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    Does anyone who already took the medical know what the eye test is like? I've been hearing that you need 20/40 uncorrected vision to pass, just want to see if this is true or not. Thanks.

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    Sooo, tier 5 passed in the senate?? I think I heard the news correctly....

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    FDNY Begins Engine Staff Cutbacks
    December 2, 2009 The New York City Fire Department says staffing cutbacks have begun in response to a rising number of firefighters calling in sick.

    The annual firefighter absentee rate reached 7.5 percent, allowing Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta to make staffing cuts on 49 engine companies.

    The FDNY says high absentee rates add to the cost of overtime needed to cover the shifts.

    Under its contract with the Uniformed Firefighters Association, the department can reduce the number of firefighters on engines from five to four.

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the move could save the city up to $20 million annually.

    “We cannot afford the 15 or 20 million dollars in extra overtime it’s cost us to replace those who don’t come in for their regular shifts,” Bloomberg said.

    The cuts leave just 11 companies in the city staffed by five firefighters.

    The union says it disagrees with the way the city calculates the total of ill and injured firefighters and says the cutbacks endanger the public.

    “If we don’t have five-man ladder companies opening up the roofs, and making rescues. If there is no OV or no roof man, people’s lives will surely be lost,” said UFA President Steve Cassidy. “It is a critical, integral part of fire operations in New York City and the fire department wants to pretend that it’s not going to be impacted.”

    This is the third time the department has decreased staffing because of high absentee rates, most recently in 2004.

    The department will review the rate at the end of the month.


    He couldnt get the city council to agree to shut the companies down, now this is his new strategy,(old threat with layoffs), make every engine company in the city 4 man.

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    Quote Originally Posted by roadrunner09 View Post
    Sooo, tier 5 passed in the senate?? I think I heard the news correctly....
    The Daily Politics
    by Elizabeth BenjaminDecember 2, 2009 10:07 AM 2 Comments
    Gay Marriage Hits Senate Rules Agenda, Lobbying Hits Fevered Pitch »
    By Elizabeth Benjamin

    A reader forwarded the following from Legislative Retrieval System this morning:

    Same as alert
    A40003 - O'Donnell
    Relates to individuals ability to marry
    12/02/09 REFERRED TO RULES



    What this means: The same-sex marriage bill, which passed the Assembly for the third time last night with virtually no debate and a 88-51 vote, is teed up and ready to be moved to the floor of the Senate for debate.

    We're told that the bill is now certain to come to the floor sometime after the DRP passes. (Also on tap: Tier 5 and public authorities reform). But whether it has the 32 votes necessary to pass is anyone's guess.

    One Senate Democratic source expressed confidence, saying:

    "We said from the start that we weren't going to take it up until we had the votes to pass it, and we're taking it up today."
    UPDATE: The Senate just sent out the following statement from Democratic conference spokesman Austin Shafran:

    "The Senate will reconvene in extraordinary session today at which time it intends to vote on the deficit reduction plan, Tier V pension reform, public authority reform, and marriage equality legislation."
    The debate will be streamed live here.
    http://livestream.com/nysenate

    Those responsible for whipping the Republican vote said last night that if the Democrats could get to 29 or 30 votes from their conference, the GOP would be able to push the bill over the finish line.

    Advocates were expressing confidence that the Assembly vote would provide them sufficient momentum headed into today's Senate session, but things were looking pretty touch-and-go behind the scenes.


    A veritable flotilla of gay activists and pro-marriage lobbyists were working frantically deep into the night and early this morning.

    Sources said three key Democrats were the focus of considerable attention: Joe Addabbo, a freshman from Queens; Brian Foley, also a freshman, and one of just two Democratic members in the GOP-dominated Long Island conference; and George Onorato, a veteran lawmaker who also hails from Queens.

    Addabbo and Foley have both refused to be publicly pinned down on how they would vote on marriage. Both of them were elected last fall in a cycle that saw gay advocates pour more than $1 million into the Democrats' coffers to help them take the Senate majority.

    Addabbo, whose district is fairly conservative (it was represented for years by former Republican Sen. Serphin Maltese) is of particular concern because his is the first vote on the Senate roll. If he votes "no," the thinking goes, it could cause a domino effect.

    A Senate source said Addabbo has been the subject of a full-court press. He's receiving calls from high-level public officials urging him to vote "yes".

    I know Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has been calling around, but I'm not sure she called Addabbo. Other electeds involved in the lobbying effort include AG Andrew Cuomo, I'm told.

    Onorato has been relentlessly targeted by grassroots activists who have been showing up at his district office to urge him to reconsider his "no" vote on marriage.

    Sources said pro-marriage interests have pledged to support him if he faces a primary next year - two names often mentioned as potential challengers: Assemblyman Mike Gianaris and outgoing Councilman Eric Gioia.


    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dai...#ixzz0YYsCFN97

    IMO I believe that even if the state passes Tier 5, the city unions ,UFA and PBA , have to agree to it. UFT already did with some provisions. I'm pretty sure the UFA will refuse to. The UFA does not want a new class to go in, so they could care less about stalling a class due to a tier issue, no new class and underheadcount is good for their members = Overtime and also no worry of layoffs in the next round of budget cuts if house/company closures go through.
    Last edited by Queens6019; 12-02-2009 at 02:42 PM.

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    reform
    Updated: Wednesday, 02 Dec 2009, 1:30 PM EST
    Published : Wednesday, 02 Dec 2009, 1:27 PM EST

    ALBANY, N.Y. (RELEASE) - Governor David A. Paterson Wednesday announced that the Legislature has passed the Governor’s Program Bill No. 213, landmark pension reform that will provide billions in long-term savings to New York taxpayers. The legislation creates a new Tier V pension level, the most significant reform of the State’s pension system in more than a quarter-century.

    “Throughout this fiscal crisis, I have made clear we need to both reduce our spending and also fundamentally reform how we spend. This pension reform is a critical step in that process, and the savings will be achieved not only in State spending, but at the local level, which will help to reduce property taxes,” Governor Paterson said. “I applaud Senator Majority Conference Leader Sampson and Speaker Silver for joining me in achieving this long-overdue reform. I also thank the leadership of the State’s public employees unions for acknowledging the need for reform.”

    Key components of Tier V include:

    Raising the minimum age at which most civilians can retire without penalty from 55 to 62 and imposing a penalty of up to 38 percent for any civilian who retires prior to age 62.
    Requiring employees to continue contributing 3 percent of their salaries toward pension costs so long as they accumulate additional pension credits.
    Increasing the minimum years of service required to draw a pension from 5 years to 10 years.
    Capping the amount of overtime that can be considered in the calculation of pension benefits for civilians at $15,000 per year, and for police and firefighters at 15 percent of non-overtime wages.

