2012 audit shows longevity pay error
A dozen employees in various Suffolk County departments owe a total of $34,790 because of payroll mistakes in calculating longevity pay, according to an audit by county Comptroller Joseph Sawicki.
The audit reviewed 2012 longevity payments for the 7,191 employees, who receive supplements to their salary for cumulative years of service. The longevity pay kicks in at varying intervals.
For police, longevity amounts to $375 for every year of service from the sixth year on, including past service with other police agencies. For white- and blue-collar workers, longevity payments start at $1,100 at year 10 and increase every five years to a maximum of $2,450 at 30 years.
“If you consider 7,200 people, having just 12 mistakes is quite low,” Sawicki said. “The mistakes are attributed to human mistake input error.”
Sawicki said the audit was done as part of an ongoing review of the county payroll system. “It’s good to let people know someone is watching and verifying the payroll records,” he said.
The audit found the largest mistake involved a police officer who owes $9,675 for the period 2008 to 2013 because of a typographical error. The officer’s longevity date was incorrectly recorded as Sept. 15, 2002, instead of Sept. 12, 2005.
One part-time civilian police employee was overpaid $7,325 from 2008 to 2012. The part-timer worked less than half-time and was not eligible for longevity payments.
A finance and tax department worker was overpaid $4,300 from 2005 to 2008 because tax and finance did not properly account for a break in service between 1998 and 2001. A health department employee owed $2,700 for payments made from 2003 to 2012 because an adjustment for a break in service from 1991 to 1997 was not made.
One police officer who was found to owe $2,165 has voluntarily agreed to make repayment; and repayment letters were sent to the other employees on Friday, Sawicki said. — RICK BRAND
Teens challenged to offer Coliseum plan
Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos is challenging local high school students to develop a feasible business plan to redevelop the Nassau Coliseum.
Maragos plans to host his second annual “Comptroller’s Entrepreneurial Challenge” on April 9 in the legislative chamber at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive Office Building in Mineola.
The event challenges 200 business students from high schools across the county to conceive a plan to remodel the Uniondale arena. The students will have 10 minutes to convince a panel of judges that their business plan is workable and would be successful.
The students will compete for cash prizes and scholarships from Adelphi University in Garden City and Hofstra University in Hempstead.
“My office has created a competition where the leaders of tomorrow will be challenged today to come up with business ideas that they feel will thrive in Nassau County,” said Maragos, who plans to announce the event today at Oyster Bay High School.
Developer Bruce Ratner announced last year that he intends to spend $229 million on a plan to renovate and downsize the Coliseum and build an adjacent plaza with restaurants, shopping, a movie theater, ice rink, bowling alley, nightclub and an outdoor amphitheater.
Forest City Ratner officials are scheduled to make a presentation about the project during the Entrepreneurial Challenge. — ROBERT BRODSKY
Special election confirms LaLota win
A recanvass of votes in last week’s special election for Amityville trustee confirmed a victory for Trustee Nick LaLota over challenger Wesley “Andy” Powell, village clerk Diane Sheridan said yesterday.
Powell had requested the recanvass after a preliminary vote count found only 82 votes separating the candidates, with LaLota leading 1,146-1,064.
The recanvass found only one additional vote in Powell’s favor, changing the final count to 1,146-1,065.
Officials said voter turnout was among the highest for a village election in Amityville in 15 years.
LaLota will be installed at the village board’s organizational meeting April 7.
— NICHOLAS SPANGLER