXCEPT THE POLITICIANS!! It is our fault for accepting this. So get your scrawny little lily white ass down to town hall and get us a meeting. With the mayor, or whoever else it is that runs this shit hole of a town.

    I WANT ANSWERS! AND ACTION!! I will tell him where to put that moronic little pool project he loves so much. And if the Junior League party girls want a pool so much, let them build it and maintain it.

    Your Pal,
    Walt

  7. Cos Cobber

    This town shouldn’t have more than 4-5 people in the planning department. Do we really have 15 people?

    We really should have a mayor. This selectman/BET process just leads to assumptions…as in each one assumes the other is really minding the store when in fact neither are.

  8. D

    Hopefully the recent re-balancing of tax values in town will get people to notice that the once conservatively run Greenwich has been taken over by people who have one direction for our budget in mind…

  9. Anonymous

    CF….you hit the nail n the head with your analysis. Lets face it the Town of Greenwich is an incestuous employment factory for friends and family. And, if you cross the wrong line as Laudonia must have—then the “family” wants you out.

    And, it takes one great nerve on the part of Blanklely to complain who has Tesei to thank for hiring his daughter as consolation prize for losing the First Selectman’s office. Despicable, cronyism local town politics.

  10. The Lorax

    Maybe this will clear some things up. Keep in mind this was in 2013

    See Greenwich Daily Voice for full story.
    http://greenwich.dailyvoice.com/politics/deputy-schools-chief-tops-list-of-greenwichs-earners/562386/

