Top wage earner is police sergeant

JOHNSTOWN — City police Sgt. Michael Pedrick was city government’s top earner in 2017, making $91,860. which included over $14,000 in overtime.

In fact three city Police Department officers who were not the chief were among the top five earners in the city last year. Their boss — former city police Chief Mark Gifford — was sixth on the list of top 10 salaried city employees for 2017. He had a base pay of $80,471.

The Leader-Herald sent a state Freedom of Information Law request to City Hall for the top 10 city government earners in 2017. The FOIL request was honored by city Treasurer Michael Gifford.

Pedrick came out as the top city earner with a total of $91,860 for 2017. That total included a regular base salary of $61,513, but these additional payments: $14,187 –overtime and compensatory time pay; $6,000 — health insurance opt out; $4,305 — shift and assignment differentials; holiday time pay — $3,037; longevity — $2,200; and college degree pay — $615.14.

After Pedrick, the other top 10 city government earners for 2017 were: second, police Officer James Rodecker — $87,404; third, Michael Gifford — $84,459; fourth, Fire Chief Bruce Heberer — $81,533; fifth, Police Sgt. Michael Millias — $81,039; sixth, former Police Chief Mark Gifford — $80,471; seventh, Assistant Fire Chief Donald Biron — $78,896; eighth, former Assistant Fire Chief Richard Danelorich — $78,686; ninth, Assistant Fire Chief Stephen Maxson — $77,419; and 10th, Fire Capt. Michael Frank — $77,399.

Danelorich, who retired last summer, received a $5,000 contractual retirement payment.

Michael Gifford and Heberer each had base pays of $84,459 and $81,533, respectively.

Mayor Vern Jackson said Monday it is not unusual for police officers or firefighters who rank below the chief to make more money by the end of the year.

“It’s always been that way, even before I became mayor,” Jackson stated. “It’s always interesting to see the lower [ranked] workers who pull in the money because of the overtime.”

Jackson said he has no problem with the way overtime is being handled among city departments, such as the large ones like police, fire and the Department of Public Works. Other circumstances such as weather, personnel and public safety situations dictate how much overtime is needed.

“That’s their call,” the mayor said.

The most overtime on the list was garnered by Rodecker, who earned $22,176 in OT last year. In addition to his $54,922 base pay, he also had: $4,942 in shift and assignment differentials; earned $2,300 in longevity; $2,762 in holiday time pay; and $300 in clothing allowance.

The only other person on the list to receive $615.34 in college degree pay was Millias. He received a $61,513 base pay, plus other pay such as: $14,226 — overtime; $2,200 — longevity; and $2,484 holiday time pay.

Other overtime listings were: Biron — $5,760; Danelorich — $10,579; Maxson — $4,283; and Frank — $4,590.

Heads of their departments such as: Michael Gifford, Mark Gifford and Heberer received no other pay besides their base pay. Mark Gifford retired and Lt. David Gilbo — who didn’t make the 2017 list — is now the police chief.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income in the nation in 2016 was $55,322. For the state of New York in 2016, it was $60,741. For the city of Johnstown, it was $44,989 in 2016.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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