    Members of the NYS Teachers Retirement System will have a separate Tier V benefit structure that will achieve equivalent savings as other civilian public employees. It includes:

    Raising the minimum age an individual can retire without penalty from 55 to 57 years.
    Contributing 3.5 percent of their annual wages to pension costs rather than 3.0 percent.
    Increasing the 2 percent multiplier threshold for final pension calculations from 20 to 25 years.

    In accordance with constitutional requirements, these new pension reforms would apply only to public employees hired in the future. These provisions will apply to the State workforce and to employees of localities outside New York City. In addition, the bill will implement an agreement between Mayor Bloomberg and the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) to enact reform of their pensions, which will result in estimated annual savings of $19.1 million in 2010, increasing to $64.1 million in 2019.

    From the start of economic downturn, Governor Paterson has worked to achieve pension reform that would ease the burden on State and local governments and provide relief to New York’s property taxpayers. On June 5, Governor Paterson announced an agreement with the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) and the Public Employees Federation (PEF) that achieved immediate workforce savings while avoiding large scale layoffs, in addition to securing support from the unions for the Governor’s efforts to implement Tier V pension reform.

    On June 2, Governor Paterson vetoed a bill that would have provided Tier II benefits to all new police officers and firefighters, matching the benefits of current employees at a significant cost to local governments. The “temporary” bill had been extended on a bi-annual basis since 1981. In his veto message for Senate Bill 1409, Governor Paterson stated that while this legislation had been routinely extended in the past, “these are not routine times.” In particular, the message noted a report from State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli that the pension system lost 26 percent of its value in the last fiscal year, which will necessitate higher pension costs for the State and localities.

    Kenneth Adams, President and CEO, The Business Council of New York State, Inc: “We applaud Governor David A. Paterson’s leadership in creating a new public employee pension tier to lower the pension costs for new hires. This is an important step to reduce long term government costs at the state and local level, and is something The Business Council has supported. We must reduce the cost of government to allow our economy to grow.”
    Last edited by Queens6019; 12-02-2009 at 02:44 PM.

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    New tier issues aside. We should be getting a report on the citys future plans within the next month or two with the mayors preliminary budget for the next fiscal year. The bean counters at OMB will be weighing how much overtime vs the cost of new hires. And we shall see if the plans to reduce headcount significantly are still in effect. Overtime at top pay is a lot of $$$ but also they figure in how much a new hire cost with salaery plus fringe benefits(health insurance, uniforms, gear, pension payments, etc) and how much it costs to run the academy (instructors salary and OT, etc). The mayor is buying time paying for what would be OT now with this 49 extra manpower a tour.
    Last edited by Queens6019; 12-02-2009 at 03:26 PM.

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    What are the differences with Tier V? 25 years and mininum age 50? 3% contributions after 10 years? What am I leaving out?

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    Quote Originally Posted by neal2578 View Post
    what are the differences with tier v? 25 years and mininum age 50? 3% contributions after 10 years? What am i leaving out?
    Pension calculation based on final three year average BASE salary

    NO overtime earnings included in pension calculation

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    so its pretty similiar to a military pension? i still want the job

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    N.Y. Raises Pension Requirements to Save $48 Billion (Update1)
    Share Business ExchangeTwitterFacebook| Email | Print | A A A By Michael Quint

    Dec. 2 (Bloomberg) -- New York state’s pension program will raise the retirement age and financial contributions for new workers to save the state and local governments about $48 billion over 30 years.

    The change, affecting workers hired Jan. 1 or after, was approved by legislators today and is supported by Governor David Paterson. The two biggest public employee unions backed the change after Paterson agreed to drop proposals to eliminate a 3 percent pay increase this year and cut 8,700 state jobs.

    “Savings will be achieved not only in state spending, but at the local level, which will help to reduce property taxes,” Paterson, 55, said in a statement. The state constitution bars reductions in pension benefits for existing workers.

    New York’s pension fund, the third-largest in the U.S., covers 1 million current and retired workers, and had $126 billion in assets on Sept. 30, according to Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the sole trustee.

    For new workers, the bill raises the age for retirement without penalty to 62 from 55, imposes a 38 percent penalty on non-uniformed workers who retire before 62 and increases the minimum years of service to draw a pension to 10 from 5, according to Paterson’s office.

    Overtime payments included in calculating pension benefits will be capped at $15,000 a year for civilian workers, and 15 percent of wages for police and firefighters.

    Savings Estimates

    The Division of Budget estimated in December 2009 that a similar package of pension changes would save $30 million in its first year. In June, Paterson, a Democrat, said savings would be at least $48 billion over 30 years. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat from Manhattan, said today the changes would save state and local governments $48.5 billion.

    For teachers outside New York City, whose pension fund covers 420,000 current and retired workers, the bill raises the minimum retirement age to 57 from 55 without penalty, and increases their pension contribution to 3.5 percent from 3 percent.

    The bill changes New York City teacher pensions to save the city $19.1 million this year, rising to $64.1 million in 2019, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

    The agreement with the United Federation of Teachers will save New York City $100 million over the next 20 years, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.

    “I look forward to working with our other partners in organized labor to begin creating the pension savings the city needs, while still providing deserved benefits to city workers,” Bloomberg said. The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

    Existing Teachers

    Pension and health benefits for existing city teachers are unchanged, the mayor said. New hires will pay 4.85 percent of their pay to the pension plan for 27 years and 1.85 percent thereafter, up from current contributions of 4.85 percent for 10 years and 1.85 percent through 27 years, he said.

    New teachers must have 10 years of service to collect a pension, up from five years now, and must work 15 years to collect health benefits after retirement, up from 10 years. The alterations require changes in city law.

    The new category of pension benefits will do little to solve the state’s problem of growing retirement costs, said E.J. McMahon, director of the Empire Center for New York State Policy, an Albany-based group that advocates less government spending. Benefits promised current workers allow retirement at 50 percent of salary after 25 years.

    “The legacy costs of our pension promises to current employees will remain a massive headache for decades,” McMahon said.

    To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Quint in Albany, New York, at mquint@bloomberg.net.

    Last Updated: December 2, 2009 17:47 EST

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    December 2, 2009, 3:58 pm
    Senate Passes Measures on Spending and Public Authorities
    By DANNY HAKIM
    ALBANY — Lawmakers took the first steps toward returning spending restraint and more rigorous government oversight to state government on Wednesday by approving a deficit reduction plan, scaling back pension benefits for new government employees and overhauling the public authority system.

