Snyder's Sandwich: 32 Town Of Sandwich Employees Earned More Than $100K In 2012
By: Mark Snyder, February 3, 2014
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics just released its data on employment and wages in the state of Massachusetts. The data was derived from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, which also obtains data from unemployment insurance summaries. The average weekly pay in Barnstable County was $768, or a gross of $39,936 per year.
In comparison, nearly 200 employees of the Town of Sandwich earned $70,000 or more. The breakdown reads: 32 earned more than $100,000; 17 earned between $90,000 and $99,999; 25 earned between $80,000 and $89,999; and 126 earned between $70,000 and $79,999. Still, the majority of town employees earned from $30,000 to $50,000.
Sandwich is really not that unusual. Other nearby Cape towns also had a number of employees topping $100 grand, including 24 in Bourne, 56 in Barnstable (one made over $200K there), 32 in Falmouth, 23 in Mashpee, and 45 in Yarmouth.
Unlike the private sector, public salaries (paid by the taxpayers) are public information. They are available to all residents in annual reports, if requested. So, it’s not like Snyder’s Sandwich is dishing out any secrets here. In a transparent government, this is the way things should be.
I don’t publish this so you’ll get jealous—but you might. I think that all of us who pay taxes should know where the money is going. This columnist paid close to $7,000 in taxes this year to the Town of Sandwich.
Although I have owned a property in town for a decade, my family relocated here in September 2013. So, I will be doing the same thing here as I did in my previous hometown. I’ll take some of the secrets kept in shadows and shine a spotlight on them, and get them into the glaring light.
But, back to the subject matter—leading the parade of the Lucky 32 (in alphabetical order) were Sandwich School Department director of finance and business operations Michelle Austin ($108,006), Sandwich High principal Ellen Booras ($116,883), police Sergeant Joshua Bound ($151,233), school director of pupil services Matthew Bridges ($120,942), police Detective Robert Brun ($102,744), Sandwich fire prevention officer John J. Burke ($102,538), firefighter Donald Campbell ($132,810), superintendent of schools Richard Canfield ($169,149), police Patrolman Timothy Cavanaugh ($125,271), director of assessing Edward Childs ($102,332), police Sergeant Joseph Cotter ($170,307), town manager George Dunham ($141,832), firefighter/paramedic Michael Goodwin ($105,108), police Lieutenant David Guillemette ($106,337), fire Captain James Huska ($123,778), Forestdale School principal Ruth Joseph ($104,792), firefighter/paramedic Daniel Keane ($111,022), police Sergeant Jason Keene ($112,292), assistant town manager Douglas Lapp ($102,020), [former] Wing School principal Sheila Lima ($108,997), police Sergeant Christopher McDermott ($122,392), fire Captain Timothy McMahon ($130,907), school homeless liaison/administrator Richard Metropolis ($100,597), police Detective Sergeant Terence Murphy ($142,895), police Lieutenant Michael Nurse ($143,884), police Patrolman Matthew O’Brien ($108,338), [former] police Sergeant Daniel O’Connell ($131,265), police Patrolman Shawn O’Neil ($113,181), firefighter/EMT Tammy Pimental-Matthews ($100,712), [former] fire Chief George Russell Jr. ($122,115), public works superintendent Paul Tilton ($106,324), police Chief Peter Wack ($126,600).
The 17 who took in between $90,000 and $99,999 in 2012 included (in alphabetical order): firefighter/EMT David Ames ($97,047), fire Captain Scott Ames ($96,839), firefighter/EMT Martin Baumhoff ($90,530), fire Captain Robert Black III ($97,317), [former] police Sergeant Michael Bondarek ($95,875), firefighter/EMT Daniel Brun ($97,243), police school resource officer Christa Cabral ($91,382), Deputy Fire Chief Thomas Corriveau ($95,475), firefighter/EMT Michael Harrington ($91,352), firefighter/EMT Jonathan Houde ($99,461), [former] Wing School assistant principal Joanna Hughes ($97,093), Oak Ridge School assistant principal Debra Anne Landry ($97,593), firefighter/EMT John LeVangie ($99,758), police Officer Daniel Perkins ($99,641), Forestdale School assistant principal Marilyn Smith ($90,969), firefighter/EMT Matthew Thompson ($92,313), data processing director Michael Twomey ($97,987), and police Patrolman Michael Wood ($94,495).
It should be duly noted that these figures (which were provided by town treasurer William Jennings under a Freedom of Information Act request) include overtime (lots of hours for police and fire, in particular), and details. So, many of these public service employees worked 80-hour weeks to make what they did. And, unlike all of us, our public safety employees—police and fire—risk their lives on a daily basis for us. It’s hard to put a price on bravery and courage.
