February 16, 2009

Highest paid city workers easily outpacing inflation

Fifteen years ago, only 13 city workers earned more than $75,000 annually.
Last year, the least any of the top 13 municipal wage earners raked in was just a little less than $138,000 – a $63,000 jump since 1993.
If the city had merely matched the inflation rate during the intervening years, its 13th highest paid worker would be collecting $110,000 now.
Every one of the Top 50 wage earners working for the city hauled in more than that.
But nobody came close to the amount paid to school Superintendent Philip Streifer, who smashed the city’s record for annual pay on the way to claiming the number one spot with $192,281 in compensation, based on the city’s yearly accumulators report.
The average take-home pay for the city’s Top 50 wage earners last year was a record $130,713 – up 11 percent from 2007 – and more than double the median family income in Bristol.
The annual list, provided by the comptroller’s office, shows the top earns include 30 school administrators, 17 police officers, Fire Chief Jon Pose and two city supervisors, the comptroller and the public works director.
Five of the Top 10 are police officers who racked up considerable overtime. Last year’s top earner, Lt. Joel Estes, placed third this year, trailing both Streifer and Lt. Jack Michaud, who earned $163,471.
The big paychecks collected by many police officers are deceptive.
Those pocketing big bucks do a lot of private security jobs on the side _ particularly directing traffic during road construction _ to pull in overtime checks paid by the contractors, not the taxpayers.
The city bills the private employers for officers' time -- and adds 12 percent to the tab to cover administrative expenses -- and doesn't count the extra pay for pension or other purposes. Taxpayers only foot the bill for officers' city work and probably save because the city actually turns a small profit from the practice, officials have said.
The number of women among the Top 50 remained at last year’s tally of 14, which was five more than had ever made the list before. All of them are school principals or administrators.
Municipal benefits extend to more than just paychecks. City and school workers get generous fringe benefits, including cheap but excellent health insurance and good pensions.
Fringe benefits cost taxpayers at least another 15 percent above the wages an employee earns.
The city comptroller’s office compiles the annual list of the top 50 earners by checking its year-to-date accumulators report to indicate how much each employee takes home.
The numbers are close, but not necessarily the same, as the figures listed on the W-2 forms given employees each January. Comptroller’s office personnel said the accumulators report is a more accurate measure.
The Bristol Press has been printing the Top 50 wage earners list for many years.

