While the rest of the nation – and the world -- was rocked by uncertain markets, job loss and the Great Recession, Duxbury town employees flourished.

According to records obtained from the Town Accountant, nearly a third of the top 100 wage earners had a total annual salary of over $100,000 and nearly half took home $95,000 plus. Of the 100 town employees who made the list, 54 work in the school department. At the very top of the list, making over $38,000 more than the second place wage earner, is Duxbury Superintendent Benedict Tantillo. Tantillo, who earned $190,670.49 in total compensation in 2011 with a base salary of $180,000, saw his pay increase from $175,000 in 2010. Before taking the job in Duxbury, Tantillo retired as superintendent of New Jersey’s Pascack Valley Regional High School in 2010, where he made $220,000. Under a statewide proposal introduced that year by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Tantillo would have had his salary cut to $175,000 when his contract expired if he had stayed.

In July 2011, the Duxbury School Committee reviewed his performance and awarded him a 2.86 percent increase in pay, upping his base salary to $180,000. For the year 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor reported the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose three percent. The CPI measures fluctuations in the prices paid by consumers for goods and services.

Chairman of the School Committee Gary Magnuson said he believes Tantillo is worth it.

“I do,” said Magnuson. “I think it’s commensurate with his abilities and experience, and is comparable with other superintendents around the state.”

Anne Ward, Vice-Chair of the School Committee, agreed that Duxbury is fortunate to benefit from Tantillo’s years of experience during a challenging time.

“That number was in the range for what he’s doing and for his years of experience,” said Ward, noting Tantillo had come up through the ranks. “He obviously came in at a difficult time and he’s doing quite a bit more with the school building project.”

While 2009 had 21 employees earning over $100,000 and 2010 saw that number increase by only three to 24 in 2011, that figure jumped to 30 with several more just shy of the six figure mark.

The police department had the next highest compensation figures of town employees with 21 on the Top 100 list and 14 earning over six figures, which for many, was earned in substantial overtime shifts due to three vacant positions and private details paid for by the vendors. Five police department employees earn more than Chief Matthew Clancy, including Sergeant Dennis Symmonds who was second on the overall list at $152,120.80.

The fire department had 18 employees on the top 100 list, though only four earned over six figures. Chief Kevin Nord topped the department with $126,790. Some of those figures include overtime pay. Like the police department, some of those figures include overtime pay partly due to unfilled vacancies.