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Six-Figure Sayonara

Schoelle slated for $300,000-plus in benefits

With nearly three and a half decades worth of service to the Village of Garden City under his belt, former village administrator Robert L. Schoelle is set to receive total retirement play of $264,138. The Garden City Board of Trustees approved $305,910 for the payment of termination benefits to Schoelle, as well as cash in provisions for other executive staff during a village board meeting held on Thursday, April 17.The payment was approved in a 5-0 decision, with three board members absent, and was derived from a Termination Reserve Account.

During the meeting, two residents inquired about the payout, yet did not express opposition to the village’s rationale.

Trustee Richard Silver responded to those residents, explaining that the $264k includes unused vacation time and sick days prior to a change in the village’s executive benefit program which occurred on Jan. 1, 2013. Silver further explained, “from that point forward, members of the village staff can no longer accrue termination payments, but their accrued benefits to that date were protected; this is their payout.”

Schoelle’s final salary was $241,322 as village administrator, and as reported by Newsday, he officially retired on April 20, 2008 and received $139,220 last year from the New York State Employees Retirement System, in addition to his village salary.  

The 70-year-old resident is now serving as a consultant on an hourly basis not to exceed a cap of $5,000 to assist new village administrator Ralph Suozzi in his transition, who was hired last month.

Suozzi is the former mayor of the City of Glen Cove, who lost his re-election this year to Republican Reginald Spinello by a mere 74 votes.

“I thank the department heads and staff for their generous amount of time devoted to educating me on what I need to know for this position,” Suozzi said, who receives an annual salary of $190,000 as village administrator, superseding his former mayor’s salary of $100,000.

Schoelle held his position as village administrator for 34 years, and has been publicly praised by Village of Garden City Mayor John Watras as “very well respected in the community—he did a wonderful job.”

Schoelle declined to comment further on the payout, however in an interview with Newsday, he described his tenure with the village as “a wonderful opportunity—it has been a great community and I have enjoyed every minute of my service with the village.”