    The developments were largely good news for Gov. David A. Paterson, who has had relatively few political victories during his tumultuous tenure. And they were also a rare sign of actual legislative action by the narrowly divided State Senate, which has often struggled to hold votes on any subject.

    For several months, the governor has pushed lawmakers to pass the pension legislation. The agreement does have its drawbacks, fiscal watchdogs say. The measure largely excludes New York City workers, with the exception of teachers; it doesn’t sufficiently scale back benefits; and savings it produces will take decades to come, critics say.

    On the other hand, the agreement creates the first new tier of pension benefits for state workers in more than 25 years, reflecting the reality that the state can no longer afford to pay soaring pension costs.

    “Throughout this fiscal crisis, I have made clear we need to both reduce our spending and also fundamentally reform how we spend,” Mr. Paterson said in a statement. “This pension reform is a critical step in that process.”

    Lawmakers also passed a $2.8 billion deficit reduction plan, which the governor criticized as not going far enough to prepare for swelling future deficits. But he has said he will sign the legislation nonetheless and take further steps on his own to cut spending, including withholding some payments to schools.

    “Because certain legislators are unwilling to stand up and control spending for fear of the political consequences, I will move forward and implement the tough choices they were unwilling to make,” he said. “In the coming days, I will direct the Division of the Budget to reduce state aid payments administratively in order to balance the budget and prevent New York from running out of cash.”

    The Senate has been widely criticized for championing a deficit plan that largely avoided spending cuts, favoring a host of one-time steps.

    Senator Carl Kruger, a Brooklyn Democrat who chairs the Senate’s finance committee, said hearings he had held had persuaded him to fight cuts to education and health care.

    “Every single story was heart wrenching and each person conveyed the devastation the governor’s budget cuts would have on their loved one, the population they care for and the entire community,” Mr. Kruger said.

    The most sweeping measure of the day was an overhaul of the state’s sprawling public authority system, a maze of quasi-independent entities from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to Long Island Power Authority. The legislation allows for the oversight of authorities by a budget office with subpoena and other investigative powers. Authority board members will also have a fiduciary responsibility to the mission of their authority, potentially opening them up to legal exposure if they stray from the mission.

    “This is the most fundamental reform of state government in decades, and it’s a blueprint for further reform of state government,” said Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, a Westchester Democrat who had supported the legislation.
    Last edited by Queens6019; 12-02-2009 at 09:23 PM.

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    Like I said before the UFA has to agree to this new tier 5 for new hires(probies), and I doubt they will without many provisions, when they do come to some mutual agreement, there will be a lot of concessions made that benefit new hires, compared to NY states tier 5. The UFT (nyc teachers union) agreed to tier 5 but they kept their retirement age/years of service, that is big. Expect this to increase the time for a new class to go in, as I'm sure the UFA, Municipal labor commitee, and the Mayor will have back and forth negotiations for a long time. But time is on the UFA's side, the longer they refuse to go along with the new tier, the more headcount will reduce and the more Overtime that they are so concerned about now will increase, making the mayor more likely to give in to certain provisions. Just pray for no house closures come July 1. I think the PBA will also be involved because FD and PD's contracts,pensions etc are usually in unison or close to it. Best case scenario they hire under the current tier 3, but I would not expect that with the mayors ego.
    Last edited by Queens6019; 12-03-2009 at 10:52 AM.

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    Chalk up small progress for fiscal stability in Albany -- emphasis on "small."

    The Legislature yesterday delivered a modicum of deficit reduction, then tried to slip a lip-sticked pig labeled "pension reform" past the people.

    It was better than nothing -- and Gov. Paterson deserves credit for keeping the heat on through the weeks-long process -- but it wasn't much better.

    The Legislature says it shaved $2.7 billion off a current-year budget deficit that state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says could exceed $4 billion.

    But it did so without touching New York's lush local school aid and health-care spending. The lawmakers plainly weren't serious about deficit reduction -- the upside being that there's plenty of fat left to hack as the crisis deepens.


    AP
    Meanwhile, Paterson says he'll "reduce state-aid payments administratively in order to balance the budget and prevent New York from running out of cash."

    Go for it, Gov.

    Now, about that pig of a pension bill.

    It creates a new retirement category for employees hired after Jan. 1. City Hall says it's thrilled with it, and Albany says it'll save billions over time.

    Over a very long time, we might add. Decades and decades.

    For not much changes.

    State fiscal expert John Faso lays out the details on the opposite page -- so we'll just note that the NYPD and FDNY are flatly exempted from its provisions, and that the United Federation of Teachers is only marginally affected.

    Hidden in the bill's language is a provision effectively freezing health benefits for school-district employees statewide, and it continues to allow public employees to fatten already lush pensions by loading up on overtime at the end of their careers.

    Again, not much change.

    But Albany is pleased with itself -- so are the unions -- and that's apparently what matters.



    Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion...#ixzz0YdnqOPMu

    'Reform' landmines
    Comments: 1

    Pension bill's ugly sweeteners
    By JOHN FASO

    Last Updated: 8:05 AM, December 3, 2009

    Posted: 1:02 AM, December 3, 2009

    The pension reform just rushed through the Legisla ture is a small step forward for our fiscally-challenged state -- but the "sweeteners" attached to it may yet prove to be several steps back.<p>
    </p><br>
    The reform adds a new pension plan, called Tier 5, for new employees of the state and all school districts, plus most local government workers.<p>
    </p><br>
    It has limited impact in New York City, since only only teachers represented by the United Federation of Teachers are included. Mayor Bloomberg will still need to fight hard to get Albany to pass cost-saving reforms for the other two-thirds or so of city employees, including police and fire unions.<p>
    </p><br>
    The reform looks to be the only long-term fiscal relief afforded taxpayers in the just-concluded special legislative session. The rest of the Legislature's deficit-closing measures rely largely on fiscal sleight-of-hand or one-shot revenues to close this year's $3.2 billion state budget gap.<p>
    </p><br>
    Still, the pension changes afford a glimmer of hope that the Legislature hasn't totally ignored New York's impending fiscal collapse.<p>
    </p><br>
    But only a glimmer. The new retirement plan basically just puts public-employee pension systems back to the pre-2000 benefit levels, before the Legislature enacted a host of giveaways.<p>
    </p><br>
    Under Tier 5, new employees will have to contribute 3 percent of salary toward their pension during the entirety of their employment. (Previously, they only had to contribute for the first 10 years of service.) And employees must work 10 years, not just five, to become eligible to receive a pension. The retirement age rises to 62 for most workers and 57 for teachers.<p>
    </p><br>
    But about half of teachers already retire around this age -- so the teachers union didn't give up much here.<p>
    </p><br>
    The new system closes one of the most expensive and abused loopholes for police and firefighters by reducing the use of overtime to boost the "final average salary" on which pensions are based -- a loophole that has allowed many retireees to collect pensions larger than their base salary at retirement. Now, instead of<p>
    </p><br>allovertime pay counting toward that figure, just 15 percent of it will count.<p>
    </p><br>
    Again, though, New York City saw no reform.<p>
    </p><br>
    And for other workers, the overtime provisions don't amount to much of a reform. Here, overtime included in pension calculations is limited to $15,000. But this amount is adjusted upward by 3 percent a year -- so that, by the time a Tier 5 worker is set to retire, the limit will be much higher.<p>
    </p><br>
    Gov. Paterson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver contend that the Tier 5 plan will save taxpayers almost $50 billion over the next 30 years. One wonders about that estimate.<p>
    </p><br>
    For one thing, that figure appears nowhere in the required fiscal note prepared by retirement system actuaries regarding this legislation. Then, too, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli -- the sole trustee of the state and local retirement system -- has been suspiciously silent as to the changes. Finally, the fact that the legislation was introduced and passed in a single day, under an emergency "message of necessity" submitted by the governor, makes it near-impossible to independently verify these claimed savings.<p>
    </p><br>
    The bill also holds several potentially big fiscal landmines:<p>
    </p><br>
    * It<p>
    </p><br>permanentlybars school districts from altering the health-insurance benefits they provide to retirees. Yes, the Legislature has routinely passed this prohibition on an annual basis -- but permanently removing districts' abilty to reform or revise these benefits will prove very costly to taxpayers.<p>
    </p><br>
    * It inexplicably extends binding-arbitration provisions for police and fire unions. This is a sure bet to boost pay in the years ahead -- and thus to add to already outrageous property taxes around the state.<p>
    </p><br>
    * It enshrines the "defined benefit" structure for public-employee retirement benefits -- instead of giving public employers the option of creating "defined contribution" systems like those that cover most private-sector workers. This will make public employment less desirable for potential employees who want to work for only a few years and who might be attracted to a 401(k) benefit, if such were available.<p>
    </p><br>
    New York faces a $20 billion deficit over the next 2½ years. This can only be solved by reducing expenses, not raising taxes yet again. Property taxes statewide are 70 percent above the national average; our income, sales and business taxes are among the highest in the nation.<p>
    </p><br>
    Permanently lowering pension costs for public employees is just part of what's needed to control and reduce this enormous tax burden. The Tier 5 bill takes some major steps to address future pension costs -- but also gives unwarranted goodies to New York's unions, particularly the teachers.<p>
    </p><br>
    If the governor and Legislature are really out to serve the entire state, they need to focus on real and sustainable fiscal reform to permanently reduce the burden on New York's oppressed taxpayers.<p>
    </p><br>
    John Faso, the 2006 GOP candi date for governor, is a co-founder of New Yorkers for Growth.<p>
    </p><br>
    PRINT EMAIL SHARE
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    RSS The pension reform just rushed through the Legisla ture is a small step forward for our fiscally-challenged state -- but the "sweeteners" attached to it may yet prove to be several steps back.

    The reform adds a new pension plan, called Tier 5, for new employees of the state and all school districts, plus most local government workers.

    It has limited impact in New York City, since only only teachers represented by the United Federation of Teachers are included. Mayor Bloomberg will still need to fight hard to get Albany to pass cost-saving reforms for the other two-thirds or so of city employees, including police and fire unions.


    Bloomberg: Must still beg Albany to fix most city-employee pensions.
    The reform looks to be the only long-term fiscal relief afforded taxpayers in the just-concluded special legislative session. The rest of the Legislature's deficit-closing measures rely largely on fiscal sleight-of-hand or one-shot revenues to close this year's $3.2 billion state budget gap.

    Still, the pension changes afford a glimmer of hope that the Legislature hasn't totally ignored New York's impending fiscal collapse.

    But only a glimmer. The new retirement plan basically just puts public-employee pension systems back to the pre-2000 benefit levels, before the Legislature enacted a host of giveaways.

    Under Tier 5, new employees will have to contribute 3 percent of salary toward their pension during the entirety of their employment. (Previously, they only had to contribute for the first 10 years of service.) And employees must work 10 years, not just five, to become eligible to receive a pension. The retirement age rises to 62 for most workers and 57 for teachers.

    But about half of teachers already retire around this age -- so the teachers union didn't give up much here.

    The new system closes one of the most expensive and abused loopholes for police and firefighters by reducing the use of overtime to boost the "final average salary" on which pensions are based -- a loophole that has allowed many retireees to collect pensions larger than their base salary at retirement. Now, instead of all overtime pay counting toward that figure, just 15 percent of it will count.

    Again, though, New York City saw no reform.

    And for other workers, the overtime provisions don't amount to much of a reform. Here, overtime included in pension calculations is limited to $15,000. But this amount is adjusted upward by 3 percent a year -- so that, by the time a Tier 5 worker is set to retire, the limit will be much higher.

    Gov. Paterson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver contend that the Tier 5 plan will save taxpayers almost $50 billion over the next 30 years. One wonders about that estimate.

    For one thing, that figure appears nowhere in the required fiscal note prepared by retirement system actuaries regarding this legislation. Then, too, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli -- the sole trustee of the state and local retirement system -- has been suspiciously silent as to the changes. Finally, the fact that the legislation was introduced and passed in a single day, under an emergency "message of necessity" submitted by the governor, makes it near-impossible to independently verify these claimed savings.

    The bill also holds several potentially big fiscal landmines:

    * It permanently bars school districts from altering the health-insurance benefits they provide to retirees. Yes, the Legislature has routinely passed this prohibition on an annual basis -- but permanently removing districts' abilty to reform or revise these benefits will prove very costly to taxpayers.

    * It inexplicably extends binding-arbitration provisions for police and fire unions. This is a sure bet to boost pay in the years ahead -- and thus to add to already outrageous property taxes around the state.

    * It enshrines the "defined benefit" structure for public-employee retirement benefits -- instead of giving public employers the option of creating "defined contribution" systems like those that cover most private-sector workers. This will make public employment less desirable for potential employees who want to work for only a few years and who might be attracted to a 401(k) benefit, if such were available.

