Rivera was Norwalk’s top earner in 2014; schools, police claimed 85 of top 100 spots

Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Manny Rivera.

Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Manny Rivera.

NORWALK, Conn. — Departing Superintendent of Schools Manny Rivera was the highest-paid Norwalk employee in 2014, according to a list released this week by the city comptroller, Frederic Gilden.

Rivera was paid $250,069.31. That was a bit more than $35,000 more than the second highest, Cranbury Elementary School Principal Elisa Nelson, who took in $214, 884.83.

Checking in at No. 3 on the list was Norwalk Police officer Russell Ouellette, with $213,076.63.
The salary figures include overtime and special duty payments.

Rounding out the Top 10: Deputy Superintendent Tony Daddona, $202, 873.52; police Lt. Ashley Gonzalez, $197,924.44; police officer Paul Larsen, $191,863.62; Ralph Valenzisi, Chief of technology, innovation and partnerships, $182,187.50; police officer George Daley, $179.213.20; Brien McMahon Principal Suzanne Koroshetz, $176,477.01; and police officer David Nieves, $175,778.96.

Overall, the top 100 earners includes 48 school employees and 37 police department employees.

Mayor Harry Rilling is the 224th-highest paid Norwalk employee, at $114,085.14. Rilling turned down an approved $24,502 raise when he took office last year.

The highest-paid person outside the schools and police department, and 39th overall, is Planning and Zoning Director Mike Green, who made $156,927.23 last year. Deputy Corporation Counsel Jeffry Spahr is next at $149,512.11, 58th overall.

Attached below is the entire 2014 Norwalk salary list.




Eye spy December 26, 2014 at 10:40 am

Interesting how there are names on this list who owe back taxes to the city. I’m guessing personnel doesn’t do a cross-check with the collector’s office to ensure that the city doesn’t hire deadbeat tax evaders, even for part-time or seasonal work. Maybe something to consider in the future.

Concerned December 26, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Always quite the eyeopener. Wonder how many of these top earners actually live in Norwalk. Would be interesting to get the list of the ‘top earners’ in Norwalk’s burgeoning non-profit sector, too, and find out how many of them actually live in Norwalk. Hmmm.

Susan Wallerstein December 26, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Waiting for district administration and/or BOE to explain Ms. Nelson’s compensation. Suspect there’s an error here somewhere.

MarjorieM December 26, 2014 at 9:19 pm

There are many senior principals on staff, but she is not one. She is an elementary principal also . She is employed for 12 months, so this doesn’t make any sense. Perhaps NON can find out why the high salary? Mistake?

Susan Wallerstein December 27, 2014 at 9:18 am

One possibility but unusual precedent – paying two salaries if for some reason she was covering two assignments (Cranbury principal, Fox Run Assistant Principal ?) during a transition.

Oldtimer December 27, 2014 at 11:04 am

These end-of-year top earner lists always show some police officers. Until the lists are broken down to show base salary in one column and overtime earnings for working a more than 8hrs or a second shift in the same day, or a street construction job, they will continue to mislead the public who see the list and assume we have a very highly paid police dept. At least, NON includes the disclaimer that the totals include overtime and special duty pay, but I wonder how many people have any idea what that means, in dollars and cents ? Some of us remember the days when the City, did not pay time and a half for police officer’s overtime and special duty jobs, like street construction, paid a flat rate, set by the police commission, but paid by the contractors, of $3/hr. At the time, this fell somewhere between the lowest pay and top grade patrolmen’s pay. Now, the city charges contractors a percentage on top of what the officer is paid.

WOW just WOW December 27, 2014 at 6:57 pm

I don’t really have an issue with what educators make considering the years of schooling they must pay for. I do however have major issues with what police are making in Norwalk considering the required level of education to become a Norwalk police officer is a G.E.D.

Also Oldtimer would have you believe that the taxpayers are not paying for the officer at construction sites. Well that is completely false.

I have copy an pasted a comment that someone made on another site that explains how it really works and shows that in fact the taxpayer is on the hook for these 6 figure of the Norwalk police Department.

I don’t think anyone is thinking these are base pays . What the complaint is the abuse of the overtime system by the NPD. Also when someone is “working” all these extra hours just how effective are the for their regular shift. This may explain why the NPD is such a failure.

