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Opinion

Quick hit: Nassau police retirements will save money

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and Acting Nassau

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and Acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter swear new police recruits on Monday, May 5, 2014 in Mineola, at the Donald Kane Auditorium at Police Headquarters. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau County is set to save a lot of money over the next few years as many of its police officers retire. But it will take top-notch management to realize the economic benefits.

Between 2008 and last year, the department hired just 37 recruits. The number of county cops has declined from 2,700 to about 2,250, driving up overtime, which rose 26 percent to $63 million in 2013. Now, with a renegotiated contract that makes new hires contribute for health insurance, puts them in a cheaper pension tier and slows down pay hikes, heavy hiring is a must. The department will see at least 400 retirements in the next two years, and will have to borrow to pay retirees big checks for unused vacation and sick days.

But if the county can manage the transition competently, the upshot should be significant savings over time.

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