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DANVERS

Manager, police pull in top pay

Town records show 52 above $100k

By Travis Andersen
Globe Staff / September 16, 2010

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Town Manager Wayne P. Marquis, as the highest paid municipal worker in Danvers last year, earned nearly $20,000 more than the next person on the list and was paid far more than at least one mayor of a neighboring city with a larger population, an examination of payroll records found.

Marquis earned $173,932 last year, according to town records obtained by the Globe through a public information request.

Police Sergeant Paul Stone, the second-highest earner, made $154,881, including $29,936 for paid details and $25,172 in overtime.

Marquis earned nearly twice as much as the mayor of Peabody, a city of roughly 51,400 residents, compared with about 26,700 in Danvers, according to US Census data. Peabody Mayor Michael J. Bonfanti collected $95,234 last year, according to the city’s payroll records.

Marquis said it is more accurate to compare his salary with the pay of other town managers, rather than mayors, because managers have added responsibilities, such as acting as their town’s chief financial officer, and are nonpartisan appointees barred from the legislative process.

He said his salary is comparable with the pay of top administrators in the more than 50 communities statewide that operate under the managerial system.

“It’s more than some and less than others,’’ Marquis said.

In Needham, which with 29,414 residents is somewhat larger than Danvers, according to census figures, Town Manager Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s salary last year was $171,585, or slightly less than what Marquis received.

The 52 town employees in Danvers who made at least $100,000 last year included 25 police officers, 10 workers at the municipal electric utility, and seven school district employees.

Of the police who earned at least $100,000, 10 boosted their base salaries by at least $40,000 from working private paid details and overtime.

Police Officer Robert Santo collected $74,728 in overtime and detail pay, and Officer John Melto earned $75,023 in extra pay, according to payroll records.

Santo and Melto placed third and seventh, respectively, on the list of top earners, collecting totals of $154,699 and $140,823. Eight of the top 10 municipal earners were police officers.

Police Chief Neil F. Ouellette said the overtime payments come at a cost for his officers.

“They’re working anywhere from I’d say 60 to 70 hours a week, sometimes 80,’’ he said. “And it is a lot of time away from their families, but they do it . . . and they work hard at it.’’

He said Santo and Melto are two of his “most aggressive’’ patrol officers, and make important arrests.

“They’re driving around in the wee hours of the morning looking for criminals, and they do a hell of a job at it,’’ the chief said, adding that they have the best sick-time records on the force.

Ouellette also noted that Santo belongs to a regional law enforcement group that responds to emergencies in other cities and towns. He has to attend monthly training sessions and meet rigorous fitness standards set by the group, he said.

Hamid Jaffari, director of engineering and operations for the town’s Electric Department, was paid $112,164, the top salary in his department and the 28th highest overall, records show.

Coleen O’Brien-Pitts, Danvers Electric’s director, finished just below Jaffari at $111,592.

The municipal utility serves 12,924 households and businesses, according to its website.

O’Brien-Pitts said she could earn more in the private sector, but she prefers the community role played by Danvers Electric.

“I like the hometown, helping the old lady across the street,’’ she said.

The school district’s superintendent, Lisa Dana, was the fourth-highest paid employee, receiving $148,219, records show.

She heads a school district with about 3,600 students, according to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Fourteen workers classified as teachers made the list of the top 100 earners, earning between $80,000 and $104,000.

Dana said the employees were either classroom teachers or staff members on the teaching pay scale, such as guidance counselors.

She said all 14 of the district workers have at least 20 years of experience. Teachers and employees on their scale receive pay raises for seniority as well as raises for master’s degrees and other educational credits, and stipends for coaching sports teams, leading extracurricular activities, and serving as teacher leaders, which are similar to department heads, Dana said.

Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com.

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