Spin Cycle

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ALBANY - Just before leaving last week, the state Assembly gave final passage to a bill that could sweeten pensions for deputy sheriffs in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

The measure would waive a current requirement that deputies certify that he or she has spent at least 50 percent of service time annually "engaged directly in criminal law enforcement activities." Regular police officers don't have to make that annual certification, according to Sen. Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn), Senate sponsor of the bill.

Golden wrote in a memo supporting the bill: "A major problem with this retirement plan is that a deputy sheriff who is out on a performance-duty injury could face a possible non-certification under the 50 percent criteria and lose several years of creditable service, putting their 20-year retirement in jeopardy."

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Golden didn't say how many deputies have been impacted by the certification requirement.

The Senate approved the measure last Wednesday; the Assembly Friday.

Assemb. Peter Abbate (D-Brooklyn) and Assemb. Joseph Saladino (R-Massapequa) sponsored the bill in the Assembly.

Citizens Budget Commission, a fiscal watchdog group, has flagged the bill along with other pension sweeteners for potentially driving up state and local government costs.

It will be up to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to sign or veto the bill.

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