    Rank Name Title Employee Gross
    1 Flanagan, Ellen Deputy Superintendent 200,756.33
    2 Crary, John Town Administrator 185,780.72
    3 Mynarski, Peter P Comptroller 182,397.31
    4 Branyan, Benjamin Mge Director Of Operations 178,599.59
    5 Siebert, Amy J Commissioner Of Public Works 173,358.86
    6 Winters, Christopher S Headmaster 171,324.67
    7 Lichtenfeld, Robert Director Of Human Resources 170,555.52
    8 Forde, Mary P Director Pupil Personnel Srvcs 165,443.95
    9 Mayo, Ralph F Middle School Principal 161,736.94
    10 Lombardo, Robert J Police Lieutenant 161,456.25
    11 Wetmore, John K Special Counsel 161,062.92
    12 Starr-Klein, Terry Middle School Principal 158,841.15
    13 Lulow, Roger J Superintendent Of Schools 158,765.32
    14 Somers, Shelley Middle School Principal 157,421.07
    15 Cava, Alfred C Director Of Labor Relations 156,898.22
    16 Piotrzkowski, Richard A Assistant Headmaster 155,898.44
    17 Hilderbrand, Timothy M Police Sergeant 154,888.81
    18 Bencivengo, Jennifer L Asst Principal Elementary Sch 154,790.38
    19 Mahoney, Carol A Director Of Greenwich Library 154,428.94
    20 Smith, Charles A Elementary School Principal 153,456.63
    21 Mulhern, Ernest P Master Police Officer 152,044.02
    22 Heavey, James J Chief Of Police 151,296.88
    23 Moran, Jeffrey R Police Sergeant 151,294.99
    24 Mclaughlin, Eugene F Assistant Town Attorney 3 151,256.07
    25 De Arango, Fernando F Assistant Town Attorney 3 151,256.04
    26 Barry, Alan D Commissioner Of Social Service 150,701.08
    27 Fox, Diane W Planning & Zoning Director/Zec 150,363.55
    28 Maze, Valerie E Assistant Town Attorney 3 150,355.61
    29 Koczak, Brian M Deputy Chief Fire Dept 150,283.70
    30 Brown, Allen M Exec Director Nathaniel Wither 150,070.22
    31 Siecienski, Peter J Fire Chief 149,741.63
    32 Ricci, Teresa Elementary School Principal 149,617.95
    33 Zack, Thomas F Deputy Chief Fire Dept 149,453.62
    34 Baisley, Caroline C Director Of Health 149,219.61
    35 Riccio, Barbara T Elementary School Principal 148,958.47
    36 Schmidt, Angela Elementary School Principal 148,958.47
    37 Siciliano, Joseph A Director Of Parks And Rec 148,953.14
    38 O’Reilly, Martin A Police Sergeant 148,032.88
    39 Mcguire, Patricia S Elementary School Principal 148,024.51
    40 D’Amico, Marc J Elementary School Principal 147,742.15
    41 Beck, Kimberly A Elementary School Principal 147,742.15
    42 Raneri, Patricia E Elementary School Principal 147,524.95
    43 O’Banner, Vincent E Police Technician 147,299.99
    44 Nixon, Thomas J Deputy Chief Fire Dept 147,164.75
    45 Frame, Josephine A Middle School Asst Principal 147,060.63
    46 Allen, M. Patricia Elementary School Principal 146,662.39
    47 Millette, Keith M Deputy Chief Fire Dept 146,589.28
    48 Hutorin, Boris Director Of Inform. Technology 146,050.55
    49 Klar, Marjorie B Teacher Personnel Spec. 145,698.02
    50 Perna, John F Master Police Officer 145,607.76
    51 Kenny, Dolores D Program Coordinator 145,420.59
    52 O’Donnell, Sean P Police Sergeant 145,199.72
    53 Ryan, Joseph P Police Sergeant 145,011.08
    54 Shukie, James S Middle School Asst Principal 144,585.97
    55 Womack, Cynthia Elementary School Principal 144,282.89
    56 Spector, Jeffrey Program Coordinator 144,236.36
    57 Varanelli, Barbara J Teacher Pa – Arch 144,207.71
    58 Cochran, Richard Police Lieutenant 143,942.24
    59 Nedell, Judith Program Coordinator 142,058.17
    Town of Greenwich
    Top 100 Wage Earners
    2012 Calendar Year
    60 Schenker, Marcia D Program Coordinator 142,015.09
    61 Mitchell, Jennifer F Program Coordinator 141,835.52
    62 Civale, Sheila Program Coordinator 141,545.89
    63 Kompar, Frances F Program Coordinator 141,137.89
    64 Libby, Jeffrey S Program Coordinator 141,137.89
    65 Mabee, Karen M Middle School Asst Principal 140,974.69
    66 Coon, Kathryn C Program Coordinator 140,974.69
    67 Sackey, Albert Middle School Asst Principal 140,957.29
    68 Pepe, Jarret Middle School Asst Principal 140,831.89
    69 Termini, Lorraine Dean Of Students 140,694.38
    70 Gieger, Roland H Budget & Systems Mgt Director 140,484.97
    71 Allen, Daniel Police Lieutenant 139,728.16
    72 Walko, David S House Administrator 139,374.31
    73 Alessi, Richard V House Administrator 139,216.15
    74 Barry, Brigid House Administrator 138,921.55
    75 Fesko, Dana T House Administrator 138,516.85
    76 Goldstein, Jason House Administrator 137,944.21
    77 Thompson, David P Deputy Comm. Of Public Works 137,759.18
    78 Marino, Mark A Deputy Chief Of Police 137,565.35
    79 Pannone, Louis S Police Sergeant 137,506.36
    80 Kick, Robert J Assistant Fire Chief 136,707.23
    81 Kelly, Thomas P Police Sergeant 136,513.12
    82 Ahmad, Aamina Assistant Town Attorney 3 135,282.65
    83 Isidro, Edward P Police Sergeant 135,089.36
    84 Wachowski, John B Police Lieutenant 134,831.62
    85 Mcdonald, James M Fire Marshal 134,106.34
    86 Lockwood, Jory Teacher Mathematics 133,949.45
    87 Gustovich, Pamela D Police Captain 133,140.98
    88 Gray, Kraig W Police Lieutenant 132,795.76
    89 Ruszkowski, James Police Officer 132,612.18
    90 Pepe, Mary L Director Of Human Resources 132,307.75
    91 Bausch, Lynn A Dep And Nursing Dir Nw 131,415.33
    92 Deluca, John C Program Administrator 131,072.85
    93 Sullivan, Joan T Director Of Purchasing/Admin S 130,881.84
    94 Iorfino, Pasquale J Detective 130,791.96
    95 Thorme, John F Police Sergeant 130,691.33
    96 Murdock, Ellen M Teacher 4Th Grade 130,534.68
    97 Lindine, August Program Administrator 130,279.89
    98 Ampha, Rosemarie Program Administrator 130,004.49
    99 Corticelli, Pierangelo Police Sergeant 129,982.52
    100 Sanders, Stanley M Master Police Officer 129,850.46

  11. Anonymous

    Good start Lorax…..but woefully some are so off the amount. McKersei, Schools Superintendent makes $240k base salary—and then add annuities, home allowance, 401K, health care etc etc

    In other words—the salary is truly just 2/3 of income on all the above….and they earned FAR ABOVE inflation since 2013.

