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Confusion over Schenectady police pensions

State: Some OT should not boost pensions

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When city police officers watch over St. Anthony’s Festa or close streets for a road race, they’re technically not on the clock. They’re getting paid by the city, but the city is being reimbursed by the private entity that requested officers for security. Thus, that money should not count toward their income for pension purposes, the state says. The ruling came as news to Schenectady payroll workers, who have always reported that income as part ...


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comments

safny
July 29, 2014
6:13 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

So let me make sure this is clear - a private entity - including churches which pay no taxes -request police and the officers get OT on the taxpayers' nickel?? And then supposedly this is reimbursed? But it's being counted towards pensions? What a cluster bleep. And Wayne - amiss? Really? The only thing amiss is that you still have a job considering that you do nothing but hold press conferences.

tonijean613
July 29, 2014
6:38 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

The overtime and pension abuse has to stop- Schdy poverty is overwhelming- middle income and elderly residents are under serious economic stress. The City cannot improve while paying for the outrageous salaries and benefits/pensions of Police and other over paid officials. Public employees should not be getting rich off the backs of poor and low income people they are paid to serve ( especially since they are not required to live in the City that pays them. If there was a residency requirement and the police had to live here, you would see how quickly the quality of life would improve because then they would have to pay the same property taxes and would have a real incentive to reduce crime and improve quality of life for their own children .

wmarincic
July 29, 2014
7:44 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

If a police officer is at one of these events and he or she is acting in an official capacity it does not matter if a church is paying the salary and benefits or the city. The officer is still there risking his or her life to protect the citizens. Period.

ajames
July 29, 2014
9:14 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

The City charges for "fringe" to cover pension costs they have to pay the state retirement system and other benefits. So does that mean the City will have to return all of those funds to the private entities too? And likewise, will the retirement system return all of the funds paid to it by the City? If a police officer is mandated by contract to work one of these "details" then they obviously are working for the City under contract and not for a private entity.

Kathleen Moore never asks the real questions because she is unable to truly grasp the subject matter and makes up her own "facts" along the way. (i.e.- "Only the last three years of income are used to make the final pension calculation.") Seriously, get a clue.

I could list 20 other points to show why the State is wrong about this issue. If it was a "private detail" then why does the City charge the overtime rate plus fringe? They do it because it's not a private detail, it's an assignment hired and paid for under contract. If this is the retirement system's position, please let me know when the retirement system sends a reimbursement check back to the City for these "details" and the City sends a reimbursement check for the "fringe" back to the private entities.

joycemadre
July 29, 2014
9:15 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

I am sorry if its so bad being a police officer - then don't !! they choose these jobs and the terms for their employment like the rest of us. Please remember this economy and private sectors aren't getting raises and don't have retirement and benefit packages to their level. Businesses are closing and a realistic look the city isn't doing financially well, but the taxpayer whether they work for the city or not are burdened. Please get on the side page officers and others if you don't like the way things are leave or do something to create change.

reader1
July 29, 2014
10:59 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

I think the biggest issue is that a private entity, able to afford to pay for cops as private security, is incurring a cost that a third party (taxpayer) must shoulder (pension liability).

This could get messy.

reader1
July 29, 2014
11:15 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Another thing that muddies this up a bit is whether the City as a whole benefits from facilitating these events - is it better that there is a Stockadeathon, Summer Block Party, St. Anthony's Festa,...?

joycemadre
July 29, 2014
1:47 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

the responses are complaining! and you support the officers the tax payers cant pay anymore. So you have answers and dislike the paper etc. come up with the solution. People have voiced and asked for improvements nothing is changing. Some problems are very obvious but no one wants it to change.

ChuckD
July 29, 2014
10:53 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

"Instead lets concentrate on those poor people who just need to sell their food stamps for 50 cents on the dollar in order to support their other habits."

Stereotype much?

reader1
July 30, 2014
8:06 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Getting way off topic, but what are the annual costs to the City re: the pension costs and social services. I suspect much of the latter costs are for children and the elderly. You cannot make those arguments without knowing the numbers.

reader1
July 30, 2014
8:17 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

It would be interesting to see the amounts for officers who have retired to date and ascertain how much of their pension was actually derived from these details.

And, keep in mind, the details would have to have been worked during the three years used for pension calculation to be relevant to this discussion.

reader1
July 30, 2014
6:06 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Familiar with the area so I certainly do not need an invitation from you to know what goes on.

Again, the true numbers are what is needed to understand the scope of the problem.

