Giveaways to cops affront to taxpayers
In a final attempt to justify onerous Suffolk County police contracts, County Executive Steve Bellone suggests that he created savings by avoiding the state’s mandatory arbitration system “This is what causes Suffolk police pay,” Letters, Nov. 22].
He fails to mention, however, that the arbitration system changed in 2011, providing added consideration to a jurisdiction’s fiscal health and its ability to pay. Only one police union, New York City, has dared to test arbitration since that time. The result of that award saw salary increases in the 1% range.
Bellone’s feeble effort to use the threat of arbitration as an excuse for handouts to law enforcement unions that provided him with millions of dollars in campaign contributions is laughable. He speaks of negotiating cost-saving concessions and holding salary increases to an average of 2% per year, but he conveniently leaves out the side agreements and perks he assented to, which still squeeze county finances.
From education bonuses for all officers whether they attain the requisite education, to allowing nine, full-release officers to work exclusively for the union, performing no police function, at a price of approximately $300,000 each, Bellone has creatively found ways to squander taxpayer dollars.
Thanks to Bellone, union officials now have hundreds of additional days at their disposal to pull officers off the street to perform union-related activities, which necessitates the backfilling of assignments, providing a way to generate additional overtime. Such giveaways not only are an affront to taxpayers who elected him, but may well represent a violation of the state constitution.
— Rob Trotta, Fort Salonga
The writer, a Republican, is a Suffolk County legislator representing the 13th District.
Anti-hate program misses real targets
Gov. Kathy Hochul plans to introduce an anti-hate curriculum to address bigotry and violence in many of our communities [“State to fight online hate,” News, Nov. 22]. Unfortunately, the program is targeted to children in K-12 rather than the adults who need it most.
— Michael Cooney, Massapequa Park
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