Two Riverhead council members will give up $7K in pay

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Town Board members Jodi Giglio (left) and George Gabrielsen in Town Hall.

Riverhead Councilwoman Jodi Giglio will give up a $4,750 deferred compensation package she was set to receive from the town in 2011. And Councilman George Gabrielsen is preparing to give back 5 percent of his salary to the town.

“Due to the financial constraints of the Town of Riverhead, I wish to forgo my deferred compensation for the year 2011,” Ms. Giglio wrote in a letter to town finance administrator Bill Rothaar, which she gave to reporters in Town Hall Thursday. “I will not be reducing my salary by the proposed five percent requested during the budget process. The 10 percent ($4,750) reduction of my compensation should be reflected by the elimination of the deferred compensation of the year 2011.”

The deferred compensation was first added for department heads in 1989 and was given to elected officials as well sometime in the late 1990s, although town officials say they aren’t sure exactly when that happened.
Mr. Gabrielsen had previously told the News-Review that he will take a 5 percent cut in his 2011 salary, which equates to about $2,380.

The other three board members have not indicated they will take cuts in their salary for 2011 or give up the deferred compensation, although Councilmen Jim Wooten and John Dunleavy often note they do not take health insurance from the town because they get it in their state pension. Mr. Dunleavy had said this saves the town about $18,000.

Town council members are each slated to earn $47,597 for 2011, the same as this year, but they also receive a $4,750 deferred compensation package that they can either use to pay life insurance, or simply take it as cash when they leave office.

The supervisor has a 2011 salary of $115,147, also unchanged from 2010, and a deferred compensation package of $6,900. Supervisor Sean Walter said he does pay 25 percent of his health insurance costs and he pays for his own cell phone for town use, which he said costs him over $100 per month.

Bill Walsh, the president of Suffolk Local 852 of the Civil Service Employees Association, which represents town employees, had recently called on all five Riverhead Town Board members to cut their salaries — and in the case of the four council members, give it up entirely — as a way to save money and bring back some of the six full-time positions being cut from the 2011 budget. Mr. Walsh made his comments at a recent Town Board meeting.

Mr. Walter had said the six layoffs were necessary because union leaders rejected his request for their members to voluntarily take 5 percent pay cuts.

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