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The Spotlight unveils local salaries on Web site

In an effort to allow readers to follow the money more easily during these times of economic woe, The Spotlight is unveiling its online database of all town employee salaries in its coverage area.

A new component has been added to www.spotlightnews.com that will allow users to enter a name, municipality, position, salary range or any combination of queries into the database that will show who's making what in your town.

The new salary database can be found at www.spotlightnews.com/salaries2009, or through a link on the Web site's main page, which will updated at regular intervals to reflect new hires, retirements and pay raises.

In the towns of Bethlehem, Guilderland and New Scotland, the supervisors tend to bring in the biggest checks.

The Town of Bethlehem's top three salary earners are Supervisor Jack Cunningham, with $106,890; Director of Management Information Services Jeffrey Dammeyer, with $103,890; and Bethlehem Chief of Police Louis Corsi, with $103,761.

"I have absolutely no problem with public disclosure at all when it comes to salaries," Cunningham said. "I do Q and A's in the schools all the time, and the first thing the kids always ask is 'How much do you make?'"

"They're always amazed when I just tell them," he said.

The three highest paid employees in the town of Guilderland are Supervisor Ken Runion, at $100,947, Todd Gifford, highway superintendent at $95,359, and Police Chief Carol Lawlor at $92,188.

"Take our salaries in Guilderland and compare them to other municipalities," said Runion. "We're lower across the board."

Runion also said Guilderland has the lowest tax rate in Albany County. He noted that union negotiations regularly included data about average salaries for municipal employees, and the average salary of their employees is lower than neighbors Colonie and Bethlehem.

"I think we're doing pretty good," he said.

In the Town of New Scotland, the highest paid employee is Highway Superintendent Darrell Duncan at $69,884. The town's Supervisor Tom Dolin comes in second at $56,158, and building inspector Paul Cantlin comes in third at $55,828.

The salary information has been collected from payroll information provided by the town clerks offices of each municipality. The Web site database created for your town salaries will continue to grow as your town grows.

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