In late September, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that essentially allows New York City cops and firemen to hold onto their pensions even when convicted of a crime.
Understand that the bill started as a home rule message from the City Council.
It passed 49-0, without a word of dissent at a public hearing.
It then went to the state legislature, where it passed by votes of 128-14 in the Assembly, and 61-1 in the Senate. What it means is cops and firemen will have to be convicted of a felony before their pensions are at risk. In fairness, corrupt politicians, even those convicted of felonies are still getting paid. The Governor did try to close that loophole with the introduction of a bill after the conviction of former state comprtoller Alan Hevesi.
Also to be fair, cops and firemen in other jurisdictions in the state already get to keep theirs unless convicted of a felony. However, with the spate of corruption investigations, indictments, and convictions of NYPD officers lately, you have to wonder whether everyone in the food chain thought this through. For example, former cop Kenneth Moreno was sentenced to a year in prison for official misconduct in connect with the infamous “cop rape” trial.
That happened in August.
If the bill Gov. Cumomo signed had been in effect then, Moreno, assuming he’d served for 20 years, would have kept his pension. That’s because official misconduct is a misdemeanor. With government workers’ pensios coming under increased scrutiny, does this pass the smell test?
Brutal cops thrown off the force, or even charged, tried and convicted for acts of brutality will keep their pensions. Now any cop facing even felony charges will be advised to retire from the NYPD between the time of arrest and verdict.
The ticket fix cops, and many others recently charged with crimes, will walk away with a pension if not convicted of a felony. This whole thing seems to have flown under the radar, save a couple of articles in the tabloid press and an op-ed from Arnold Kriss in the Daily News. He’s a former NYPD Deputy Commissioner, and sees the long term impact of taking away a police commissioner’s discretion in punishing rogue or criminal behavior.
Mayor Mike Bloomberg was on the right side of this issue.
He urged the Governor not to sign the bill. He lost on this one. By the way, at about the same time Gov. Cuomo signed this bill into law, he evtoed a measure that would have extended health benefits tomworkers laid off after OTB closed its doors.
So let me see if I’ve got this straight. Crooked cops? Pensions. Laid off OTB workers? No health benefits.
What’s wrong with this picture?
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