YONKERS, NY — August 22, 2019 — The recently designated acting Yonkers Police Commissioner John Mueller and his best friend, Yonkers Police Benevolent Association (PBA) President Detective Keith Olson have methodically engaged in overwhelming the Yonkers Police Department hierarchy by throwing down the gauntlet years ago. The process has been long and arduous, albeit seemingly successful. It was as if the stars aligned when then Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone hired New York City Deputy Police Commissioner Edmund Hartnett to become Yonkers Police Commissioner in 2006. From the onset, P.C. Hartnett came to realize that in order to create a sense of discipline and decorum under his watch, he would need to find accommodation with PBA President Olson and his best friend John Mueller. A deal was struck. Hartnett’s ploy seemed to initially work. It was after all an accommodation built on respect and thereby accommodation to serve the noted parties. In time, Olson in particular, anxious for more power and clout, saw Hartnett as an adversary rather than as a partner in his intention to climb the ladder of influence. Hartnett would find the last years of his time in Yonkers to be grueling. He tendered his resignation and would come to step down on December 31, 2011.
Prior to designating the next Yonkers Police Commissioner, Mayor Mike Spano asked PBA President Olson for the names of five people he would recommend for the job. In response, Olson made a list of five names. The first suggestion was John Mueller. The second suggestion was John Mueller. The Third, fourth and fifth suggestions was John Mueller. So from at minimum since the last days of November and the first days of December 2011, Olson’s vision was for Mueller to become the next Yonkers Police Commissioner.
Despite Olson’s suggestions, Hartnett was succeeded by Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner in January 2012. Olson and Mueller successfully undermine Hartnett during his tenure and were emboldened to also undermine P.C. Gardner. Time would prove they were proficient in driving P.C. Gardner to also step down, aided and abetted by the Spano brothers, Nick, Lenny, Johnny, and Mike.
P.C. Gardner was challenged and undermined at every turn. Mueller and Olson systematically eviscerated P.C. Gardner’s authority by gaining authority and prowess from Yonkers City Hall. It was mostly Olson, the so-called leader of the “pack” who would walk from the Yonkers Police Benevolent Association Office situated on the ground floor of the Cacace Justice Center to Yonkers City Hall by traversing the Nepperhan Avenue foot bridge. Olson would advise Mayor Mike Spano that he was disgruntled about P.C. Gardner and the mayor and/or the Spano brothers acquiesced to Olson’s bluster. After all, Nick Spano, the former New York State Senator was earning a hefty $48,000 per annum from the Yonkers PBA and another $24,000 per annum from the Captains, Lieutenants, Sergeants Association (CLSA) for Nick Spano to lobby on their respective behalf, despite each organization having a lobbyists that they each long ago hired in Albany. Since the PBA and CLSA first began engaging the services of Nick Spano, neither has gained any benefit for the rank and file of the PBA and/or the CLSA. Both operations are paying out and getting nothing in return. One has to wonder why and what for they are each paying Nick Spano. From my perspective it is nothing. The only beneficiary seems to be Olson who is eating on the PBA dine, traveling to Florida to bather in the sun and pay for their meals and his while there. There must be other benefits, which I will save for another time.
The symbiotic relationship between Olson, Mueller and the Spano brothers reeked of maligned “conflict of interest” behavior. No matter. It suited the Spano brothers’ wallet. The PBA and CLSA wined and dined them on PBA and CLSA union dues to keep the likes of Nick Spano “in the money”! The passive aggressive dance suited them all, except for P.C. Gardner, and the rank and file of the Yonkers Police Department.
The travesty suffered by Yonkers taxpayers came to light, though given expression in a most sheepish fashion during Mayor Mike Spano’s Proposed FY2019-2020 Budget. Every Yonkers department head was called to brief and respond to questions presented to them by the Yonkers City Council Membership. One of those who came before the Yonkers City Council was P.C. Gardner. He spoke to the budget. He informed those in attendance, as well as the viewing public, that in order to curtail costs he had long fought for and would abolish the 60-hours of overtime pay afforded select Police Officers every two weeks, that is, above the standard 40- hours OT per week that would be the catalyst in reducing expenses incurred due to the need for OT assignments. That means some Police Officers working a standard 40-hours a week multiplied by two weeks, equaling 80-hours work and an additional 60 more hours every two weeks in overtime equaled 280-hours for the month. In one month such a police officer will have worked 160 hours for the month plus an extra 120-hours in overtime. Divide 280-hours a month by 4 weeks, and you get a 70-hours work week, divided over 5 days is equivalent to a 14-hour work day. If you divide the 280 hours by a 6-days work week, that is equivalent to over 11.5 hours work per day. This construct is usually afforded insiders, friends of the family, and especially Yonkers PBA board members. They are first afforded overtime (OT), especially if they have informed that they are contemplating retirement.
