The town and village of Massena top lists of North Country municipalities for average pay per employee.
A report listing the highest-paid municipal employees around the state, released today by the non-profit Empire Center for Public Policy, shows that all 11 of the highest-paid municipal employees in the North County (St. Lawrence, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, and Lewis counties) during the period April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014 were employed by Massena Memorial Hospital or Lewis County General Hospital. Ten of them had the same pay, $255,000.
The Town of Massena tops the list for average pay among its 453 general employees – including those at the hospital and the independent electric department -- at $52,268. Fourth on that list is the Village of Potsdam at an average of $44,588 for its 51 general employees.
The Village of Massena pays its 30 police and paid firefighters and average of $67,943, which tops that police and firefighter list in the North Country.
Gouverneur is second, paying its six employees in that category an average of $65,660; Potsdam is fourth, below Watertown, at an average of $64,621 for its 14 police and fire employees; and Canton is fifth, at an average of $61,635 for its nine employees.
Charles F. Fahd, paid by the Town of Massena to run Massena Memorial Hospital, tops the list of highest-paid local government employees in the North Country at $288,443.
In addition to Fahd, three doctors at MMH, surgeon Rosalind Mariano, practitioner of internal medicine and oncology Priti Mandalaywala, and nephrologist Khurram Mumtaz, were paid $255,000 by the hospital during the period.
It should be noted that there is no comparative private sector pay information. The Massena and Lewis County hospitals appear in the report because they are run by local government, and the salaries paid there are part of the public record.
The amounts listed in the report do not include fringe benefits such as health insurance or pension contributions, which can add more than 35 percent to the cost for taxpayers.
“The Empire Center produces this report because it is committed to protecting the right of taxpayers to know how their money is being spent,” said Executive Director Tim Hoefer. Employee compensation is the single largest component of most municipal budgets, he said.
The report can be seen at http://www.empirecenter.org/publications/wtm14-ny/.