The state’s highest-paid public school employee outside New York City last fiscal year was longtime Riverhead School District administrator Joe Ogeka — a recently retired assistant superintendent who was kept on the payroll for consultant work, according to a new report.
The report shows Mr. Ogeka, who served as assistant superintendent for personnel and community services before retiring June 2013, was paid $376,340 during the 2013-14 school year.
Empire Center for Public Policy, an independent nonprofit organization based in Albany, issued a press release Thursday outlining the latest school salary data compiled by SeeThroughNY.net, which is a government transparency project sponsored by the Empire Center for Public Policy.
His salary for 2012-13, also listed on SeeThroughNY.net, was $176,502.
A month after his retirement, the News-Review obtained — through a Freedom of Information Law request — a contract between Mr. Ogeka and the district that indicated he’d be getting a full salary for an additional year as he assisted with “transition and restructuring.”
The agreement also stated Mr. Ogeka was entitled to his accrued sick and vacation time in addition to his full salary for the 2013-14 school year.
At the time, Riverhead Superintendent Nancy Carney explained that keeping Mr. Ogeka on the payroll came as a “clause in his original contract,” which was approved June 26, 2012, and was set to expire June 30, 2015. She called the clause a retirement incentive.
On Thursday, Ms. Carney issue the following statement in reaction to the report:
“Mr. Ogeka was an employee of the district for 30 years who retired in June . As with all retirees, he is entitled to certain benefits per his contract, including payment for some accumulated but unused sick and vacation days. These one-time earnings are reported as salary under the retirement system rules.
“As we do with all of our retirees, the district wishes Mr. Ogeka well in retirement.”
Mr. Ogeka didn’t immediately respond to an email request for comment that was sent to his school address.