City of Bristol



1 Philip Streifer $192,280.59

2 Jack Michaud $163,471.36
Police Lieutenant

3 Joel Estes $161,130.55
Police Lieutenant

4 Paul Hines $158,834.42
Detective Sergeant

5 William Smyth $154,458.55
Asst. to the Superintendant of Business

6 Susan Moreau $152,018.19
Asst. Superintendent

7 Denise Carabetta $150,648.59
Director of Office of Teaching & Learning

8 Mark Moskowitz $150,414.77
Police Lieutenant

9 Kim Hapken $149,193.55
Director of Special Services

10 John McNellis $147,519.99
Police Sergeant

11 Anthony Malavenda $146,957.53
Director of Human Services

12 John Sassu $141,985.95
Police Sergeant

13 V. Everett Lyons $137,926.17
Principal, Bristol Eastern High School

14 Steven Tavares $134,699.31
Police Sergeant

15 Kevin Morrell $134,638.70
Police Lieutenant

16 Martin Semmel $134,300.85
Principal, Bristol Central High School

17 Christopher Lennon $133,781.45
Police Detective Sergeant

18 Jean Andrews $128,284.02
Principal, Hubbell Elementary School

19 Brian Gould $127,280.15
Police Lieutenant

20 Catherine Carbone $126,847.06
Principal, Chippens Hill Middle School

21 Dennis Siegmann $126,727.06
Principal, Northeast Middle School

22 John Divenere $125,477.89
Police Chief

23 Roseann Voijtek $125,248.56
Principal, Ivy Drive Elementary School

24 Gail Gilmore $125,008.56
Principal, Jennings Elementary School

25 Jon Pose $124,030.84
Fire Chief

26 Donn Watson $122,362.25
Police Lieutenant

27 Rodney Gotowala $122,346.42
Police Sergeant

28 Marcianne Jones $122,200.21
Principal, Memorial Boulevard Middle School

29 Richard Brown $122,055.76
Police Lieutenant

30 Michael Audette $121,094.88
Principal, O'Connell Elementary School

31 Steven Bent $121,094.88
Principal, Bingham Elementary School

32 Gary Maynard $121,094.88
Principal, South Side Elementary School

33 Dennis Bieu $121,094.88
Principal, Mt. View Elementary School

34 Angela Rossbach $120,758.88
Principal, Edgewood Elementary School

35 Catherine Cassin $120,758.88
Principal, Stafford Elementary School

36 Peter Gaudet $120,686.88
Principal, Green Hills Elementary School

37 Andrew Langlais $120,181.34
Police Lieutenant

38 Maria Groody $119,853.80
Director of Adult Education

39 Walter Veselka $119,518.67
Director, Public Worksl

40 Glenn Klocko $119,518.55

41 Daniel Viens $118,952.38
Asst. Principal, Bristol Eastern High School

42 Daniel Sonstrom $118,556.38
Asst. Principal, Bristol Central High School

43 Ellen Benham $117,879.86
Supervisor of Athletic Office

44 Edward Spyros $117,005.88
Police Lieutenant

45 Edward Keleher $116,761.18
Asst. Principal, Bristol Eastern High School

46 Christopher Cassin $116,477.02
Asst. Principal, Chippens Hill Middle School

47 Richard Gagliardi $116,456.02
Supervisor of the Technology Center

48 Anne Gobes $115,924.96
Early Childhood

49 Mary Hawk $115,572.11
Asst. Principal, Chippens Hill Middle School

50 Daniel McIntyre $114,291.89
Police Captain

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com


Anonymous said...

This is tough to look at when so many people in Bristol make less the 35k a year. These folks better be working hard.

Anonymous said...

I agree, how many teachers could we save by cutting these 6 figure incomes....

Anonymous said...

As far as I know, all city workers pay some percentage of a cost share to the City for health insurance, which the City successfully has negotiated over the past few years, so your reporting that employees get "free health care" is inaccurate.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to note that despite all the talk of our mayor of 60,000 being overpaid, he didn't even come close to making the top 50 cut.

Steve Collins said...

5:53 -- Thanks. It is corrected.

Anonymous said...


Walt Veselka is the Director of Public Works.

Steve Collins said...

Thanks, 6:11. That mistake came from the city, but I sure should have caught it! I don't know all the school people, but I know Walt.

Anonymous said...

Is there any record of how many hours are worked, how much is OT?

For example, if Streiffer were to work a 50 hour week, he would be earning the equivalent of about $152K/yr.

Also, keep in mind that OT for Cops is probably cheaper than hiring additional cops with their high starting cost(training etc) and benefits.

It would be nice to have a more complete, representative breakdown.

How much vacation do the administrators get?

Anonymous said...

The Police Sargeant is Peter Sassu, not John unless there are two Sassu's in the Dept.

You might want to check that one Steve.

not likely said...

have any of these wage earners been asked to give anything back or is the fact that most are board of educators? mr block should take a look at that if he is looking to make an election statement - go cliff.

Anonymous said...

How much did the superintendent of schools make in 2007? What are the other salary enhancements that most people are not aware of?

Steve Collins said...

6:43 -- I know Peter, of course. I don't know if there is also a John Sassu. It may be that his name is John Peter Sassu or something like that. I got the list from the city and it uses legal names,which don't always match the ones people are normally called.

Steve Collins said...

As for the 2007 superintendent's pay, it's a little mixed up. Michael Wasta was there until the end of June that year, at which point Streifer took the reins.
So neither of them topped the list, though I think Wasta still made the Top 10 somehow.

Anonymous said...

I have no issue with what police or firemen make. I would not want to do their jobs, ever.

Nevertheless, the overtime work that they do at construction sites can be done a whole lot cheaper if it were done by the construction company personnel. I don’t know of many construction workers that have an hourly rate of 50+ dollars an hour.

However, through union negotiations, this MUST be done by local police. That came under the Nicastro Administration. It's disingenuous to say that it does not cost the city any money. Of course it does. This OT cost is buried into the contract price and it's much higher than it would have been with regular construction and utility personnel who make an hourly wage a good deal less that what a city police officer does.

