May 24, 2010, New York, NY — What follows is the editorial published by the New York Post on May 22, 2010:
Maybe Yonkers should change its name to Greece. Indeed, if you read yesterday's [“Padded Pensions Add to New York Fiscal Woes" By Mary Williams Walsh and Amy Schoenfeld] front-page New York Times story about Yonkers municipal pensions, you might think Yonkers is Greece.
Government retirement packages in that nation — along with other lavish public-sector perks — have put it on the fiscal brink.
But pensions in Yonkers — and throughout New York, as in other states — sure give Greece a run for its money. More than 100 cops and firefighters in the Westchester city, for example, get retirement pay above their on-the-job salaries, the Times notes.
One cop, who made $74,000 annually when he retired three years ago (at the ripe old age of 44!), gets a pension of $101,333 — and doesn't have to pay one dime in state or local taxes on any of it.
(And you thought Greece was the only place you can get a raise — by quitting.)
How is this possible?
Thank overly generous rules and practices put in place by public officials to please government-sector unions.
In Yonkers, for example, retirement pay is based on salary plus overtime in a staffer's final years on the job.
So employees, with the blessing of their city bosses, rack up the extra hours and extra pay as retirement day nears.
In fact, the Times says, Yonkers cops who work as flagmen for Con Ed on their days off actually get credit for that toward their city overtime hours — boosting their pensions further.
But it's not just Yonkers: Throughout the state, the paper found, some 3,700 retired public employees collect six-figure pensions.
In New York City, 13 of these people retired at the age of 40 — and nine hit payday even sooner.
No wonder the state's going broke.
Greece, of course, is lucky: It's getting a trillion-dollar bailout.
Who's going to bail out New York?