Newsday’s December 2, 2015 edition featured a two-page spread focusing on the payroll costs of village police departments. In typical Newsday anti-village approach, the article also included Long Island villages’ top civilian earners. Once again, the paper did not let the facts get in the way of a controversial headline. Only this time, Newsday’s research resulted in an unexpected recognition of village government efficiency.
The reporter noted that 87 of Long Island’s 97 villages responded to Newsday’s request for information. While stating, “295 of the top 300 salaries (in 2014) went to retired and active police department employees,” the article also said, “Islandwide, village elected officials – including mayors, trustees, planning boards and boards of appeals, were paid a total of $2.3 million. Villages paid mayors and deputy mayors a total of $953,599.”
Let’s do the math: If you remove the salaries of the two full-time mayors with the highest populations – Hempstead and Freeport – the $953,599 drops to $693,985. Divided by the 87 villages reporting and you have an average annual salary for mayors and deputy mayors of $7,976. We think you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who would consider this exorbitant, given the number of hours mayors, deputy mayors and trustees work for their residents and that most receive little or no compensation.
Newsday’s research documented what the NCVOA has been saying for years: Villages are our most effective and efficient form of local government!