Who’s Ridgefield’s highest-paid employee?

Education still pays better than police work.

The highest-paid employee working for the town — the police chief, not the first selectman — would have the 23rd highest salary in the school system, according to lists of the top salaries for the recently completed 2019 fiscal year.

The top 25 school salaries range from $247,963 paid to the superintendent to $133,592 for the system’s highest paid teacher. The top salaries paid to employees in town departments range from the police chief’s $146,500 to a police lieutenant making $101,830. The first selectman, at $135,041 a year, is the fourth highest-paid employee among non-school town workers.

But the town doesn’t appear to be suffering in terms of hiring.

“We have successfully filled positions across the board with qualified candidates,” said town personnel director Laurie Fernandez. “When we have openings, we have qualified applicants, so I think we are doing well, as the reputation of working for the town is a good one.”

Fernandez said that while she hasn’t done a study lately comparing what Ridgefield pays to salaries in other Connecticut towns, her sense was that Ridgefield’s pay is generally within the middle of the range of what is paid by other Connecticut towns.

“... We have not done a recent salary survey,” she said. “... Depending on the position we fall in the middle on most jobs on the ‘comparables’ in municipalities.”

The town doesn’t compare its pay to private sector salaries, she said.

“We do not compare to corporations, as they are not comparable based on benefits,” Fernandez said. “So, we look at other municipalities.”