    New York faces a $20 billion deficit over the next 2½ years. This can only be solved by reducing expenses, not raising taxes yet again. Property taxes statewide are 70 percent above the national average; our income, sales and business taxes are among the highest in the nation.

    Permanently lowering pension costs for public employees is just part of what's needed to control and reduce this enormous tax burden. The Tier 5 bill takes some major steps to address future pension costs -- but also gives unwarranted goodies to New York's unions, particularly the teachers.

    If the governor and Legislature are really out to serve the entire state, they need to focus on real and sustainable fiscal reform to permanently reduce the burden on New York's oppressed taxpayers.

    John Faso, the 2006 GOP candi date for governor, is a co-founder of New Yorkers for Growth.


    Have a comment on this PostOpinion column? Send it in to LETTERS@NYPOST.COM!



    Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion...#ixzz0YdoRAbD2

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    If im under the DSNY tier 4 and get called for FDNY does tht mean i have to go under the new teir 5? this could be a major road block for me...

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcals3 View Post
    If im under the DSNY tier 4 and get called for FDNY does tht mean i have to go under the new teir 5? this could be a major road block for me...
    No, once you have a city pension started they cannot drop you down a tier...even if tier 5 gets passed you will stay at the same tier youre at now once you get hired by FDNY

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    Default Fdny

    Quote Originally Posted by kingcals3 View Post
    If im under the DSNY tier 4 and get called for FDNY does tht mean i have to go under the new teir 5? this could be a major road block for me...
    turns your private messages on. Someone posted earlier that if you are currently in the 20 and out pension plan with either DSNY,NYPD or corrections and switch to FDNY even if they pass tier 5 that you keep your 20 and out pension tier

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    Quote Originally Posted by QCFRANKC View Post
    turns your private messages on. Someone posted earlier that if you are currently in the 20 and out pension plan with either DSNY,NYPD or corrections and switch to FDNY even if they pass tier 5 that you keep your 20 and out pension tier
    To any san man out there on the list...no, your city time has already began and you will not be placed in an inferior pension.

    FTM-PTB

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    well thats good to know.. now with a list number of 24** lets see when i get called for this physical and stuff and lets see if this job will reach my list number...

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    Default Ugh

    Belated thanks to you guys for giving me a heads up that I may be waiting until the list expires before I actually find out my score on this test. Figures I guess.

    Gotta say, I'm pretty much totally enraged that I got out of the Army with 6 years towards a pension, since if I am fortunate enough to be hired by any pd or fd in ny and work my 22-25 years or whatever the new law states, I will not beat that pension thanks to this new law.

    Just the tip of the iceberg too from what I can tell. King Bloomberg will use his considerable leverage now to force more concessions from the pd and fd unions making these jobs pay out even less after a career of risking life, limb, and eyesight to serve the public.

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    STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. --- It has a brand new, billion-dollar communication system that doesn't work properly.
    It has a budget that must be slashed by a hundred million dollars in the next six months.
    It has overtime costs that have already forced staffing cuts, and the government may try to close some of its companies -- again.
    And its boss is leaving at the end of this month.
    No, it's not the latest financial institution on the verge of collapse.
    It's the FDNY.
    And a Staten Islander could soon be at the top.
    Depending on one's perspective, the city's second largest public safety agency is either heading for a rocky year, or just in the midst of growing pains.
    Union officials and some of the rank and file cite serious flaws in the new Unified Call Taker system (UCT), wasteful spending and Mayor Michael Bloomberg's penchant for closing firehouses during budget shortfalls (See: Post 9/11 and last year's fight to keep four companies open, including Engine 161 in South Beach).
    City officials point to statistics that show firefighter response times and fire deaths are the lowest on record, and dismiss the UCT issues as the normal hiccups of transitioning to a technological system that will save even more time and more lives.
    "The true promise of technology is realized when it is used to improve lives for the better, and Unified Call Taking is among the city's most transformative IT projects in this regard," Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) Commissioner Paul Cosgrave said when officials tweaked the new system in May after several miscues.
    But Cosgrave resigned last week, in the wake of more miscues by UCT operators in November that may have been fatal. A dad and two sons died in Brooklyn fire after a 911 call-taker gave the wrong information. Firefighters were delayed five minutes before getting to a Queens blaze that killed three because a 911 operator keyed in the wrong address.
    The City Council Committee Fire and Criminal Justice Committee has scheduled a hearing to discuss the UCT and other emergency communications issues on Thursday. Outgoing commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta is scheduled to testify, and Salvatore Cassano, FDNY Chief of Department, will likely be by his side.
    Cassano, a Huguenot resident, is the highest-ranking uniformed officer in the agency and a favorite to replace Scoppetta. Because he is a 40-year veteran who recently reached the mandatory retirement age of 65, the mayor would have to grant Cassano a waiver in order to continue in his current position.
    The mayor has interviewed several commissioner candidates outside the FDNY, according to several sources familiar with the process. But time is running out. Scoppetta is leaving Jan. 1.
    Bloomberg often prefers to look outside the government to fill major posts, and some believe that may be his thinking with the FDNY.
    "I think that works better in theory than in practice with an agency like the FDNY," said City Councilman James Oddo (R-Mid-Island). "I hope they hire a commissioner who is steeped in the tradition of the department ... so the rank and file believes decisions are being made by someone who understands the job."
    Adding to the anxiety of succession, the mayor recently ordered the department to cut $100 million from its budget through fiscal year 2011, which starts in July; and Scoppetta reduced the number of firefighters on 49 engine companies from five to four because of overtime expenses.
    "You can't talk to a firefighter who isn't worried about his job or what the future holds," Oddo said.
    Councilman James Vacca (D-Bronx), who chairs the Fire and Criminal Justice Committee, believes higher-than-expected city revenues, and a higher attrition rate will ease budget concerns.
    He also received assurance from the Scoppetta that the department won't seek to close fire companies -- at least not or this upcoming year.
    "Because it is an agency without a head, right now is a time filled with speculation and a lot of uneasiness," Vacca said.

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    The UFA's false alarm: Firefighters union makes stink over contract provision it signed
    Editorials

    Monday, December 7th 2009, 4:00 AM
    Related NewsUnemployment woes continue: Private sector sheds 169K jobs in Nov.New unemployment claims fall unexpectedly for fifth straight weekBossert's Aqueduct AnalysisEconomy sheds fewest jobs since 2007Uniformed Firefighters Association President Steven Cassidy says the FDNY is about to "compromise the safety of the public and New York City firefighters" by ordering staffing reductions at 49 engine companies. Actually, the only thing being compromised is overtime pay.

