A lieutenant who choreographed the police department's recent move into its new downtown headquarters better than doubled his $94,038 base salary through overtime to earn the distinction as the highest-compensated municipal employee in 2009, according to new figures from the town.
Lt. Mark Kordick earned $207,672 for the year, including $101,382 in overtime.
"It was money well spent," said police Chief David Ridberg, who was 15th on the list at $161,903. "It was one of the biggest things we've ever been involved in."
Ridberg said Kordick put in 16-hour days, seven days a week from October through New Year's overseeing the transition, which he described as seamless.
Police officers occupied three of the top-10 spots on the list of highest-compensated town employees, a calculation that includes overtime, special duty and back wages, stipends and payouts for unused vacation and sick time.
Despite leaving his post in December 2008, retired police Capt. Michael Pacewicz earned more than any other town employee except Kordick in 2009.
Pacewicz, who agreed to step down as part of a separation agreement that evolved from a lawsuit over promotions in the department, collected $179,533 in severance, payment for accrued vacation and sick days and a lump sum for his years of service to the town.
Conspicuously absent from the top spot on the list was the superintendent himself, Sidney Freund, who didn't come on board until July.
In addition to a base salary of $230,000, Freund gets a $250 monthly travel stipend.
Prorated for the six months he was on the job, Freund took home $128,161, putting him 91st on the list.
Former schools head Betty Sternberg ranked 11th, earning $166,219 for the first six months of the year that she worked for the town.
The fourth and fifth spots on the list were occupied by Town Administrator John Crary ($177,549) and former Assistant Schools Superintendent Sue Wallerstein ($177,325), who is now working for the district as a consultant.
First Selectman Peter Tesei said the list is consistent with previous years and that many senior managers, such as the public works commissioner, comptroller, parks and health directors who make up the managerial-confidential class, had wage freezes.
The town's chief-elected official, Tesei barely cracked the top 100, coming in 98th at $125,812.
"I think this list showcases the fact that I don't think that the first selectman is paid enough," Walko said. "If one looks at all the roles and responsibilities in town, I don't think the first selectman's salary is in keeping with that."
The list of highest compensated municipal employees is released every January by the town.
Separate from that, the town hired a consultant to help it determine appropriate salary bands for its senior managers in the managerial-confidential class.
"They went out to the market to see what we pay relative to the market," said Walko, who called for the two to be compared.
Town officials noted that the list from 2009 included one more pay period than normal because Jan. 1 fell on a Friday, meaning that employees received their final checks for the year on Dec. 31.
The third member of the police ranks to make the top 10 on the list was Lt. Richard Cochran, who Ridberg said picked up a lot of extra work as part of the department's command staff and led a valuable initiative to create a domestic violence unit.
Cochran was eighth on the list, earning $169,365 that included $56,906 in overtime.
After functioning without any captains or deputy chiefs because of languishing litigation over promotions, Ridberg said the department is finally in a position to elevate a new commanders. "I don't anticipate some of the same (overtime) expenditures after the end of March because we will be able to make promotions," Ridberg said. "If we had a command staff that could have ran the building transition, there would have been little overtime."
One name that didn't make the list of top earners but could be considered a quasi-town employee is that of Peter Sutton, executive director of the Bruce Museum, which is slated to receive $748,576 in taxpayer funding this fiscal year.
According to the museum's most recent filing with the Internal Revenue Service, Sutton's compensation from July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2008, was $254,796.
Larry Simon, a museum trustee and BET member, said Sutton's annual compensation is now closer to $230,000 and is set by the board's executive committee.
"It's competitive with what museum directors make at museums our size," Simon said.
Simon said the general consensus is that Sutton is doing a solid job at the helm of the museum, which has an annual budget of $5 million.
For that amount of money, Simon said a superior product is being produced.
Staff writer Neil Vigdor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 203-625-4436.