    • The Lorax

      Oh I didn’t, there are lots of added perks we don’t know about. We have town employees who I recall at one time were taking vehicles home, fueling at Field Point and Holly Hill, and cell phone allowances and whatever else we don’t know about. Wouldn’t it be great if they were to shrink his salary for violating Yoon’s due process rights and costing the taxpayers 300k. I didn’t forget about the mistake in the decimal point he made when reporting the lead at parkway either.

  12. Abraham

    For years, some BET members (both R and D) have wanted to combine the tax collector’s and the tax assessor’s office, which I think is a reasonable (and money-saving) move. Lash even wrote an Op Ed about it many years back if I remember correctly. Over the years, the reason Chairman Mason never let that discussion happen publicly was to protect his friend Laudonia. So now it is funny to see Laudonia calling this cut personal when his job has been personally protected by his buddy Mason. Did Blankly and Lash do this smoothly and with care; no. They should have fired a shot across the BET bow long ago saying something to the effect of “we’re going to look to combine these offices in a year for efficiency reasons, so everyone better start preparing for it.” That would have removed all of these personality issues.
    I do hope the BET now has the guts to start making each department justify staffing levels with an eye towards improving efficiency and reducing headcount. Pick 2 or 3 departments a year for a full scale review. I can dream…

  13. CatoRenasci

    They should all make about half the salaries shown….

  14. Mickster

    It’s way above my paygrade to comment on the salaries BUT I am amazed at the LAYERS of admin staff everywhere, not just the schools but everywhere. It seems for every 2 or 3 people, teachers, cops, EMT, firefighters we need an admin level. I think it’s these desk jockeys that need to be looked at.

  15. The topic of the New Lebanon School apparently came up and we are told that none – zero of the Democrats on the BET voted for even a puny 1% cut in its exorbitant $37 million cost.

    Then on Channel 79 we can see that Mary Lee Kiernan (head of the Democrats) gave the town a lecture on how much better things would be if the Town borrowed for everything over 20 years instead of 7. Gee, are we surprised the Democrats want to super-size the Town’s debt? The Dems’ policy of longer maturities is a subterfuge for more spending, more borrowing and more taxes.

    Both parties could use more spine, but the Dems can’t be trusted with the taxpayers’ money.

  16. Anonymous

    Balzac…..I didnt see the hearings but take your word for it. A budget of $550 million ANNUALLY for 62k residents is patently absurd. The level of waste, fraud, and abuse in this Town is beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. And, sadly, this is with R’s in leadership.

    The R’s establishment party in this town need to be thrown out.

  17. Anonymous

    There are very few people on that list that would be making 80% of what they make if they were in the private sector, especially considering the number of hours they work. The salaries devoted to the school staff border on criminal.

  18. Riverside Dog Walker

    Man I’ve got my eyes on one of those assistant middle school principal jobs for $140-160k. Talk about a sweet deal. In the Army I learned to look busy and also to sleep with my eyes open. 7am to 3pm. 9 months of the year if you include all paid holidays and school breaks. I am good to go. Major job hazard is dying of boredom.

  19. The Lorax

    You don’t see the pay as you go as an issue? Spacing it out over a longer period of time would be more do-able than raises the taxes every time a pipe breaks or contaminates are found. Just look at the sewer systems, and look what happens everytime something comes up for MI. Why even pay for a study if were not going to do anything other than let it collect dust and cost millions more when they are ready to do it. We’re getting screwed only getting no vaseline! DRY!!!

    • When the town abandoned its long, long tradition of “pay as you go” spending took off and has only accelerated since. If taxes rise every time the Junior League has a bright idea, or parents of high school students decide that Precious needs a spa to relax in after her clarinet recital, other property owners will be inclined to resist. If instead, it’s made clear that it will be taxpayers down the road who’ll be footing the bill, then who cares? The average Greenwich homeowner is here less than 5 years- take advantage while you can then ” so long, suckers”.

  20. Anonymous

    Lots of good ideas here. Everyone posting and reading this blog, who is eligible to vote in Greenwich can get involved and begin to fix all this. Got to an RTM meeting, or better yet, and RTM committee meeting for Budget or Finance and hear the presentations and express your views and ideas. Go to a BET meeting. Go to the local Democratic or Republican committee meeting and become a member.over time you can influence candidate selection, or become the candidate! This can be changed. The ship doesn’t have to be led by the current crop of _____. Put your ideas in action, because the voices here aren’t being heard or acknowledged by the BET.