    Way back in the mists of time, FDNY engine companies operated with with five firefighters and one officer. Then, in 1989, an arbitrator ruled that it was safe to operate with four firefighters and an officer. Then, in 1996, the UFA persuaded the city to restore 49 five-person trucks on the condition the FDNY could reduce that staffing by one if the departmental sick-leave rate topped 7.5%.

    Every so often that happens, and when it does, manning - and overtime - go down. And the city saves at a rate of $20 million a year. And Cassidy dutifully says the sky will fall if the city enforces his contract. And then sick leave goes down. And manning goes up. And the UFA rests easy - until the cycle starts over again.


    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/...#ixzz0Z3B485Rv

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    Tier 5 Bill Preserves 20-Year Pension For Cops and Firefighters
    Despite OT Curb, Benefits In Comparison to Tier 3 Might Sway PBA, UFA
    By RICHARD STEIER
    MICHAEL J. PALLADINO: Changes better than Tier 3. The Tier 5 pension bill approved by the State Legislature Dec. 2 that is expected to be signed shortly by Governor Paterson reduces overtime benefits for future cops and firefighters outside the city but in most key respects preserves long-held rights, most notably the one to retire at full pension after 20 years’ service, regardless of age.

    While Mayor Bloomberg hailed the portion of the bill affecting city Teachers— which reflects an agreement he reached six months ago with the United Federation of Teachers—the police/ fire segment compromises his hopes of getting major pension relief from that part of the workforce.

    Incentive for Unions to Act?

    If anything, noted several officials including the president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and the Uniformed Firefighters Association may have more of an incentive to negotiate a similar Tier 5 deal than the Mayor does.

    PATRICK J. LYNCH: Not tipping his hand. “The question is whether or not there is a sense of urgency on the part of the [city] unions to act, especially the entry groups like the PBA and UFA,” DEA head Michael J. Palladino said in a phone interview the day after the Tier 5 bill was approved by both houses of the Legislature.

    The drawbacks, from the standpoint of those unions, would be the three-percent contribution cops and firefighters from outside the city for the first time will now have to make to their pensions, and the limit on overtime earnings that can be used in computing pension allowances, which will be 15 percent of base salary over their final three years of service.

    Differences Between Jurisdictions

    In both cases, there are significant differences in pension rights between those employed in the five boroughs and those in other jurisdictions throughout the state who are covered by the bill. (While it had not been signed by Governor Paterson by press-time Dec. 7, that is considered a mere formality since it is a bill put forward at his request.)

    STEVE CASSIDY: A disability presumption worry. City cops and firefighters have 7.85 percent of salary taken out for pension contributions, although five percent of that amount is actually funded by the city under what is known as the Increased Take-Home Pay provision. While that has historically left them at a disadvantage with their counterparts in other jurisdictions, they benefit from a more-generous provision in effect since 2000 that sets their retirement allowances based on earnings in their final year of work, while those in other parts of the state have theirs set on an average of their final three years’ earnings.

    DENNIS QUIRK: Preserved age-55 retirement. Cap on Pensionable Overtime

    The Tier 5 bill places a cap on the overtime that can be factored into pension allowances, setting it at 15 percent of base pay for cops and firefighters outside the city and at $15,000 for other workers. If applied to the NYPD, this would appear to have a relatively small impact on average, since police overtime is running at 16 percent; for city firefighters the hit would be somewhat greater, judging by the 20-percent overtime rate.

    Until now, the PBA and UFA have been unresponsive to Mayor Bloomberg’s calls to negotiate a Tier 5 deal affecting their future members. But the key components of the Governor’s bill, combined with his veto six months ago of a measure that would have extended the traditional Tier 2 pension rights to future cops and firefighters and instead relegated them to the less-generous Tier 3, might prompt UFA President Steve Cassidy and PBA leader Patrick J. Lynch to reconsider, Mr. Palladino said.

    Tier 3 is problematic, he explained, because it requires cops and firefighters to work 22 years to qualify for a full pension, and they must stay for 25 if they want to be eligible for costof living adjustments that all those under Tier 2 automatically receive.

    “I don’t want to see a day,” the DEA president said, “where I have Detectives working in the same squad, doing the same work and taking the same risks but one is a 20-year Detective and one is a 22” in terms of pension rights.

    He pointed out that this would put future NYPD officers at a further disadvantage with their counterparts in Nassau and Suffolk counties, whose maximum salaries are more than $20,000 above their city counterparts and generally work under less-stressful conditions.

    “The suburban job, which was already attractive, remains attractive” because the 20-year retirement right is undisturbed, Mr. Palladino contended, “while the city job, which is lesser-paying, becomes less attractive” if cops need to work up to five years more to qualify for full pension rights.

    Tier 3 Improves At 25 Years

    Actually, the 25-year benefit under Tier 3 is more generous than under Tier 2 because of a different formula for calculating the cost-of-living adjustments. Mr. Lynch made this point in June in response to the Governor’s veto of the Tier 2 extender, arguing the city would lose money in the long run. Last week, he declined through a spokesman to comment on the Tier 5 bill and whether its terms would encourage him to negotiate something roughly equivalent as preferable to Tier 3.

    Attempts to get a response from Mr. Cassidy, who was away at the annual convention of the Public Employee Conference—the unions’ lobbying arm in Albany—were unsuccessful.

    The UFA leader, according to two other veteran union officials, may have a greater incentive to seek a pension change from the current Tier 3 because his members are more prone than cops to job-related disabling illnesses. Under Tier 2 they were entitled to the presumption that a variety of such disabilities were the result of their work, entitling them to tax-free disability pensions. Tier 3 does not include such presumptions, but the Tier 5 bill does.

    A Smaller Hit Under Tier 5?

    Mr. Palladino argued that the Tier 5 bill as it applies to cops and firefighters, which he said was considerably less-onerous than Mr. Paterson’s original proposal, took a far smaller bite out of pension rights for future employees than the shift from Tier 2 to Tier 3. Noting that most of the pension rights provided under Tier 2 resulted from a series of negotiations in which both sides got something, Mr. Palladino said, “With the stroke of a pen when he vetoed the Tier 2 extender, the Governor wiped away benefits we got, but the city retained the value it got from those negotiations.”

    One portion of the bill that applies to city-based uniformed personnel concerns those Court Officers and Court Clerks who have peace officer status. For the past two decades, they have had the right to a full pension at age 55 after 30 years’ service. They preserved that right, even as the Tier 5 bill requires most state workers to remain on the job until they are 62 to qualify for unreduced pensions (those who go earlier endure a penalty of up to 38 percent).

