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Opinion: Coddling Carver

Why are some politicians coddling James Carver, president of the Nassau County P.B.A.?

“If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy.”--Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, November 29, 1802  

A new group of politicians are coddling James Carver, president of the Nassau County P.B.A. For continued access to his purse, they will obfuscate the electorate with fear-mongering and resist any cost-saving measures under the guise of “fighting for public safety.” Fighting to maintain untenable perquisites, however, lies beneath their rhetoric. 

In “Nassau Police unions switch political sides,” Newsday reported on April 3, 2012 that under “Safe Nassau,” County police unions donated $550,000 to Democratic candidates last year.   

Angered by Mangano initiatives in 2010 that forced unions to agree to a total of $150 million in cost-cutting concessions or face layoffs, the police unions created the Safe Nassau PAC, which last year donated $550,000 to Democratic candidates, primarily in three key legislative races: $172,000 each to Democrats Delia DeRiggi-Whitton and Legis. Joseph Scannell, who both won their races, and to Adam H. Moser, who lost to freshman Legis. Howard Kopel (R-Lawrence).

Mr. Carver has vociferously opposed any additional concessions. “We have done our fair share,” he stated in his op-ed that appeared in Newsday last year. He argued that since September 2008, he agreed to millions of dollars worth in cost-saving measures (including “reopening police union contracts”). Was it enough?

Last year, the Nassau Interim Finance Authority (N.I.F.A.) hired Grant Thornton to analyze Nassau County’s finances. It reviewed each County department, identified efficiency opportunities, and made recommendations to implement improvements. Some of the highlights include: 

  • The County taxpayers could benefit from reorganizing police precincts according to crime statistics (“Realigning precincts and posts based on crime statistics would be expected to reduce the need for special operations/detail, which currently accounts for 11% of total overtime YTD, June 2011,” page 250)   
  • County patrol officer pay and benefits far exceeded the Consumer Price Index (CPI)--a measure of inflation--by 31%, page 252 
  • Inefficient manning requirements negotiated by the County police unions increase overtime costs (e.g., “The Bayville ruling and other agreements prohibit officers from being deployed to other precincts to fill staffing needs created by crime and operations or by minimum manning standards,” page 254) 
  • “Average overtime pay per officer has grown from $8,716 in 1998 to $15,686 in 2011, equal to annualized growth rate of 4.6%,” page 255  

According to the Nassau County 2012 adopted budget, the average Nassau County P.B.A. member receives $198,357 in total compensation as residents struggle to pay the bill. Mr. Carver must make additional concessions for the sake of the people he has sworn to protect.    