ChuckD
July 31, 2014
9:53 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

So you must be a cop.
I don't question your pay or your benefits, nor the risks you take. Thank you for your work.
But I sure do question your sense of entitlement. There's no honor in that.

reader1
August 1, 2014
10:10 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

daily - got to the second sentence and realized you had no idea what you were talking about. police administration had nothing to do with the city taking over the details. Those decisions are made by Mayor, Council, and Finance Department. And, if that were some Chief's motivation - what changed - the officers were still allowed to work details and make money? And, while it is a rare occurrence - there is nothing preventing a Chief/Asst. Chief from working one of the details.

And, FYI Schenectady retains the vast majority of its' officers. Many who left, left to work for departments in the cities in which they grew up. Other left for larger agencies for more opportunity and yes, better pay.

The issue is not as clear cut as many think. But, adding inaccurate information to the discussion does nothing to resolve it. Personally, I suspect the impact on the pension burden is negligible. But, that is just speculation on my part.

Last year, the total was $32,000 - that is spread out over many officers, and many may not yet be in the years used to calculate their pensions.

reader1
August 2, 2014
9:17 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Daily - I have never said I know everything. But, I do know that decisions like bringing the details under the control of the City are not made unilaterally by Police Chiefs. You have put forth no factual argument to refute that.

And again, your assertion that the decision was made because "some Police Chief" was jealous of the money being made by the officers makes no sense - Because the officers are still allowed to work the details and earn the same money. The argument that the detail earnings are not pensionable is being made the the NYS Comptroller's Office not the police administration. If anything, having the the City take control of the details and requiring that entities hiring the officers pay fringe benefits is consistent with the position that the detail earnings were pensionable.

You made a statement in a public forum that was inaccurate and illogical. If you don't like being called on your posted statements - try doing some research and thinking a little bit before you post.

reader1
August 3, 2014
9:38 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Decision was not made unilaterally by Chief. And,even if it was - your rationale for it being made is silly. You stated the Chief made it because of resentment that officers had access to earnings the Chief did not. Again, if that was the motivation - how did it deny any of those earnings to the officers? And, how did it make those earnings accessible to the Command Staff. It's a straightforward question - just answer it.

Assistant Chiefs have worked the details. They are non-bargaining unit members like the Chief.

Not going to bother responding to rest of your comments. The comments and any subsequent response = totally irrelevant to this discussion.

ChuckD
August 3, 2014
8:18 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Wow, well since you've dragged "WE ALL' into this, let me tell you that a lot of "WE ALL' know what a total buffoon you've come across as. You clearly have no idea.
.
"On the internet, no one knows you're a dog".

reader1
August 4, 2014
9:43 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

Again, please stop putting words in my mouth as I have not claimed to be an expert or a know-it-all.

You falsely attribute statements to me then refute them. I have not made one comment about the number of hours any officer has worked. Nor did I make any statement about "hours being spent at the department - not being compensated".

Since you seem to have a problem with seeing things that are not there and/or reading comprehension I will summarize my position, one last time. Raising the issue over whether the private details should be pensionable does not make one a cop basher. Regardless of what side of the issue you take - it is totally not clear cut. One side says - police work is police work - it is all the same so it should all be pensionable. The counter argument is that earnings caused by a third party and not part of their regularly scheduled duties should not add to the taxpayer's pension burden. The Schenectady Gazette writer, or anyone who takes the latter position, nor I have said that the officers should not be paid for hours worked. And, if they are not allowed to use it calculate their pensions they can always dump it in their 457 accounts, another form of retirement revenue. And, re: individual pensions - I think most agree we are not talking about a lot of money. Please, read this a few times, commit it to memory, write it down if necessary, so you can stop attributing opinions and statements to me that I have never made.

And again, regardless of what anyone's opinion is the law is the law.

Assistant Chiefs have worked a few of the details. It is not overtime. They were paid a straight fee. It was not overtime. It had nothing to do with operational demand. And again - please, answer the question - if "some Chief" changed this entire process because of jealousy over the earnings, why change it to a process in which the officers still work and earn from those details. You keep stepping over this inconvenient issue.

I won't respond further to you as it is pointless. And, I won't respond to personal attacks as I could care less about your opinion of me.

reader1
August 7, 2014
5:25 a.m.

[ Flag Post ]

First you stated the details were changed because the Chief was upset because he did not have access to those earnings. Your words - "Some chief did not like the idea that the officers could make money and he could not" - go back reread what you wrote. Now, you are asserting that he it was related to the fact he was not in control. Which is it? It is not inconvenient fact for me - it is for your argument.

Surprising that you apparently prefer the former system in which officers managed the details and made the decisions on who worked them, as opposed to a seniority system. So, you complain about Chief a showing favoritism to "his boys" but a system in which officers could restrict the details to their "boys" is okay?

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