    Quirk: Worth the Extra Point

    To do so, Court Officers Association Dennis Quirk said, new members will have to contribute 4 percent of their salary toward their pensions, a point higher than those already on the job.

    It’s certainly worth it to get out seven years early,” he maintained.

    The court unions had more leverage than the two largest state-employee unions, the Civil Service Employees Association and the Public Employees Federation, which agreed to the age- 62 retirement provision in return for a guarantee that thousands of potential layoffs would not be made.

    Future members of the UFT were also guaranteed the continued right to retire at 55—in their case, after 27 years’ service—under the deal the union reached with the Bloomberg administration in late spring. In return, they are required to contribute 4.85 percent of salary toward their pensions for the first 27 years of service and 1.85 percent after that, while incumbent Teachers went from 4.85 of salary for their first 10 years to 1.85 during their next 17, with no contributions beyond that point.

    That deal also limits to 7 percent the annual return on future Teachers’ Tax-Deferred Annuity accounts; those already employed are assured of an 8.25 percent return. Mr. Bloomberg noted in a statement that this change “will help the city weather a downturn in the financial markets.”

    Need 10 Years’ Service to Vest

    All those covered under the Tier 5 bill approved last week will now have to work 10 years before their pensions are guaranteed, or “vested,” compared to the old standard of five years. They will have to spend 15 years in the system to qualify for health benefits in retirement, up from the previous 10- year requirement.

    Mr. Bloomberg noted that both changes “reward educators who choose to make teaching a career.” A key provision of the final bill won by Teacher unions bars school districts from reducing retiree health benefits unless such a change is negotiated with them.

    Many of the changes that negatively affect future employees actually amount to a return to the Tier 4 provisions of a decade ago, before robust pension earnings fueled by the stockmarket boom produced a deal allowing state and local governments to reduce their contributions to the retirement systems in return for benefit improvements for public employees.
    Last edited by Queens6019; 12-07-2009 at 07:58 PM.

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    Politics Behind the Money
    Mayor Bloomberg campaigned for re-election using a commercial that began, “He’s not a politician.” Yes, but he plays one pretty well when it comes to dealing with those who anger him.

    That became especially obvious last week in his battle with Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau over bank accounts that the DA maintains to hold monies his office has received from settlements of potential prosecutions.

    The Bloomberg administration accused him of concealing the accounts, and the Mayor and his Press Secretary both used the phrase “two sets of books” to describe the operation. Mr. Morgenthau responded that those charges were chicken bits, more or less, saying the city was well aware of the accounts in part because it received a generous chunk of that money, as does the state.

    Mr. Bloomberg is apparently upset that the state gets a piece of the action for crimes that occurred within his home borough; Mr. Morgenthau pointed out that the DA’s Office is under the jurisdiction of the state, not the city. Another DA, speaking anonymously, told one of the dailies that Mr. Bloomberg liked to believe that he was boss of everyone in government within the five boroughs, and did not take kindly to Mr. Morgenthau disagreeing.

    The Mayor also harbors a grudge, reportedly, over the DA’s decision two years ago to consider bringing a criminal complaint against the city for its failures leading up to the Deutsche Bank Building blaze that killed two Firefighters. It would have been unusual had Mr. Morgenthau done so, but the negligence when it came to lack of inspections by two city agencies made such charges plausible.

    There was also at least the possibility of political considerations playing a factor in the decision last week by the Fire Department to reduce by one firefighter the staffing on 49 engine companies because sick leave had exceeded a stipulated percentage. That reduction is expected to save it as much as $20 million a year.

    The trigger number is when the absence rate goes above 7.5 percent. It is not automatic: sick leave has to go above 7.6 percent to make the cut in staffing mandatory. In this case, the figure was 7.53 percent, 3/100ths of a percent over the line.

    Uniformed Firefighters Association President Steve Cassidy accused the FDNY of failing to consider how much of the rise is the result of extended absences by Firefighters suffering the long-term effects of exposure at the World Trade Center site in the months after 9/11. Such consideration would seem reasonable when the department has discretion about invoking a rule that was set in 1996.

    There may, however, be other mitigating circumstances, such as Mr. Cassidy’s support of Bill Thompson in the mayoral election, and his harsh criticism of Fire Commissioner Nick Scoppetta.

    City officials in both disputes have contended that budgetary concerns, rather than politics, was the key factor. But to twist an old cliché, sometimes when they say it’s got everything to do with money, it really doesn’t.

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    Tier 5 ‘Lite’ May Blaze City Police/Fire Trail
    By RICHARD STEIER
    Governor Paterson’s pension reform proposal came into sharper focus last week when the details of how it applies to cops and firefighters outside the city were revealed following the Tier 5 measure’s passage by the State Legislature. What is now clear is that the pain inflicted on future employees by the new plan rises and falls in direct proportion to how desperate their unions are.

    This was undoubtedly why the Bloomberg administration issued a statement lauding the approval of a Tier 5 deal it negotiated six months ago with the United Federation of Teachers but was silent on how the bill will affect its hopes of getting drastic changes in coverage for future cops and firefighters.

    On that score, the Mayor’s position—as it so often is—seemed to be summed up by a New York Post editorial, this one declaring that the Legislature “tried to slip a lipsticked pig labeled ‘pension reform’ past the people.”

    A COMMON STAKE IN MIDDLE GROUND?: Detectives Endowment Association Legislative Director Lou Matarazzo (left) says the state Tier 5 bill covering cops and firefighters outside the city could spur Mayor Bloomberg and the police and fire unions to reach a compromise so that the more-onerous Tier 3 now in effect for new hires does not hurt city recruitment efforts. Took Sting Out of Initial Plan

    Hyperbole notwithstanding, the general consensus among city union officials was that those lobbying for the police and fire union officials outside the five boroughs had done a good job of taking much of the sting out of Governor Paterson’s original proposal, which was largely based on suggestions made by the Mayor. The bill, which Mr. Paterson is expected to sign into law shortly, is not without retrenchment: it limits the overtime that can be counted in calculating pension allowances, mandates a 3-percent employee contribution for the first time from those employees, and requires them to work five years longer-than previously before they are assured of a pension and health benefits after they retire.

    But those changes amount to a haircut, rather than the scalping that was feared after Mr. Paterson stunned the police and fire unions in early June by vetoing what had been expected to be a routine extension of Tier 2 pension rights for future members. That had the effect of sending future members down the chute into Tier 3 of the system, which curtailed a number of key benefits and required that they work 22 years to qualify for a full pension and 25 if they wanted to collect cost-of-living adjustments on their basic allowance.

