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Friday, March 19, 2010

46 city employees made $100k in 2009

NASHUA – Nearly half the city’s top 40 salaries for 2009 went to school department employees, but once overtime and other stipends were factored in, two-thirds of the city’s top pay-earners were police officers and firefighters.

City employee wages are public records and subject to the state’s Right-to-Know Law. A searchable database of all city salaries accompanies this story at

In all, 15 city employees were scheduled to earn more than $100,000 in 2009, while 46 took home $100,000 or more in pay.

Based on statistics from the city’s payroll department, the city’s CEO, Mayor Donnalee Lozeau, earned a base salary of $103,494.74 at the end of the year. That was the 11th highest base salary. But her 2009 tax year earnings of $102,281.49 ranked 39th in the city.

The base salaries are what employees were scheduled to earn as of Dec. 31, 2009. The salary figures are not an employee’s actual earnings for the year, and because of raises, some employees may have had lower gross earnings than base salaries. Non-union city managers or supervisors receive raises on July 1.

The city’s highest paid employee for 2009 was Police Chief Donald Conley, whose base salary at the end of the year was $119,487, and his earnings for the year totaled $125,666.53. He was first in both categories.

Fire Chief Brian Morrissey had the second highest salary at $113,555.76. School Superintendent Mark Conrad had the third highest salary at $112,500.

Conrad was hired halfway through the year, and thus didn’t make the list of the 40 top wage-earners. Former School Superintendent Christopher Hottel earned $103,707.69 for 2009, the 32nd highest, even though he left the school district in July.

Hottel received nearly $35,000 in accrued vacation and sick days upon his departure from the school district. Hottel, who was earning a salary of $150,000, left for the same position in North Andover, Mass.

He was one of three now-retired city employees who landed in the top 40 wage earners.

Former Street Superintendent Scott Pollock earned $121,761.22 for the year, making him the second highest wage-earner in the city for 2009. Pollock retired midway through the year and cashed in unused sick and vacation time.

Retired Police Sgt. Scott Childs received $106,942.16, the 20th highest in the city.

While school principals and directors made their way into the list of top salaries, few cracked the top 40 in gross earnings. Conversely, fire lieutenants and captains and master police patrolmen earned enough overtime to rank among the top wage-earners, though their base salaries weren’t among the highest in the city.

Not including the mayor and employees from major city departments like school, police or fire, the top salaries were those of Corporation Counsel James McNamee, $103,983.25; Community Development Director Kathy Hersh, also $103,983.25; Michael Gilbar, the chief financial officer and comptroller, $100,976.46; Chief Assessor Angelo Marino, $100,320.94; Leon Kenison, director of the public works and engineering division, $98,057.24; Stephen Bennett, deputy corporation counsel, $94,605.16; City Engineer Stephen Dookran, $94,605.16; and John Barker, information technology division director, $94,605.16.

Only four non-school, police or fire employees cracked the top 40 in gross earnings: Pollock, McNamee, $103,902.39; Hersh, $102,456.85, and Lozeau.

Patrick Meighan can be reached at 594-6518 or