We absorb this cost with higher utility and road construction costs which makes its way into our local, state and federal tax rates. It's a pretty good racket, if you want to be a policeman. I still don't.

I only just wish they paid a higher percentage of their health insurance costs. I can only hope that the unions see the wisdom of the city funding their Health Benefit costs with the excess in the Retirement Fund. Come on guys, what more could you want to negotiate.

NYC police officer salaries pale compared to those of Bristol officers. I would venture to say that they (NYC policemen) face much more difficult duty.

Steve Collins said...

I don't think Nicastro is responsible for the police guarding construction sites. It's a state law and seems to be done in every town.
I know when I moved to Connecticut in 1993, that struck me as one of the most ridiculous things I'd ever seen in government. Now, I guess, I'm just used to it.

Anonymous said...

We bear witness to, "The Great Scam".

Anonymous said...

Steve, if you check the history, you will discover the state law was reserved for certain roads in each town.

If you refer to city union contract, it refers to ALL roads in Bristol. Bristol is one of the few towns that covers ALL roads. If you travel around the state, you wil see state troopers doing road duty, not allowed in Bristol, again, thanks to Nicastro.

Anonymous said...

I think I saw Phil Streifer downtown today....he was laughing in front of the bank :)

Steve Collins said...

8:37 -- Is that right? I thought the chief could designate which roads needed police protection for construction crews. I distinctly remember the chief talking about that years ago. I also remember thinking that I've seen police on the scene for construction on some pretty sleepy byways.

Steve Collins said...

Well, here's an interesting story that makes the state of the law clear: www.connpost.com/ci_11706430

Anonymous said...

There are 2 Sassu's at the BPD. They are brothers. John is a sergeant. Peter works in BEHS.

Check the City Ordinances, Steve, and you'll find that the Chief does have the authority to designate which streets require police traffic duty. It is not, as some have said here, in the police contract. If you read the police contract, and I am sure you have a copy, you'll not find a reference to this "requirement" anywhere. It's all controlled by city ordinance and, I think, state statute.

Anonymous said...

Steve, let the spinners spin. The fact of the matter is, no one, and I repeat, no one is allowed to work constuction sites in this town unless there are no officers willing to do so, which is almost never.

When is the last time you saw a construction site without a Bristol Police officer directing/?? traffic?

Anonymous said...

February 16, 2009 8:41 PM;

LOL...you got it!

Anonymous said...

Steve Re: your 9:04

The chief controls nothing in this matter. The Union controls this work through contract. Check it out, and again, it was done under Nicastro's watch.

Anonymous said...

Dennis Siegman retired as a BCHS teacher/principal several years ago, and he is no doubt collecting a big pension while going on year 4 or 5 of what was supposed to be a temporary, fill-in assignment at the middle school. Double dipping at its finest, almost as bad as those state of CT workers!!

Why do we have all these Assistant Principals making over $110,000?? That is utterly disgusting. I'd rather have 2 additional teachers at $55,000 each.

Anonymous said...

Well at my agency due to the economy and our need to save money at the end of this fiscal year we ALL had to take a pay cut. I think we could save a few teachers/staff salaries if they each took a 6-10% cut. Come on now.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you can put this issue to rest. See if contractors in Bristol are allowed to do traffic work under city contract. Forget state contracts, see if it's allowed under city contract. I think not and that's the point, it increases the cost of all projects, which we all pay.

permission granted? said...

3% of $192,000 is more than 3% of the mayor and whole city council's pay - add that to the rest of the top 50 and we can see some real savings.
block is the council guy on the boe, he should ask doyle if he can ask the same 3% cut for all of them or not.

Anonymous said...

Who cares what cops make on OT IF it is paid for by the contractor?

Anonymous said...

A few years back I saw a cop at a construction site on Maple AAve, near the tracks at 3:00PM.

I went by at about 5:00PM, when the traffic was the heaviest, and there was no cop.

How Come?

Anonymous said...

Time to get rid of some "fat" at the BOE!!!

Doug said...

