, Newburyport, MA

March 20, 2013

Police dominate Newburyport's Top 20 highest paid employees


---- — NEWBURYPORT — Superintendent of Schools Marc Kerble is retiring this spring but he goes out as the highest-paid municipal employee here in 2012. According to city records, he earned $176,042.

The next highest earners were police Marshal Thomas Howard, $168,098; Fire Chief Stephen Cutter, $152,156; and police Sgt. Stephen Chaisson, $138,493.

City officials released the records, which are public, at the request of The Daily News. The figures reflect the total income that city and school employees received — a figure that includes their base salary, longevity payments and other income such as overtime, travel allowances and the like.

Cutter recently retired, and a search committee is seeking a full-time replacement.

Another employee on the “Top 20” list is Deirdre Farrell, the former assistant superintendent of schools who earned $121,027. She is now with the Amesbury school system.

The top 20 list contains 10 police department employees, five school department administrators, four fire department employees, and the Department of Public Works director. The large number of police in the top 20 isn’t unusual — typically, police supplement their base pay with overtime and traffic detail pay, in some cases earning tens of thousands of dollars in additional pay.

The income from traffic details is paid by the company or utility that is doing the work. The city’s figures did not indicate precisely how much police earned from details, because the figure included other sources of income such as travel and clothing allowances.

Overtime is another factor that tends to bump police officers into the highest-paid list. Chaisson was the highest earner in this category, with $36,521 in overtime pay. Add that to his regular salary of $76,138 and his other compensation, and he was the fourth highest earner in the city, at $138,493. In total, police officers on the top 20 list earned $138,494 in overtime.

All of the top 20 highest-paid employees had income from sources that will not be factored into their pensions when they retire. These income sources include traffic details, clothing allowances, overtime and travel allowances.

Mayor Donna Holaday earns $85,000 per year, knocking her well out of contention as a top 20 highest-paid employee. Pursuant to the next city charter, the next mayor will earn $98,000 and serve a four-year term.