NIAGARA FALLS, NY - As the Fire Chief and Superintendent of Police respectively, Thomas Colangelo and Bryan DalPorto each earn an annual base salary of $107,000.
Records obtained by the Empire Center indicate DalPorto has averaged roughly $15,000 in overtime, per year, over the last three years.
Colangelo has averaged about $5,000 per year in overtime during the same time period.
Legislation submitted to the Niagara Falls City Council for its consideration last Monday night from Mayor Paul Dyster proposed to cap overtime for DalPorto and Colangelo at no more than 10 hours per week.
“The potential of the costs spiraling out of control, should we not have some sort of agreement like this in place, is real and something that has to be considered," said Niagara Falls City Administrator Nick Melson. Melson would also have to approve any overtime requests in advance by either DalPorto or Colangelo under the plan.
However, at a proposed overtime rate of $55.99 per hour, it means each of the men could potentially earn a whopping $29,000 a year in overtime…potentially taking their total maximum pay up to $136,000 annually, which is far and above what either has ever put in for.
In a city facing a potential financial crisis, with casino payments halted amid a dispute between New York State and the Seneca Nation of Indians, city council members were not prepared to approve the proposal and it was pulled for lack of support by Dyster.
Melson indicated, however, that the administration will work with the council to convince them that despite the city’s potential fiscal state, the proposal would be in the best interest of taxpayers.
“There’s not a current financial incentive to want to be the police or fire chief in this city,” insisted Melson, noting that literally dozens of DalPorto and Colangelo’s subordinates make thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, more than they do, due to overtime.
"So this is an effort to have fairness and to make an incentive to wanting to be the police or fire chief,” Melson said.
But two sources tell WGRZ-TV that some members of the city council feel that the city should calculate what the DalPorto and Colangelo have historically earned with salary and overtime on average, and just make that their pay.
“That’s certainly an option and that's something we are discussing right now with the city council,” said Melson. “This is a function of making sure we have equality and that it gives us the ability to budget long term and keep things in line with what we’ve done with the other employees.”
Melson was also quick to note that even if DalPorto and Colangelo had the potential to make $29,000 extra in overtime every year, it does not mean they would try and put in for that amount. And indeed, neither has… even under their current situation which has no cap on the amount of overtime they could seek.
Raising their pay, however, would guarantee that the city would pay them more according to Melson.
“There’s conversations taking place now with members of the city council, and I think you will see something -maybe different - coming in over the next two weeks.