Look at where your tax dollars are going. The School administrators are stuffing their pockets just as I said earlier. I believe the school superintendent was making 152 or 154k when the 2007 list was published. "The money is for the kids".

As far as the OT for the police, you have to be real naive if you don't see that the taxpayer or consumer is paying for this.

Who hires those contractors? The tooth fairy? No the town and utiliy companies do! Just as the town tacks on a percentage you can be sure that those contractors are doing the same so the Taxpayer and the consumer are royally paying for it!

I left Bristol a few years back, but I still have family that resides in Bristol. I warned the council that because of the high taxes in Bristol, the city was seeing an outflow of higher wage earners and an inflow of those requiring social services.

No one cared. The Taxpayers of Bristol (and just about every municipality in the nation) has to take back their communities! The waste, fraud, nepotism, cronism, and pay for play (and votes) is breaking the middle class and businesses. For those that say screw the businesses I guess you can do that and then join the ranks of those living off the government.

Anonymous said...

Pete Sassu and John Sassu are brothers and your report is correct - Pete is the school resource cop at Eastern and his brother John is the Sgt.
John and is legit on the list, its not Pete. Looks like someone is trying to backdoor another slam against Ellen, who is married to Pete.

Anonymous said...

This may be tough to look at but a cursory check of salary.com will show that most of the educational positions are in line. They may be a little higher but those are starting salaries and the vast majority have been there since I was a kid. Police are police. Obviously the overtime is available so why should they not take it? And yes.... I know PLENTY of construction workers that make much more than $50/hr. I would much rather have a cop directing traffic or on scene to make sure nothing goes wrong than Joe Schmoe (Union or Non-Union)who quite possibly had a liquid lunch on the case.

Timeliness said...

7:07 - "a few years back?" - maybe the city can go back into their magic kingdom to answer such a stupid assertion - grow up.

Anonymous said...

For a city that has not substantially grown in population over the past 15 years (Bristol has been stable at approximately 65,000);
for a city that ranks around 135 of CT's 169 cities and towns (the bottom quarter) on the affluence\wealth index for its population;
for a city where the average worker's salary is around $35,000 with the average worker not even keeping up with the cost of inflation over the last 15 years;

given the growth in number of administrative positions in the school system( how many new assitant principal last year?); any reasonable person would conclude that the growth in wages and benefits for these administrative postions is OUTRAGEOUS, and should no longer be "automatic".

Time for pay cuts, and slashing of the bureacracy.
Just like they do in the private sector.

Anonymous said...

Everyone on these boards that voted no to the COO....How is that NO vote working out for you now! The employees love it that you voted no, but do you?

Anonymous said...

Why don't you guys apply for those high paying jobs?

Anonymous said...

Food for Thought:

One of Streiffers predecessors in now making $240,000/yr., and more than likely with less problems.

Why stay in Bristol with all the hassles?

Are we really committed to do the best by our children?????

Anonymous said...

Will we have to cut those salaries if we take Stimulus money?

Anonymous said...

7:03AM asked "Who cares what cops make on OT IF it is paid for by the contractor?"...the answer is simple. If the construction and utility companies have to pay for the bogus services, who exactly do you think bears the extra costs? In the end, it is the consumers in the form of higher costs. And also the taxpayers end up paying to, as the cost construction companies charge the city for work done around town will most definietly include the price of such police OT services. There is no reason a normal construction worker can't direct and control traffic. Most of the times cops are not needed. Many cities and states do just fine w/o this "service". And think about it, how many times do you actually see a cop stop someone speeding etc. while he/she is on construction duty? Hardly ever. Most of the time they are in their cars on the phone or chatting with the construction workers... not even paying attention to the traffic. Bristol=Waste...plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

"reporting that employees get "free health care" is inaccurate."

The cost of health care is actually part of the wage. Bargaining units agreed to health benefits instead of wage increases long ago. Co-pays defray the cost to the employer, but the concept of free health care is totally wrong.

Anonymous said...

I think cops base salary is too low and I have no problem with them working constructions sites. That being said, I can't help but wonder how effective they are when on duty after working numerous hours of overtime? Cops only work X amount of hours per week because we need them to be at their best when on duty. We want them to get their rest, spend time with family & friends & come to work at their best physically and mentally. I think o/t should be limited to 5 - 10 hours per week maximum.

