Yonkers Mayor Spano's overtime czar quits first week on job

City Hall on South Broadway in downtown Yonkers. City Hall on South Broadway in downtown Yonkers. (Feb. 23, 2012) Photo Credit: Angela Gaul

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Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano's $140,000-a-year overtime czar has quit, three days after taking on the job of paring down payroll costs in the city's police and fire departments.

Patrick Shea resigned from his post on Thursday as special assistant to the mayor for public safety, citing personal reasons, said a Spano spokeswoman, who declined to provide more details.

"The mayor wishes him the best in his future endeavors," spokeswoman Christina Gilmartin said on Friday.

Spano announced Shea's hiring on Oct. 3, giving him the responsibility to review police and fire department policies as well as job-related injuries, sick leave and overtime costs.

Shea spent 30 years as a special agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration before heading fraud investigations for American Transit Insurance Co. for 14 years.

He could not be reached for comment Friday.

Shea's abrupt departure prompted speculation among embattled union heads that there was more to his decision.

"I can only guess why he left," said Barry McGoey, the president of Yonkers Fire Local 628. "He started on Monday and he quit on Thursday. Obviously, there was some type of conflict, whether it was personal or professional."

McGoey said he was anxious to meet with Shea to give his side in the city's contentious battle over overtime pay.

Spano has said that he is trying to knock down an estimated $8 million in budget-eating overtime, which he believes is being fueled by abuse of the city's policy of unlimited sick pay for firefighters.

"We need to rid the city of these abusers who drive up overtime and are costing taxpayers millions of dollars each year," Spano said two weeks ago.

McGoey disputes Spano's claim, saying overtime costs are the result of existing firefighters filling in on shifts left unfilled because the city has failed to hire at least a dozen entry-level firefighters. He questioned why Shea was called in to do the job in the first place.

"To hire someone else to the job that should be their responsibility, it seemed counterintuitive," McGoey said.

Spano has agreed to hire up to 35 firefighters but wants to bring them on at less pay and with reduced benefits.

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