Erie County Water Authority salaries are open to public

Twenty-Two were paid salaries over $100,000 during 2015

At a time when Erie County Water Authority customers are paying more for water, a quick check of salaries shows some big paychecks for  executives and management types.

According to SeeThroughNY, a project that tracks state and local government spending including salaries, the Erie County Water Authority spent $16.8 million in salaries to some  289 workers in 2015.

Twenty-two had salaries of $100,000 or more in 2015:

Executive Engineer Dust, Wesley C  $     158,687  $                165,412
Deputy Director Lichtenthal, Robert J, Jr  $     147,574  $                151,461
Director Of Administration Riester, Paul H  $     138,399  $                142,179
Executive Director Gaylord, Robert F  $     132,763  $                133,708
Secretary To The Authority – Personnel Director Burns, Joseph T  $     132,756  $                  87,845
Comptroller Prendergast, Karen A  $     131,527  $                134,854
Senior Distribution Engineer Rosenberry, Richard M  $     128,796  $                136,237
Deputy Administrative Director Ecwa Baudo, Matthew J  $     126,750  $                145,827
Senior Distribution Engineer Ehrin, James K  $     122,256  $                125,461
Director Of Drinking Water Quality (Ecwa) Whittam, Paul J  $     122,256  $                123,785
Attorney Licata, John B  $     121,218  $                  74,263
Chemist & Chief Water Treatment Plant Operator Mogavero, John J  $     121,050  $                126,581
Cash Manager Rinaldo, Susan L  $     114,876  $                115,093
Director Of Human Resources Nemoyer, Daniel J  $     112,114  $                123,904
Electrical Engineer Aiple, Scott A  $     111,790  $                119,476
Production Engineer Meyers, Jay F  $     110,011  $                113,944
Manager Of Data Processing Hanley, John T, Jr  $     107,906  $                  32,370
Director Of Employee Relations Mccracken, Terrence D  $     105,978  $                115,119
Business Office Manager D’Amico, Steven V  $     105,400  $                105,537
Distribution Engineer Kuryak, John J  $     104,345  $                109,749
Assistant Manager Of Accounting Services (Ecwa) Tomaka, Joyce A  $     102,251  $                114,475
Distribution Engineer Seider, Daniel J  $     101,512  $                105,125

MORE | See the complete Erie County Water Authority salary list here.

When overtime and other allowances are included in the payout, there were 27 who were paid more than $100,000 in 2015.

In some cases workers’ base salaries were much lower than $100,000 but the overtime and other payouts put them in the higher salary range.

“When that information is available it gives the taxpayers everything they need or at least a big chunk of the information they need to ask the right sorts of questions to know whether or not they think that their dollars are being spent in a good way,” said Tim Hoefer, executive director, Empire Center for Public Policy which sponsors the SeeThroughNY web site.

A series of water main breaks including one in Amherst that put some 200,000 resident on a boil water alert has put a spotlight on the authority’s finances.

The water authority delivers water to more than 540,000 residents in the county.

Authority officials say they have a plan to spend some $4 million to rebuild the authority’s antiquated water lines. Residential water customers are charged a separate fee to pay for the work.

The authority’s web site put it like this:  “Our system’s high rate of repair is due to the area’s declining infrastructure – in many sections our pipes are 100 years old. ECWA’s infrastructure charge to customers funds ongoing efforts to update these aging parts of its system.”

Asked to explain the main breaks, officials said usage is up. While normal usage is about 71 million gallons per day, the system is currently pumping 121 millions of gallons per day.

The Erie County Water Authority is an independent, public benefit corporation, not an agency of the state and not an agency of Erie County government.

As such its commissioners are appointed by the Erie County Legislature and its budget is approved only by its board. Commissioners were paid $22,500.

Authority officials could not be reached Monday to answer questions about its salaries and budget.

The authority’s primary revenue is what it collects from its water customers in Erie County outside the City of Buffalo.  According to the authority’s website, the agency pays for all operating expenses from the money it makes from residential, commercial and municipal customers.

News 4 wanted to find out more details about these $100 thousand dollar positions.

The agency referred us to an outside media agency.  The media representative referred News 4 back to the water authority. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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