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Opinion

‘Tis the season

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Daily Point

Cop retirements to break budget

Nassau police and union officials say 2017 will most likely provide a bumper crop of officer retirements, costing far more than has been budgeted by the county.

About 50 percent of the 2,354-member force is eligible for full retirement with at least 50 percent of pay.

In 2016, the county budgeted for 135 separations, at least 65 more than it will have, at a rate of about $253,000 each. The money is mostly for unused vacation and sick leave, with the one-time check now capped at double an officer’s final year of earnings.

The number of 2016 retirements is going to be low mostly because some cops have decided to wait out the two final raises in the union contract that ends on Dec. 31, 2017. Waiting that year increases their maximum eligibility by about $13,000, and likely will boost their pensions.

The delayed retirements could come home to roost in 2017, potentially contributing to a huge budget hole. County Executive Edward Mangano has budgeted for 140 police retirements in 2017, at a total cost of $39.2 million.

If, as Police Benevolent Association president James Carver projects, 200 officers retire, that alone would lead to a $16.8 million shortfall. The Nassau Interim Finance Authority’s staff predicts another shortfall of $12 million in underbudgeted overtime.

Even with $5 million budgeted for contingencies, that puts the county in a pretty big hole that everybody knows about but no one wants to acknowledge.

Lane Filler

Piqued Point

Here comes SantaCon, right down NYC’s lanes

The least merry day of New York City’s year comes Saturday, with the annual red army invasion known as SantaCon set to breach city defenses starting in the morning.

The MTA is preparing for the drunken horde of dress-up Santas by instituting a temporary 24-hour ban on alcohol on Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North trains and stations starting Saturday at noon. The MTA instituted the SantaCon drinking ban in 2014, says MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan. The LIRR also bans alcohol on weekend nights, and there have been temporary bans for St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Eve, Thanksgiving, the Belmont Stakes and the Puerto Rican Day Parade.

Perhaps the MTA should consider the same for Islanders and Rangers games? Or maybe hockey fans know how to hold their vomit. Not so the Santas.

Mark Chiusano

Pencil Point

Albany in Santa’s lap

Bonus Point

Oops...

Postcards that have been on sale for four years at New York State Thruway rest stops depicting the state Capitol building with the legend “Albany” actually show Indiana’s Capitol in Indianapolis, according to reports.

Adding insult to mistaken identity, Indiana’s building, with its classy dome and columns, looks better.

Further proof that there is no good press for Albany.

Michael Dobie

Columns