Thursday, September 14, 2017

High Taxes In NY?

For my last four years as a cop I was a division commander. I made some overtime, especially when my staff was cut in half and my work load doubled. At the time I had young kids at home and didn't like being away from my family so much but the OT and a buy out did give me the opportunity to retire earlier than I planned. I was never one of the cops that made a stellar amount of OT, not even close, but it sure came in handy.

In the mid 1980's I had convinced my wife to quit her job and stay home with our daughters. She worked for NY Telephone and was making better money than I, so our income took a savage hit. We prayed that nothing would break because we couldn't replace it. But God was faithful and we always had what we needed. We just had to adjust our expectations of what we wanted. You do what you can with what you have. I can remember taking money out of our savings account to buy groceries just two days after I got paid. Again, that OT came in handy but it was only for a few years before I retired.

After 24 years I retired from the PD (worked for two other law enforcement agencies and a construction contractor in the 18 year interim) and this news article shocked me. HTH can a cop make almost $450,000 a year?
For the second year in a row, the center found, 47 of the top 50 highest-paid local-government workers outside New York City were police officers — with five of the top seven on the Town of Ramapo payroll. The No. 1 earner, Ramapo Police Officer Thomas Donnelly, pulled in $441,968 in the year ending last March. Four other Rockland County cops joined him in the top 10. The 20 officers in the Nassau County Village of Kings Point (pop. 5,005 in the last Census) had the highest average pay of any group of government workers at $220,088.
Now some of this OT is covered by federal programs that allow police departments to conduct certain security operations. These ops include airports, water supplies, other critical infrastructure protection, etc. After 9/11 the feds provided hundreds of millions of dollars to PD's all over the country for this purpose.

Even supposing that a Ramapo cop makes $100,000 in annual salary - that would require the above cop to make $342,000 in OT. The Ramapo PD doesn't list cop salaries, but let's assume that a cop at top salary makes $100G a year, this is a little over $48/hr. At this rate any overtime at time and a half is $72.12/hr. In order for that cop to make $342,000 in OT he would have to work 4,742 hours of OT.  That's over 90 hours of OT every week. This guy never slept.

One other explanation (and a more reasonable one) is that the cop never took a sick day and the PBA contract stipulated that the department must buy back his unused sick leave once he retires. If he retired after twenty years that would average out to less than 2 hours a week in unused sick leave. Keep in mind that his salary would increase over twenty years and that he was probably making around $35-45,000 for a while. My starting annual salary was $10,500 in 1974.

This is not the first time the Ramapo PD has fallen under a critical eye for police expenses.
We don’t begrudge first responders being paid what they’re worth, but these cops and firefighters, some in tiny hamlets, earn far more than their New York City counterparts.
“Personnel costs are the biggest part of most local government budgets, and thereby the biggest driver behind our high property taxes,” notes the Empire Center’s Tim Hoefer. Westchester and Rockland have the highest property-tax rates of all US counties.
Unless New York gets a handle on inflated salaries at all levels of government, property taxes will only keep climbing higher.
All police are not in the same situation. Many municipalities do not want to incur the cost of hiring new cops because of out of control pension (could be as high as 40 to 50%) and healthcare (about $16,000 a year for family coverage) costs so they allow high overtime allowances on the police budget to save money. But these costs still need to be controlled as stories like this make all cops look greedy.

Of course the news article doesn't look at how NY State pisses away money in other areas. Let's look at costs for the sick, lame, lazy and illegal aliens. In 2016 NY spent almost $63 billion for Medicaid. New York picks up 45% of this cost, over $28 billion, which dwarfs any police overtime.

Original story here.

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