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

John Rennhack April 25, 2012 at 07:15 AM
A few years back, every single republican sought NCPD PBA endorsements and happily accepted help and money. Mangano and Schmitt approved the contract they are now attacking. Perhaps Mangano and Schmitt can return the contributions.
Rob Germino April 25, 2012 at 09:53 AM
Say John, unlike you (Two years at Nassau County Board of Elections, correct?), I never had a patronage job. Going forward, please keep your comments on topic. As a reminder, the topic is the coddling of James Carver by politicians who "obfuscate the electorate with fear-mongering and resist any cost-saving measures under the guise of 'fighting for public safety.'”
Nassau Taxpayer April 25, 2012 at 11:20 AM
Hasn't it been too good, for too long? Just file the Chapter 9 now and restructure ALL the bargaining agreements.
james April 25, 2012 at 11:31 AM
Yes. Recant on all CONTRACTS. Sounds very legitimate. If its so good then why didnt you take the test?
james April 25, 2012 at 11:34 AM
Your little restructuring plan is going to backfire so badly. Overtime will be higher then ever before.
Nassau Taxpayer April 25, 2012 at 11:36 AM
Chapter 9 is a legitimate process to be used in extremis. We're there.
frank April 25, 2012 at 02:08 PM
1st of all they voted on this 2 months ago. If u just found out, u shouldnt be a writer here. ur not really up on news: http://glencove.patch.com/articles/nassau-legislature-votes-to-merge-police-precincts. 2nd of all this kid loses 2 elections and that makes him an expert on government we should listen to? As a republican for decades, we should cut this guy loose. All these guys. We have enough problems without ur 2 cents 2 months late. You want to report somethin? How much did our own GOP sellouts take from the cops all these years and how many millions did they just pay them all to retire with fat checks on top of their fat pensions?
matteo April 25, 2012 at 02:35 PM
That's a rhetorical question. Votes and money. The public unions control the elected officials; that's a sine qua non. The solution is much more difficult. These "contracts" are not negotiated at arms length and they never were. The politicians are buying votes and contributions and spending other people's money ( taxpayers). Both parties are guilty. But what's the solution? We need police, we need county services but at what cost can we afford?
frank April 25, 2012 at 03:11 PM
not rhetorical. GOP been real good to cops with our $ and pretend they r heroes with our $. IN NEWSDAY: The county will borrow $26 million and use $10 million from its police reserve fund to pay for the police incentive, Walker said. The police incentive paid retirees $1,000 for every year of service with the county and raised the cap on severance pay to 21/2 times the officer's salary. Termination pay, which includes base pay, shift differential, holiday and longevity pay, is capped at two times salary. http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/98-nassau-cops-accept-incentive-to-retire-1.3636865?p=
John Rennhack April 25, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Rob, I worked for the county for less than a year. You do work for Mangano, don't you? And Rob, the topic you present is a straw man. There are safety concerns and long-term costs will rise because of Mangano's plan. Carver isn't being coddled, the NCPD force has been reduced quite a bit already. Fact is, NCPD will be understaffed going forward. How much do YOU think a police officer should make? How much more should they give back? And I'll say it again, Mangano and Schmitt took money and help from the NCPD PBA for years without complaint. They approved the contracts. Seems they were ineffective legislators then if the contracts were so bad but they still voted for them. Overtime has increased because the force has decreased in size. Less officers means the need to keep precinct coverage working.
John Rennhack April 25, 2012 at 03:14 PM
There are cracks showing already and the plan is modified all the time. Now Detectives will be back in the new community centers... you know... just like they were in precincts.
John Rennhack April 25, 2012 at 03:39 PM
In 2010, Mangano upped the incentive to $1500 from the $1000 cap Suozzi had in place The first round of retirements cost the county alot. And this is all borrowed money. Tapping into the reserve fund means shortfalls later.
James Colomusto April 25, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Hey Rob....Do you remember the interview that you attended where you practically begged for the support of the three police unions?
James Colomusto April 25, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Hey Rob since you refuse reply to my last comment maybe you can comment on things that are a conflict on interest......your job with JP Morgan and the sale of the Nassau County Sewer System.......also...if the Republican machine did not pour so much money into your campaign, you would have lost by a much greater margin.
Jason Molinet April 25, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Please keep comments on topic. Thanks.
Yankee Man April 25, 2012 at 10:08 PM
hey guys.the loser cop who got busted for stealing baby food yesterday paid 177,000 last year in an inside position. This is a joke. The Cops in the city make 100,000 and work more days a year. We cant continue to support this level of compensation,
james April 26, 2012 at 12:11 AM
So since the city police job sucks then every police job should??
james April 26, 2012 at 07:04 AM
I can't believe the comments that are deleted here. This website is so protective over certain people
Wayne Smith April 26, 2012 at 03:10 PM
A lot ot county taxpayers are unaware of the fact that MOST of the county portion of your property tax bill goes to the police department. Take a good look at your last statement - then go have a drink. This didn't happen by accident. It represents one of the most prominent examples of how taxpayers have been victimized by the unholy alliance that has evolved between unions and politicians.
An tUasal Airgead April 26, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Nassau police union contributions to politicians Records of 3,281 campaign contributions by police unions in Nassau County to BOTH parties. http://longisland.newsday.com/templates/simpleDB/?order=date&desc=yes&descLast=no&pid=447&brand=newsday&searchField=candidate_or_committee&q=
An tUasal Airgead April 26, 2012 at 04:17 PM
You will also see on the contribution page, where the "Safe Nassau" PAC which Robert Germino points out in his opinion article, was also the PAC that donated money to his opponent Delia Deriggi-Whitton, who defeated him in a recent run for the Nassau County Legislature.
Yankee Man April 27, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Hey James....the cuty pays less...because the unions dont control the pols and there isnt a rigged system in place to keep giving raises like NC and Sc keep getting. So you think I cop should ge tpaid 177,000 a year with a 20 year pension. Are you insane1!! Thats makes a cops salary like what 300,000 a year ..Please thats not ok
PitBull April 27, 2012 at 08:31 PM
This is why we need CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM untill we do this we will never have a goverment of the people for the people
ed April 29, 2012 at 11:38 PM
This is classic GOP CORPORATE divide and conquer of the middle class workers both in the private sector and the unions. The GOP is doing the bidding of it's corporate masters on Wall Street! Lets remember who caused the financial mess...PRIVATE CORPORATIONS greed, BIG BANKS, and corruption! Why aren't the so called TEA PARTY heroes going after the GOP in the Town of Hempstead and in the Town of Oyster Bay??? Basically every job in those two towns is PATRONAGE tax payer abuse salaries with duplication of salaries and services. This is the real problem in NASSAU! PATRONAGE!
james April 30, 2012 at 11:36 PM
The city pays less because there are to cops per car. On long island most departments have one man per car. Soup nazi you are clueless so just stop
james April 30, 2012 at 11:36 PM
*two cops per car
Joe Nocella May 03, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Rob, I'm confused ... Didn't you seek the PBA endorsement when you ran for county legislator?
ed May 06, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Rob suddenly got very quiet......typical political hypocrite.
mike reed May 09, 2012 at 11:49 PM
police don't respond to any incident without backup including fresh donut calls
mike reed May 09, 2012 at 11:54 PM
why does the nc sheriffs dept have a cook as sheriff? check out his past. he shouldn't be sweeping streets for the county. patronage to the extreme. 7 deaths in the last two years. demotions, under-staffing, etc. he hasn't a clue as to how to manage his own check book

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