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Police Officials Dominate List Of Highest-paid Nassau Employees - Newsday

Save the cap - Opinion: Editorials -

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John O'Donnell was Nassau's No. 1 earner in 2013 with $554,038 in total wages, including $122,759 in base pay; $53,425 in overtime and $313,341 in termination pay. Retired Lt. James McHale ranked second with $533,592 in total pay, including $144,977 in base salary, $41,812 in overtime and $339,072 in termination pay. Retired Capt. Alvin Johnson was third with $529,381, including $156,724 in base pay, $4,515 in overtime and $356,406 in termination pay. O'Donnell declined to comment, according to union president Brian Hoesl, and efforts to reach McHale and Johnson were unsuccessful. Hoesl said the termination pay is "earned, and I wholeheartedly believe they are entitled to it both contractually and morally." Tim Hoefer, executive director of the Empire Center for Public Policy, which promotes free market principles, described the retirement packages received by Nassau cops as a "prehistoric benefit" that should have been rescinded years ago. "These are benefits that no longer really exist in the private sector world," Hoefer said. PBA president James Carver said the termination pay policy "saves the county money" by allowing officers to store up sick and vacation time. If they had to use it as they earned it, other officers could have to fill in for them on overtime, he said. The report comes as the wages of about 7,000 full-time Nassau employees remain frozen by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state monitoring board that controls the county's finances. <br>For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit <a href='' rel='nofollow'></a>

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The three-year cap took effect in 2011 and ran until March 31. It was designed to rein in police and firefighter salary increases that were routinely in the area of 4 to 5 percent a year. Police and firefighter unions won these awards through an arbitration system that was skewed. As long as a bargaining unit in one town won an annual salary increase of, say, 4.5 percent, that award served as a guide for other units in the area. While no one questions the dedication and commitment of police and firefighters, such awards often prompted municipalities to make other cuts in services or personnel. That can certainly happen again, especially when you consider that the state's overall 2 percent cap on property taxes remains in effect. Keeping tax increases to a maximum of 2 percent when police salaries theoretically could rise by twice that amount is difficult. The most frustrating aspect of this debate is that agreement to extend the 2 percent arbitration cap was reached last week between the governor and the state Senate, which, like the Assembly, is controlled by Democrats. The Senate quickly approved extending the cap last week, but the Assembly didn't. <br>For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit <a href='' rel='nofollow'></a>

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05 Apr 2014. 04:39:31 pm

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