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Monday, February 11, 2008

School budget chief is Milford’s top earner

By Brian McCready
and James Tinley
Register Staff
— For the first and likely last time, Deputy Superintendent of School Operations Philip G. Russell tops the charts when it comes to annual salaries for Board of Education and city employees.
“I’m the only one at the top that worked the whole year,” Russell said Friday. “I never thought I’d be at the top and this is probably the only year I’ll be there.”
Russell, who oversees district’s budget, personnel office, transportation, and building and grounds earned a salary of $138,264 in 2007. Typically, the school’s superintendent earns the largest salary, but former acting Superintendent of Schools Larry Schaefer retired in August.
New Superintendent of Schools Harvey B. Polansky did not crack the Top 10 because he did not start until July 1. Polansky is earning $165,000 annually, in addition to a $15,000 annuity. Polansky, who gets an another $2,300 for having a doctorate, is likely to top the charts in 2008 at a total salary of $182,300, Russell said.
“We’re probably where we should be because — unfortunately — we are competing with people in our area and as we go west (school officials) make more,” Russell said.
The superintendents of schools in the Westport, Bridgeport and Trumbull school systems make $262,294, $214,982 and $180,250, respectively, Russell said.
Russell was paid a base salary of $120,918 last year, but received a $10,000 increase because he and Schaefer took on extra duties after the school board bought out the contract of former Superintendent Gregory A. Firn. Schaefer received another $15,000 for his added responsibilities. Russell usually ranks third behind the superintendent and assistant superintendent.
The rest of the Top 10 wage earners for the school system included principals.
On the city side, Health Director A. Dennis McBride topped the list with a salary of $121,129, and he was followed by Finance Director Judy Doneiko, who earned $110,278.
Aldermanic Chairman Ben Blake, D-5, joked about where he placed on the list. Blake, like all members of elected or appointed boards and commissions, does not earn a dollar for their service.
“This year I should be able to double my salary. We’re in the majority. I’ve earned a 100 percent increase,” Blake quipped.
Blake said publicizing the Top 10 lists in the schools and city allows taxpayers to see how some of their dollars are spent. He said a lot of funds are spent on leadership positions, but that’s because they are the “folks that steer the ship.”
The Top 10 Board of Education wage earners were: Russell, $138,264; Joseph A. Foran High Principal R. Michael Cummings, $125,147; Schaefer, $124,892; Jonathan Law High Principal Janet Garagliano, $123,555; Jonathan Law Assistant Principal Richard Kramer, $119,859; West Shore Middle School Principal John Barile, $119,552; Mathewson School Principal Clifford Dudley: $119,020; retired teacher and consultant Edward Connolly: $118,474; East Shore Middle School Principal Catherine William, 116,960; and Orange Avenue Principal Steven Madancy, $116,935.
The Top 10 city wage earners were: McBride, $121,129; Doneiko, $110,278; City Attorney Marilyn Lipton, $109,293; Police Chief Keith Mello, $108,856; police Sgt. John Alexopoulos, $107,980; Fire Chief Louis LaVecchia, $107,151; police Lt. Joseph Pietrafesa, $105,000; Patrol Officer Dennis Broderick, $104,559; Fire Superintendent of Apparatus Lawrence Lester, $102,707; and Building Inspector Thomas P. Raucci Jr., $102,257.


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