Police officers top earners in Johnstown

JOHNSTOWN – Thirteen of the top 15 wage earners in city government in 2013 were Johnstown police officers, headed by a sergeant whose pay totaled $85,012.

Police Chief Mark Gifford ranked 11th on the list of 15, which also includes a police officer currently suspended with pay while his rape case is being litigated in Fulton County Court. The earnings listed are gross earnings.

Police Sgt. Christopher Stevens led the top earners in the city for 2013, earning a total of $85,012. His regular base pay last year was $52,915. But with other benefits, overtime and retro-contractual pay added, Stevens earned more than $30,000 more. He had the highest overtime in the top 15 – $9,875. His holiday time was listed as $2,589 and another $1,8500 in longevity payments was added on top of his base pay.

Two other police sergeants were among the top two earners. Second in the city was Sgt. Jamie Allen, who earned $80,102. That figure took into consideration inclusion of $3,468 in overtime, $94.40 in compensatory time, $1,850 in longevity and $2,361 in holiday time.

The third top earner in the city was police Sgt. Bryce Royal, who earned $78,928 last year. That included $4,241 in overtime, $244.48 in compensatory time, $1,850 in longevity and $2,524 in holiday time.

New Mayor Michael Julius said, “I’ve always thought that if we start expanding our economy in Johnstown, we’re going to need more police officers and firefighters.”

Julius wouldn’t comment further because he hadn’t had a chance to analyze the list of top earners in the city.

The rest of the list of top 15 earners in the city follows: fourth, police Officer Jason Blowers, $78,249; fifth, police Sgt. Thomas Oare, $77,763; sixth, City Treasurer Michael Gifford $77,225; seventh, police Officer Kenneth Luft, $76,031; eighth, police Officer Andrew Walters, $75,883; ninth, police Officer Edward Hart III, $75,658; 10th, Fire Chief Bruce Heberer, $75,103; 11th, Police Chief Mark Gifford, $74,331; 12th, police Officer Michael Pedrick, $73,469; 13th, police Officer Adam Schwabrow, $73,224; 14th, police Officer Michael Millias, $73,197; and 15th, police Officer Andrew Berecka, $72,979.

Schwabrow, 32, is accused of the statutory rape of a 16-year-old girl. The case has been was transferred from Johnstown City Court to Fulton County Court. His case was supposed to be in County Court on Tuesday, but a clerk said it has been indefinitely postponed.

Schwabrow was charged Sept. 19 by his police department with felony third-degree rape, commonly known as statutory rape. He is accused of having sexual contact with the girl sometime over the past year and a half. He faces 1 1/3 to four years in state prison and is free on $5,000 cash bail. He is suspended with pay. Lawyers involved say the case may be headed to a plea arrangement.

While the city of Johnstown’s top 15 earners included mostly police officers, the city of Gloversville’s list was a mix between personnel from the city police and fire departments. The top wage earner in Gloversville was Fire Battalion Chief David Rackmyre, who earned $90,000 last year.

Gloversville Police Chief Donald VanDuesen’s $88,500 was the second highest-paid Gloversville government employee last year.

Gloversville Fire Chief Beth Whitman-Putnam’s $87,500 salary last year ranked her third in her city.

Top earners

Here are the top five wage earners in Johnstown city government in 2013:

Police Sgt. Christopher Stevens: $85,012 (includes $9,875 in overtime, $2,589 in compensatory time, $1,850 in longevity and $2,589 in holiday time).

Police Sgt. Jamie Allen: $80,102 (includes $3,468 in overtime, $94.40 in compensatory time, $1,850 in longevity, and $2,361 in holiday time).

Police Sgt. Bryce Royal: $78,928 (includes $4,241 in overtime, $244.48 in compensatory time, $1,850 in longevity and $2,524 in holiday time).

Police Officer Jason Blowers: $78,249 (includes $2,994 in overtime, $736.29 in compensatory time, $1,650 in longevity, and 2,348 in holiday time).

Police Sgt. Thomas Oare: $77,763 (includes $1,944 in overtime, $1,750 in longevity and $3,001 in holiday time).

Michael Anich can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.