Oyster Bay's chief of public safety has again received a double-dipping waiver from the state permitting him to collect both his six-digit town salary and his NYPD pension.
Commissioner Justin McCaffrey can legally take home his $122,692 salary and the $54,000 pension he receives as a retired New York Police Department sergeant. The ruling came earlier this month by the State Civil Service Commission.
He is the town's only employee with a waiver; his is valid until March 2015.
The waiver helps governments attract and retain top talent, town attorney and Deputy Supervisor Leonard Genova said in a recent interview.
"The reason they allow this is because it's hard to fill public safety positions, where ideally you do want someone who has a significant law enforcement background," he said. "The conundrum is to get that, in all likelihood, a person like that will have been retired."
The public safety commissioner position, when it was created, came with stringent qualifications and the net was cast wide before McCaffrey, with 20 years in the NYPD, was chosen, Genova said.
A broken pension system and oversight at the state level have left taxpayers to shoulder the burden of legal double-dippers, critics on either side of the political aisle said.
"It's an outgrowth of a pension system that is gratuitously generous and unsustainable," E.J. McMahon, of conservative Albany think tank The Empire Center, said.
Though the town may be getting a good deal on talent, taxpayers are not, he said.
John Capobianco, of the Oyster Bay Democratic Committee and a critic of the town's GOP leadership, agreed that, "Between double-dippers and triple-dippers, the state needs to wake up and realize they're putting us out of business."
Other towns that use waivers include Islip, which has five employees with waivers and a deputy supervisor who draws nearly $200,000 with hers.
McCaffrey's waiver was approved March 12 by the state.
Oyster Bay's public safety department has garnered much criticism for its size, cost and patronage. Its security guards do not have arrest powers.