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Treasurer highest-paid Johnstown employee

February 11, 2013
By LEVI PASCHER , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - Treasurer Michael Gifford was city government's top earner in 2012, making $75,292.

His income surpassed that of city firefighters and police officers, who often receive overtime pay.

Gifford received no additional pay for overtime hours, city documents show.

"Generally speaking, the police chief, fire chief and treasurer are all kind of in the same ballpark," Gifford said. "Historically, the city engineer was up there as well, but we have a new engineer, so that is why that position is lower at the moment."

The second-highest earner in Johnstown government last year was Police Chief Mark Gifford, who received $72,917. Fire Chief Bruce Heberer came in third with $72,678.

Police Department salaries totaled $1.38 million, including $70,515 from overtime pay.

Police Sgt. Christopher Stevens made the most money in the department next to the chief last year, earning $64,894. A total of $9,842 of that amount came from overtime pay.

Gifford said the Police Department union members are still paid at 2009 rates because they don't have a new contract yet.

"I suspect when a contract is actually reached, you will see them earning more than they did this year [in 2012]," Gifford said.

Fire Department salaries totaled $1.37 million. A total of $22,576 came from overtime pay.

Thomas Maye, a retired firefighter, made $27,262 last year because of a retired supplemental disability benefit.

Maye was hired on July 21, 1990, serving as a firefighter until he had a career-ending injury during a Dec. 12, 2006, fire. He retired Aug. 2, 2008.

Gifford said Maye retired under a disability retirement plan known as the Performance of Duty Disability Plan, which requires the city to supplement his retirement pay.

"Every year, we have to look at what a top-level firefighter makes, and from that, we subtract the retirement benefits, and then we are obligated by law to pay him the difference directly from the city," Gifford said. "It is actually something that we run into rarely here, but some of the bigger cities, from what I understand, have a number of those things."

Gifford said the city's responsibility to pay the difference will end when Maye reaches "Retirement Day," or the age a firefighter is expected to retire.

Gifford said city employees can receive buyouts for unused vacation and holiday time at the end of the year, but they do not receive sick-day buyouts upon retirement or during the regular calendar year.

Police Chief Gifford's $72,917 salary for 2012 was less than Gloversville Police Chief Donald VanDeusen's salary, which was $87,563.

Johnstown Fire Chief Heberer's salary of $72,678 was less than Gloversville Fire Chief Beth Whitman-Putnam's salary of $78,949.

Gloversville has a higher population than Johnstown, which could be a factor in the difference in pay.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau estimates, in 2011, 15,621 people lived in Gloversville, while 8,718 lived in the city of Johnstown.

Some of the other top earners in Johnstown in 2012 included: Assistant Fire Chief Michael Heberer, $66,962; Assistant Fire Chief Jeffrey Kollar, $66,873; Assistant Fire Chief John Duesler, $66,873; Assistant Fire Chief Donald Biron, $66,784; Police Lt. David Gilbo, $65,149; Police Sgt. Christopher Stevens, $64,894; and Police Sgt. Jamie Allen, $63,982.

The earnings listed are gross earnings.

Levi Pascher can be reached at gloversville@leaderherald.com.

 
 

 

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