    One veteran official summed up last week’s bill this way: “With respect to police and fire, this is Tier 5 lite. It preserves the 20-year retirement and it preserves all the disability presumptions.”

    He was referring to the system under which if cops or firefighters contract a variety of cancers, heart or lung trouble, or certain other ailments, it is presumed to be the result of their jobs and entitles them to tax-free disability pensions. That right does not exist under Tier 3, another prime reason the unions were so unhappy about the Tier 2 veto.

    The bill also makes no change in the right of cops and firefighters outside the city to retire after 20 years’ service, regardless of age. Mayor Bloomberg has sought a revision under which future city cops and firefighters would have to spend 25 years on the job and be at least 50 in order to qualify for a full pension.

    The chances of that happening through legislative action have effectively vanished. No matter how much money Mr. Bloomberg has spread among Republicans in the State Senate, he couldn’t produce a majority in either house that would stick future city cops and firefighters with more-onerous conditions for retirement than exist for the rest of the state. Nor, for that matter, would it be in his interest to do so.

    COs, SanWorkers Now Have Edge

    The state bill only serves to accentuate the oddity of the current city position of requiring cops and firefighters to work two years longer than not only those in other jurisdictions but other municipal uniformed groups that got the 20-year retirement right through higher pension contributions.

    As Detectives Endowment Association Legislative Director Lou Matarazzo noted, “Right now you have a situation where Correction and Sanitation have a 20-year pension and we don’t. Does that make sense?”

    He and DEA President Mike Palladino said that both the unions and the Bloomberg administration had reason to want to address the potential problem but that each side might figure the other had to blink first. (Neither Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch nor Uniformed Firefighters Association head Steve Cassidy opted to comment last week.)

    Another veteran union official, who spoke conditioned on anonymity, said the UFA arguably needed a way out of Tier 3 sooner than the PBA. Because the basic problem of working longer to qualify for a full pension won’t hit home for 20 years, there isn’t much urgency on that front for getting out from under Tier 3. But because firefighters are more susceptible than cops to presumptive diseases affecting their lungs due to the nature of their work, recapturing the old disability pension right is something the UFA would like to address as quickly as possible.

    Speaking of both entry-level unions, Mr. Matarazzo—a former PBA president—said, “I would assume they would want to get out of Tier 3 pretty quickly. But I also think it’s going to be a terrible recruitment problem for the city.”

    As Mr. Palladino noted, cops in Nassau and Suffolk at maximum salary are earning more than $20,000 above the $76,488 top pay for NYPD Police Officers. Force city cops, whose jobs are generally more-stressful, to work two years more than their suburban counterparts before qualifying for retirement, and you’re making it tougher to recruit or retain them, he argued.

    Widens the Attractiveness Gulf

    “The suburban job, which was already attractive, remains attractive [notwithstanding the Tier 5 changes], while the city job, which is lesser-paying, becomes less-attractive” due to Tier 3, Mr. Palladino said.

    Mr. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, having struggled for more than two years to recruit qualified cops after the administration persuaded an arbitrator to reduce starting pay to $25,000 in 2005, can’t be anxious to court a repeat of that problem. It’s one reason that the Mayor’s crusade against the Variable Supplements Funds for cops and firefighters —aided by one-sided coverage in the Post—has seemed counterproductive. In past arbitration cases, the administration played down the difference in police salaries between the city and Long Island by noting that the $12,000 a year retired NYPD cops receive from the VSF should be part of the compensation comparison. Take that away from future hires and the pay gap becomes particularly glaring.

    The Mayor may believe that unlike the bargain-basement starting salary, which had an immediate and obvious effect, reducing retirement-based rights will be less of a deterrent to recruiting for police and fire jobs because any perceived inequities are so far into the future as to escape jobseekers’ focus.

    Or he may be glossing over that possible problem because he’s convinced that the current levels of police and fire compensation in retirement are too great a drain on the city treasury.

    City Already Sets Them Apart

    But the relatively disproportionate generosity those employees receive in comparison to other municipal workers is, ironically, consistent with the administration’s own position that, along with Teachers, they are the city’s most valuable employees. That is reflected in Mr. Bloomberg’s demand for smaller percentage cuts in the Police, Fire and Education departments than he has sought from other agencies to cope with the current budget mess.

    Those employees are also the ones most likely to be protected from layoffs, notwithstanding Mr. Bloomberg’s recent Washington oratory on the need to be able to lay off Teachers without regard to seniority.

    And the pecking order, at the state as well as the city level, is borne out by the way in which Tier 5 has been brought to bear on various employee groups so far. Because civilian workers were the most-vulnerable to state layoffs, the Civil Service Employees Association and the Public Employees Federation had to take the hardest hit for their unborn: retirement age to qualify for a full pension being pushed back to 62, with several other significant rollbacks from the benefits enjoyed by current workers.

    The United Federation of Teachers preserved the age-55 retirement right for its future members, with some modifications under the portion of the Tier 5 deal it made with Mr. Bloomberg, and the police and fire unions outside the city also kept their basic retirement condition intact. (That was also true for court personnel with peace officer status, but in their case the pecking order can be seen by the fact that the status quo requires 30 years’ service and age 55, compared to 27 years for new Teachers.)

    Beyond Rhetoric, Reality Looms

    However much he may be egged on by tabloid editorial writers and the kind of groups that always make the phrase “good government” sound like “anti-union,” Mr. Bloomberg himself pays homage to some of the realities of the employee structure he confronts. It is why the most sweeping pension change he could have hoped for was already accomplished when Mr. Paterson vetoed the Tier 2 extender bill in June.

    What he has to ask himself is whether Tier 3, which Mr. Matarazzo called “the best of both worlds for the city,” could ultimately backfire if the rest of the state has future cops and firefighters operating under the kinder provisions of Tier 5. If the answer is yes, then it’s time for the Mayor and the unions to see whether they can make an honorable peace on some middle ground between what had been and what now exists here for the newest members of the NYPD and FDNY.

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    Default SI Advance

    double post
    Last edited by Npugliese10; 12-07-2009 at 11:00 PM. Reason: someone already posted the article

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    Maybe there'd be a few more bucks to go around if the city wasnt giving it away to the lifelong-jobless, the unnecessary welfare collecting, the needlessly section-8 living, the unchecked foodstamp reselling, the illegally immigrating, the Springer/Maury guesting, the race-baiting, the socially retarded; all those championed by perennial victims for perennial victims.

    Just maybe.

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