Anonymous said...

Will our kids benefit if we double the superintendent's pay?

Anonymous said...

9:56, you don't know what your talking about. There is nothing in the police union contract regarding what streets officers have to be on for construction. Those choices are all chosen by the Chief of Police. In fact there are only 52 streets amoungs the several hundred in Bristol that are on the list. If your interested you can get the list from the Building Dept. You'll find that the streets on the list are the busiest streets, maybe thats why you see officers there, because there the most damgerous. The fact that every once in a while you see them on a short litle traveled street is because we as contractors move around doing our work and we take the officers with us. Do a little research on subjects before you speak. Oh yeah, I also pay the City of Bristol an extra 11 percent for the officer, but I think it's well worth it!

Anonymous said...

Re: 8:35

Check the contract. My words are correct. Yours are not.

Anonymous said...

Re: 8:35

There are no roads, none, zilch, not a one that a regular construction worker is allowed to direct traffic over a local policeman unless the union agrees or no policeman is willing to take the duty. Do your homework my friend.

Anonymous said...

I was shocked at the salaries at the top of the BOE and we are going to cut teacher positions, possibly increase class size, one band director at all three middle schools. I am at a loss for words.

Anonymous said...

It's called bureacratic fat cats draining the wealth of the system for all it's worth!
We are observing the wealth in the system flow to a select few at the top with no restrictions in place.

Keep the teachers, reduce the overpaid fat cat paper pushers.

The fat cats aren't teaching your kids.

Anonymous said...

Steve, Would ne nice to know just who on the list lives and pays taxes in Bristol.

Can you do that?

Anonymous said...

Let cut Streifer's salary in half and buy 4 new cops cars with the savings

Anonymous said...

I think it's nice that all these people can make so much money.

Anonymous said...

It's true none of these people are on welfare. I guess we pay either way, but at least these people are working for our money.

Anonymous said...

Dennis siegman retires as principal of centeral, collects his pension, and is working as an Asst. principal at the middle school and getting paid? How does that work? Double dipping at its best!!!

Anonymous said...


Cost it out: it is probably cheaper for the city to do it this way. No benefits etc.

Also, if the job is so great, why aren't qualified people clamoring for the job, waiting in line, beating down the doors?

Think about it!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps these top administrative positions should be limited to 5 year negotiable contracts. Then open the position, and accept applications from new candidates.
Like the private sector, competition for management positions keeps salaries and benefit packages
within reasonable limits, and acts as a "check" on "automatic" salary\benefit packages that outstrip inflation.

The compensation for these administrative postions need to be frozen.
We need to save some teachers and fix the sewers.

Anonymous said...

An interesting point to consider is that there are many more supervisor positions that are in the $90,000-$110,000 range that don't even make the top 50.
How much work do you think they collectively invent for themselves and teachers to justify their positions? How many of these positions overlap or could essentially be done by someone else in the same department? Someone earlier said it best about the impact of these people on kids in the classroom. Elementary class sizes with around 30 per teacher is the last thing a city like Bristol needs. Yet every news story and article in the paper talks of teacher, custodian and secretary layoffs.

Anonymous said...

RE: 8:35

There is a list of roads in town that require a police officer to work on them. A police officer is NOT required on all city roads. If the job is on one of those roads on the list, and no police officer is available, the company is then allowed to use a flag man. If they have no flag man, then they can't work. If the road is not on the list, then a police officer is NOT required. I know this because I am a police officer in town. END OF DEBATE.

Anonymous said...

Re: 5:15

You need to read your own contract. Your union controls All roads in town. End of debate.

Anonymous said...

Ummmm, I think I might know a thing or two about how things work when it comes to this subject, seeing as I work there. Why don't you check your facts before you shoot your mouth off and make a fool of your uninformed self. City Ordinance 21-10 states in part:

...The chief of police shall prepare a designated list of streets which by the nature of the roadway, traffic volume, or public safety concerns should require uniformed police officers to divert and control traffic. Said list will be prepared periodically and be distributed to permittees or construction companies...

Here is the web address for the entire code of ordinances if you would like to "Do your homework".