The thing I find comical is the only ones supporting this cash cow on the backs of the taxpayer are the members of the NPD (current/retired).

Its time that flagmen at a much lower rate are used at construction sites. This will save the taxpayer millions per year. Also the flagmen will actually direct traffic instead of sitting in a running city car with city gas do God knows what..

We also need to limit police overtime to 8 hours per week except in the case of emergency . FYI in the real world as in the private sector overtime is extremely limited if it exists at all.

Here are the facts the city collects a 15 percent surcharge for extra duty work. The city then in turn pays for 100 percent for the extra duty work at construction sites. See this cost is figured into the bid/contract from the construction company. The city then pays for the contract . Thus the taxpayer is paying for every penny of this overtime.

As far as utility construction sites these outrages overtime rates for the PD are passed along in your utility bill. Thus once again the citizens /taxpayer is paying for the police overtime 100 percent.

So in turn the city is getting 15 percent for paying 100 percent

Paul Lanning December 28, 2014 at 1:50 pm

From Wikipedia’s Norwalk entry:

“According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $70,672, and the median income for a family was $83,695. Males had a median income of $46,988 versus $38,312 for females. The per capita income for the city was $31,781.”

Salaries paid to Norwalk employees are much too high. Taxpayers are being stiffed.

Paul Lanning December 28, 2014 at 11:12 pm

The police officer’s job is difficult and dangerous, and deserves fair compensation.
But there’s no reason to pay trained law enforcers their regular wages for directing traffic at construction sites. That job can be handled by a civilian with a 5th grade education! Contractors who feel a need for police on site should foot the bill themselves—it should not be the taxpayers’ responsibility.
It is also not sensible for police to be moonlighting. To first proclaim the demanding nature of the officer’s job, and then advocate for his/her right to work a second job during off hours is at best contradictory.

Bill December 29, 2014 at 7:21 am

Only in Connecticut can the average private sector worker make $60k, while the public sector worker gets $100k. This is unsustainable, look at Detroit.

Tom December 29, 2014 at 4:25 pm

This annual listing of salaries is disturbing for many reasons:

1. Elementary school teachers should not be earning over $100k per year for 10 months work.

2. In the private sector, people with 6 figure salaries work overtime and are not supported by union rules and job security – they are employed at will.

3. Police officers work a great deal of overtime to earn these amounts, but do we want them working that many hours?

4. Pension benefits should be based on base salaries for fire fighters and police officers, not on recent earnings with overtime.

The City needs to take a hard line when contracts come up for renewal and make salaries and work rules more aligned with what non-government employees face. Norwalk is becoming the city people want to work for, but not live in.

Mike Lyons December 30, 2014 at 8:59 am

Several people asked about the anomalously high salary reported for Cranbury Elementary School Principal Elisa Nelson. I checked with our CFO, Rich Rudl, and he explained that “She worked last year as the interim principal at Naramake, where she earned approximately $165k for the school year which was about $85k for January through June. She then retired at the end of the school year. Per the NASA contract she was entitled to a severance payout of her sick time which was approximately $47k (this is something we successfully grandfathered out of the NASA contract this fall, so new administrators will not be eligible for this payout in the future). In addition she was entitled to her NASA salary deferral which was approximately $5k (this is the salary NASA members deferred until retirement or separation of service a few years back). Then she was called back immediately to be the interim principal of Cranbury, where she earned about 77k for that time.”

Oldtimer January 2, 2015 at 11:20 pm

Pensions are based strictly on base salary in Norwalk, although I believe some places base it on gross pay, a sometimes much higher number. New York City has several pension plans for police and some of them used to pay on gross,
Wow just Wow
Construction jobs are paid by the contractors who also pay a service fee to the city. If the construction is being done for the City, the argument can be made the officer’s overtime is being paid by taxpayers, if the job is private, it is not being paid by the taxpayer. The officer gets it all in the same paycheck and the City collects from the contractor, plus a service fee, so the argument can be made the taxpayer actually makes a small profit. Either way, some of those jobs come after an eight hour shift, making for a very long day for the officer.

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