And, let me be clear—I respect all of our town employees and think they should earn a fair wage. But, I remember back to the time of my childhood when working in the public sector was really looked at as one of the last options. Not any more. The private sector has been bleeding jobs and companies keep closing. With the public sector, hard work is often rewarded, and loyalty in the job pays off with a long career and a solid pension. There’s nothing wrong with that (unless the cost of future pensions erodes budgets so much that newer employees aren’t hired or others are laid off).
Are the salaries as high as they may appear at first glance? Absolutely NOT! The average employee for the City of Miami made $108,000 in 2008. The City of Miami town clerk made $275,000, plus benefits, for a nine-month contract in 2010. The interim police chief in Schaumburg, Illinois, worked on a $68,900 per month contract! One thing is certain: if you want to have quality professionals working for you, you have to pay them a fair wage. It costs money to train employees. It costs money to advertise for employees. So, it makes sense to try to keep them. And, to make people happy, and to boost their self-worth, a paycheck comes in mighty handy. If you don’t pay them what they are worth, a neighboring town will.
Town manager George (Bud) Dunham tells Snyder’s Sandwich, “A lot of the highest earners include overtime, mostly for public safety employees. A few select department heads make among the top amount of money on the town side. The big thing with public safety is that overtime comes up because people are on vacation, sick or hurt. With the police department having to hire through Civil Service, it takes a long time to replace retiring officers. You have to cover shifts in the meantime. They also need to train in an academy, whether police or fire. Police are not out on the road for a full year after they are hired, and fire training is about six months. Even after hiring, they can’t immediately help for shift strength. Pay scale for larger department heads reflects their education, and the private sector actually makes more for the same work. Paul Tilton in DPW oversees a $5 million budget and 20 employees. He has engineering degrees, as well. Every one of our department heads has degrees in their field, some master’s degrees. Many would make more in the private sector. Municipal IT departments have had to increase their salaries to get qualified people away from the private sector. Our HR department regularly reports on salaries in other towns. Sandwich is no different than any other town in the area.”
Next week, we’ll tackle how Town Meeting voted—and how they had virtually no specific financial or planning information available when they made decisions that cost this town’s taxpayers $1.6 million. The complete financial picture should rule the day—not emotions. But, I’ll save that discussion for next week.
Rumblings Around Town
THEY WANT YOUR BLOOD! The Sandwich Chamber of Commerce and Cape Medical Supply are sponsoring a blood drive on Tuesday, February 11.
It will take place from noon to 6 PM at Stoneman Medical Center, 2 Jan Sebastian Drive in Sandwich. To reserve your time to donate the gift of life, call 1-508-86BLOOD or go to www.capecodhealthcare.org/give-blood. Every pint donated stays with us here on Cape Cod to serve our community, and possibly save the lives of your friends, family and neighbors!
NEED AN ID TO VOTE? You need an ID to rent a car, board a plane, buy liquor, to cash a check, or to rent a DVD. But, you don’t need one to vote. So, anyone can be you! Voter fraud has occurred all over the country. (In fact, in some areas, there were more voters than living people in the last presidential election.) And, if everyone must show an ID to vote, then how can that deter law-abiding citizens from voting? It can’t. Yet, when Senate Bill S.1975 tried to make it a requirement to show legal ID before voting in Massachusetts, it was defeated 30-8 in the Massachusetts Senate. State Senator Dan Wolf voted against it. Senator Therese Murray, as senate president, was not required to vote. Keep that in mind the next time you (or your clone) votes.
PIZZA AND MOVIE NIGHTS! Children through grade 8 are invited to pizza and a movie night at the Sandwich Recreation Department at 34 Quaker Meetinghouse Road, from 6 to 9 PM on February 7, March 7, April 4, and May 2. Pizza, drinks, and popcorn will be served during the fun evening that also includes activities and games. Cost is $10 per person and preregistration is required. Go to www.sandwichrec.com or to the Sandwich Recreation Office to register.
BUSINESS NETWORKING: BNI (Business Network International) Business Builder chapter meets on Wednesdays, from 7:30 to 9 AM at the Sandwich Hollows Golf Club, 1 Round Hill Road in East Sandwich. Bring business cards and referrals for other members.
NOW THIS IS A TOUR I CAN GET INTO! Cape Cod Beer has tours of its microbrewery January 31 through February 8, starting at 11 AM. It takes about 45 minutes, and you must be 21 to enjoy a free sample or two. Children must be supervised. It’s free. Cape Cod Beer is only minutes from Sandwich at 1336 Phinney’s Lane in Hyannis. For more information, go to www.capecodbeer.com.
Mark Snyder, who has written more than 1,870 articles in newspapers and magazines, and published three books, is the CEO of PMPNetwork.com, the Internet’s entertainment superstation. Have a story idea? He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com, on Facebook (Snyder’s Stoughton), and on Twitter (MediaMan2009). Write him via snail mail at Box 639, East Sandwich, MA 02537.