Superintendent tops Shelton’s top salary list

SHELTON — School Superintendent Ken Saranich headed the list of the city’s top wage earners last year, according to data from the city and school finance departments.

Saranich, as the city’s top school administrator, earned $197,444, followed by school Chief of Staff Carole Pannozzo, with a $182,397 annual salary, and school Director of Curriculum Kristen Santilli, who earned $175,851. In all, seven of the top 10 salaries belong to school administrators.

Board of Education Chair Kathy Yolish said the superintendent’s salary is commensurate with his responsibilities — which are overseeing the daily operations of the school system as well as handling the largest portion of the city’s budget which stands at more than $73 million.

“We were fortunate to hire a seasoned educator who is also a Shelton resident and has the ‘heart and pulse’ of our city and its community members,” Yolish said.

“The job of the superintendent is no easy task and the salary that is negotiated is well earned and for all that the job entails I believe we in Shelton are truly getting our money’s worth,” Yolish added. “Although he may be in the top of wage earners in our city, he is actually one of the lowest wage earners of superintendents in Fairfield County.”

Yolish said at the time the board was conducting its most recent superintendent search, there were more than a dozen such positions available.

“I believe we were fair in setting the superintendent’s salary and we received a quality professional educator in return,” Yolish said.

In observing Saranich’s daily work, Yolish said one can find him “working one day a week in one of the schools, conducting weekly meetings with his leadership team, keeping a firm grip on the finances by meeting with the finance director and chief of staff, supervising administration, managing health and safety in daily and weekly data in these unprecedented times of the pandemic as well as working with Shelton Student Transportation Services.”

On the city side, police Sgt. John Youd placed fourth overall at $173,028.68, including $25,980 in overtime. Once again, the police department dominated the top salaries on the city side of the ledger, with three in the overall top 10.

Nine of the 10 police department members earned overtime, with the OT pay for these officers ranging from $6,000 to a high of $65,000.

Lt. Robert Kozlowsky said police overtime is broken into two categories — regular police overtime and private duty jobs, which are paid by the company in need of the service. Kozlowsky said private duty job opportunities are more prevalent as the development explodes downtown and Bridgeport Avenue.

Kozlowsky said the department’s overtime costs remain under budget for the present fiscal year. He added that the department has used regular overtime to help cover vacation time, injury and sick days, and the retirement of two officers and the recent death of Officer Richard Van Tine.

“Police administration also increased our presence in the downtown area this past summer,” Kozlowsky said, “which added to some overtime costs.”

The department presently sits at 52 officers, but Kozlowsky said the overtime pressures will be lessened in the coming days as two officer trainees were cleared for active duty on Feb. 20.

“That should help reduce overtime costs,” he added.

Shelton High Principal Kathy Riddle placed fifth overall at $172,850. Rounding out the top 10 were: police Lt. Michael McPadden, with $171,700, including $65,458 in overtime; Police Officer Selwyn Sebourne, with $167,663, including $37,705 in overtime; Shelton Intermediate Principal John Skerritt, with $165,406; Perry Hill Principal Lorraine William, with $165,406; and Booth Hill Principal Dina Marks, with $163,769.

Next were police Sgt. Mark Siglinger, with $160,370; and Sunnyside Principal Amy Yost, Assistant Principal Victoria White, Shelton High Assistant Principal James Colandra, Long Hill Principal Andrea D’Aiuto, Elizabeth Shelton Principal Jamie Weber and Perry Hill Assistant Principal Karen Crosby, all with annual salaries of $157,177.

Rounding out the top 20 were police department employees — Lt. Thomas Lindberg ($155,130), Lt. Brian Yerzak ($153,961), Detective Richard Bango ($153,815), Chief Shawn Sequeira ($151,985), Officer Manuel Dominguez ($151,343) and Detective Chris Nugent ($151,191).