Raise okayed for Riverhead Town highway superintendent

After several weeks of debate, Riverhead Town Board members voted unanimously April 3 to increase the salary of Highway Superintendent George Woodson to compensate him for assuming oversight of the town’s municipal garage for the remainder of 2018.

The municipal garage came under scrutiny for lack of oversight after an internal audit in 2016.

Mr. Woodson will make an additional $20,000 per year, but that amount will be pro-rated because he will not take on his additional duties until May. The local law doesn’t take effect for 45 days after its adoption, and is subject to a permissive referendum, whereby residents opposed to it could force a referendum with a certain number of signatures on a petition in opposition.

Mr. Woodson’s annual salary as highway superintendent, an elected position, is $94,803.

In previous discussions, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio opposed the idea, expressing concern that the additional salary would carry over to future highway superintendents.

But she said Mr. Woodson’s answers to questions at a recent work session swung her vote, saying he was the “perfect person” for the job.

“I don’t think there’s anyone who can do it better, for that type of money, for figuring out and analyzing what’s going on in the municipal garage,” she said.

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