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Taylor Made: The Cost and Consequences of New York's Public-Sector Labor Laws
by Terry O'Neil and E.J. McMahon

Defusing New York's Public Pension Bomb: A Fair Approach for Workers and Taxpayers
by E.J. McMahon

 
Early retirement for state workers: Money-saver, or costly sweetener?
May 2010

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March 2010

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September 16, 2010

"Enough unused sick time to buy a yacht"

Three Nassau County police officers just retired with severance packages exceeding $632,000--each.

In New Jersey where the New Brunswick police chief accumulated $376,234 in unused sick time, the Legislature is considering $15,000 cap. As the Trenton Times writes in an editorial:

To all the abused taxpayers who bang their heads against walls when public workers retire with enough money in unused sick time to buy a yacht, relief is on the way. Not enough, but some.
In Nassau County, police officers were offered a incentive of $1,500 per year on the payroll. Their severance checks include decades of unused sick time, vacation time and other deferred compensation, according to Newsday.
County records...show the highest package will go to retiring Chief of Patrol Robert Turk, whose base salary is $219,670. Turk will get an estimated $676,414 severance check--for unused sick and vacation time and other deferred compensation--after 37 years on the force.

Another 37-year veteran, Deputy Commissioner Robert McGuigan, is estimated to receive the second highest severance of $671,740. McGuigan's base salary is $217,117.

The third retiring chief, Karen O'Callaghan...will receive a severance check of about $632,000 when she finally signs out [after 27 years of service].

The base salary of each exceeds that of New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelley, whose 2009 base pay $205,180, according to restructuring of the state's pension system as well as proposing that state workers pick up 30 percent of their health care premiums.
Christie's bid to fix what one municipal official called a "ticking time bomb" would raise the retirement age, rework the formula to make pensions less lucrative and require workers to pay more for health care, among other changes. The reforms, which would also roll back an across-the-board 9 percent increase granted in 2001, would affect more than 780,000 current employees and retired workers in the pension systems--including judges, teachers, state workers and firefighters.
According to the Associated Press, at least 20 states
...have rolled back pension benefits or seriously considered doing so--and not just for new hires, but for current employees and people already retired.

It's not just a U.S. phenomenon. In France on Wednesday, lawmakers voted to raise the retirement age from 62 to 65. If the measure wins final approval, France will become the latest European Union country to require workers to stay on the job longer because of a deficit-plagued pension system.

Posted by Lise Bang-Jensen

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