NORWALK, Conn. – Tony Daddona, who filled in as acting superintendent of schools for half of 2013 before assuming the newly created title of deputy superintendent, topped the list of top wage earners on city payroll in 2013.
Daddona was paid $219,392.96, just over $19,000 more than next person on the list, Norwalk Police officer Russell Ouellette, who picked up $199,102.39 in salary and overtime.
The two men topped the list of Norwalk’s top 100 wage earners for the second year in a row. Last year, Daddona made $198,490.95 and Ouellette $190,732.55.
The 2013 list, provided by the city, was dominated by school (49) and police (30) employees. The remainder of the top 100 came from the fire department (11, none in the Top 50) and city administration (10).
The complete 2013 salary list is attached at the end of this report.
Topping the city administrators was Director of Planning and Zoning Michael Greene, at $155,482.11, No. 30 on the list. He was followed by Deputy Corporation Counsel Jeffrey Spahr at $148,470.61 (48), Director of Finance Tom Hamilton at $146, 313.80 (51) and Comptroller Frederic Gilden at $144,004.65 (52).
Also in the top 100: DPW chief Hal Alvord ($141,675.05, 62nd), Info Tech Director Karen Del Vecchio ($140,227.14, 64th), Fire Chief Denis McCarthy ($135,445.58, 87th), Chief Building Official William Ireland ($134,567.18, 92nd), Principal Civil Engineer Richard Linnartz ($134,492.15, 93rd) and Director of Management & Budget Robert Barron ($133,722.77, 95th).
Mayor Richard Moccia, who served 10.5 months in 2013, was 414th on the list at $104,029.21. Town Clerk Rick McQuaid made $85,563.90, 932nd on the list.
Three employees who resigned or were terminated after accusations involving larceny, misuse of a credit card an insubordination and misconduct, were paid more than $221,000 before they left, much of it while they were on paid leave.
Robert Polselli, the Norwalk Public Schools director of technology who was suspended Dec. 13, 2012 and submitted a negotiated letter of resignation effective in June after an investigation into allegedly improper purchase made with a school credit card, was paid $87,509.81.
Assistant Town Clerk Debbie Troy, who was placed on paid leave of absence in January while an investigation was conducted into missing money from the clerk’s office, made $37,653.37. Troy was fired in late June and charged with larceny Oct. 30.
Facilities Director Mark Gorian, who spent more than three months on paid leave before being terminated Oct. 2 after and investigation for “possible willful misconduct, including insubordination,” according to a story in The Hour, was paid $96,435.96.
Not on the salary list as they are not considered city employees, but employees of the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency, were Tad Diesel, Norwalk marketing and business development director, at $88,400; Margaret Suib, Norwalk fair housing officer, $88,045.36; and David Shockley, mayor’s neighborhood improvement coordinator, $51,385.88.
The preponderance of school and police employees has drawn fire from some taxpayers. Norwalk’s teachers are among the best paid in the state, according to an arbitration report released in 2012 that placed then at No. 5.
After Daddona, the next 27 school employees listed were principals, housemasters and other administrator. The first “regular teacher” listed was Joseph Madaffari, who was paid $152,002.04 (44th on the list) at Brien McMahon High School, where he is athletic director. Nicholas Saccinelli, a Norwalk High teacher, was the next regular teacher listed at $133,626.61, the 96th-best paid person in Norwalk in 2013. There were no other teachers in the top 100.
Overtime, including money paid for officers on special details paid for by private companies, and retirement pay accounted for the heavy police presence in the Top 100. In addition to Ouellette, Officer Paul Larsen was third on the list at $184,452.21, followed by Lt. Shawn Wong Won at $176,186.01 (4th) and Sgt. Charles Perez at $175,914.36 (5th). Wong Won and Perez’s totals included retirement pay, according to a report in The Hour. Lt Ashley Gonzalez was next with $174,033.58 (6th).
In October, Police Chief Tom Kulhawik said the department’s authorized staffing level is 181, but only 178 positions are funded in the current budget. “We currently have 175 on the roster as we had a recent retirement, etc.,” he said. “We will be filling those vacancies off our new list and test, which is in progress now.”
We asked if there is a tipping point at which it is cheaper to add staff than to pay overtime.
“The OT question is a complicated one,” Kulhawik said. “There is a breaking point as well as other factors which play into this, but, generally speaking, it is sometimes cheaper to pay OT than to hire additional officers. However, with that said, as I noted, there is a balance that must be managed.”
It is not just a dollars-and-cents issue, he explained.
“It also depends on what you expect of the officers. As you add additional duties and assignments such as SRO’s (school resources officers), you need additional bodies to do it,” he said. “For patrol staffing, it is an easier answer, and in those cases the OT can be cheaper as you don’t have the benefits and training and equipment costs. We use this balance in determining the budget and look at both salary figures and overtime when determining how to properly fund at the least expense.”
To see the full Norwalk 2013 salary list, click here: 2013 Norwalk Salary List