By JOSEPH SPECTOR
Gannett Albany Bureau
ALBANY -- The average salary for county government employees in New York was $44,817 in the 2009-10 fiscal year, led by the $69,607 average in Westchester County, a report from the Empire Center for New York State Policy found Thursday.
To click on the list of salaries for Western New York counties, towns, and villages, click here for a spreadsheet.
The highest paid city employees outside New York City were also in Westchester, one of the nation's most expensive places to live. The city of Yonkers, with 993 employees, led the state with an average pay of $71,659.
The report from the fiscally conservative group also found disparities in pay between upstate and downstate governments.
The data did not include New York City.
The average pay for the 4,790 Monroe County employees was $47,085, up slightly from an average of $46,088 last year, the Empire Center found. But the county had 49 fewer employees, down from 4,839 in the 2008-09 fiscal year. In Erie County, which had 5,558 employees, the average salary was $44,116.
In Dutchess County government, the average pay was $55,545 for its 2,149 employees in the 2009-10 fiscal year, which ended March 31. In Chemung County government, the average pay was $39,125 for the county's 966 employees.
Tompkins County ranked first in pay for Southern Tier counties, at an average of $46,252, followed by Broome County at $39,596. The salaries include any overtime, the Empire Center said.
The report is "an attempt to let people know where their money is going and ask questions about it," said Lise Bang-Jensen, a senior policy analyst for the Empire Center, which posts public employees salaries online at www.seethroughny.net.
The group listed Clarkstown Police Chief Peter Noonan in Rockland County as the highest paid municipal employee with a salary of $301,534. Second was Michael Bolender, a town and village attorney for seven municipalities in Chautauqua County, who earned $294,979. Ramapo Police Chief Peter Brower in Rockland County ranked third at $293,218.
They could not immediately be reached for comment.
The report showed that the top average salaries were for police and fire officials, with an average salary of $78,562 in city departments.
Statewide, excluding New York City, county employees averaged slightly higher pay that other local governments. County employees earned an average of $44,817; city employees averaged $43,819; town employees averaged $35,632; and village employees averaged $34,615.
The average salary in the city of Rochester, which had 1,673 employees, was $48,771. In Poughkeepsie, with 210 employees, the average was $49,043.
Binghamton, with 346 employees, had an average salary of $35,888.
In the city of Ithaca, with 298 employees, the average was $38,161.
Buffalo had an average pay of $42,448 for its 1,303 employees. The city of Rye, Westchester County, with 108 employees, ranked second to Yonkers in the state among cities, with an average salary of $64,233.