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98 Nassau cops accept incentive to retire

Photo of the Nassau County Police department's 5th

Photo of the Nassau County Police department's 5th precinct in Elmont. (March 4, 2012) Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Nearly 100 Nassau County police officers accepted a voluntary incentive to retire last week, saving the county more than $23 million in annual labor costs, officials said.

Among them are two of the three commanders charged last month with conspiring to scuttle the probe of a high school burglary committed by a teenager whose father was a financial benefactor of police.

A total of 98 officers retired before the March 22 deadline -- 40 Police Benevolent Association members, 38 Superior Officers Association members and 20 Detectives Association members.

Also, 51 civilian members of the Civil Service Employees Association took a separate incentive for a total annual savings to the county of about $4 million a year, said Deputy County Executive Rob Walker.

The police retirement incentive, intended to encourage highly paid officers to retire, was a key component of County Executive Edward Mangano's plan to convert four of Nassau's eight police precincts to lower-staffed community policing centers. The county legislature approved the plan earlier this month.

The police retirements will save Nassau $23.2 million annually, Walker said. The independent Office of Legislative Budget Review puts the number at $18.5 million, but Walker said that figure does not include some payroll extras.

"It's fair to say we met our expectations," said Mangano.

The county will borrow $26 million and use $10 million from its police reserve fund to pay for the police incentive, Walker said. Funds for the CSEA incentive are available from previous borrowing, Walker said. Nassau first offered the incentive to CSEA employees last December and 111 members took the deal.

The police incentive paid retirees $1,000 for every year of service with the county and raised the cap on severance pay to 21/2 times the officer's salary. Termination pay, which includes base pay, shift differential, holiday and longevity pay, is capped at two times salary.

Two of the officers charged in the conspiracy case, Deputy Commissioner William Flanagan and Deputy Chief of Patrol John Hunter, were on the force for 29 years and 35 years, respectively. Each will receive $1,000 for every year of service. Flanagan also will receive nearly $450,000 in termination pay while Hunter will get more than $415,000.

A third defendant, Alan Sharpe, former deputy commander of the Seventh Precinct Squad, left the force several months ago.

The staff reductions bring Nassau's total workforce down to 7,485 -- a 19 percent decrease from 2009, said Deputy County Executive Tim Sullivan.

With Sid Cassese

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