In order to bring costs down, P.C. Gardner advised he would impose a maximum 40-hours overtime every two weeks. Until that time, the taxpayer had not recognized they had been taken to the cleaners for years. The Yonkers City Council membership said not a word, seemingly accepting the logic of not exceeding 40-hours of maximum overtime every two weeks. Ah, but PBA Pres. Det. Olson was quietly seething with rage. After all, Olson was gaining support from the PBA rank and file by spending the taxpayer’s money to earn support for him by the Yonkers Police Officers rank and file. But the only ones to benefit the 60-hours every two-weeks assignment was to be a member of the Yonkers Police Benevolent Association. It helps, put in a better way, to be an insider, friend of the family network to be offered the 60-hours every two weeks.
Olson waited for the budget to win approval by the Yonkers City Council. When it passed 6 for with 1 against, Olson was quick to jump into action. He filed a complaint with the Public Employees Relations Board (PERB). About a half-year later, PERB announced the 60-hours OT was permissible. The nuance is often overlooked but most pertinent. Even though 60-hours every two weeks in OT is permitted, the YPD is not is required or demanded to offer so many hours in OT. The travesty to the taxpayer is that the 60-hours OT is most often afforded those who intend to retire within 1 or 2 or 3-years. The OT is most often allocated as Traffic OT, and especially in the detective division where investigation work can be either short or long in duration and impossible to ascertain a timeframe to rationalize the time required to find the necessary information.
It is almost exclusively the purview of Tier 1, 2 and 3 Level Police Officers that are given these plum assignments. Whatever the lower Tier Level, such as 5 and 6, rarely get any OT. Tier Level 1 and 2 and 3, intent on building out their pension know that whatever OT they accrue will count toward their pension in entirety. What ever the last year, the last two-years, or the last 3-years of time accrues to, every hour is counted toward the pension. After the total hours accrued, by dividing the total sum in half becomes the Police Officer’s pension. It you are in the lower tiers, such as 5, or 6, and you are lucky in getting OT, whatever is earned does not get counted toward your pension, only 15 percent of the OT is counted toward your pension.The lower tier Police Officers may not all get it, their weekly dues to the PBA will not give earn them what the old-timers still have. The reality is the lower Tier Police Officers only benefit for being a PBA member is to enjoy a yearly Christmas Party once a year, and no more. There are no other benefits. They have been conned by the PBA leadership and specifically PBA President Det. Olson even if they believe they will get OT. They hardly ever do. Once the budget gained approval, Olson filed a complaint with Public Employees Relations Board (PERB).
Almost a half-year after Olson files his complaint with PERB, we learned that PERB ruled it was OK to sustain the 60-hours OT.
Unrecognized by most readers of this Hezitorial is that Olson’s challenge to Gardner is only part of the issue. The other part is Yonkers Police Chief John Mueller’s conduct and action before he was designated Acting Yonkers Police Commissioner. Mueller awaits Yonkers City Council approval of his employment in that capacity. John Mueller as its Police Chief oversaw and allocated Over Time. One of the beneficiaries of pension build out, also known as Pension Padding, was permitted John Mueller’s brother Michael Mueller who is retiring Friday, August 23, 2019th at half his accrued salary. And lest anyone not understand that the payment of the pension is a burden that falls onto the taxpayer, then they will not appreciate that Michael Mueller and others like him that were afforded OT while John Mueller was chief, were afforded and permitted to pension pad. One can say this is the biggest known con game foisted onto the taxpayer with most taxpayers not recognizing the scam they are left to pay.
The political subterfuge that is permitted to permeate the department has caused many Police Officers to work a 20-year career and opt to retire. The reason, most are tired of the intrigue, back stabbing, and dysfunction that the membership are cognizant.
We’ve learned that PBA Board members and PBA Trustees benefit. The rest can look forward to Christmas parties and cheer. Investigation on behalf of the taxpayer gleaned from payroll records will show higher numbers of retiring Police Officers earning over $200,000 to $300,000 plus, and thereby beget half that as their pension.
OverTime Report: May 24 to June 6, 2019
Yonkers PBA Vice President Dale A. Hughes – NOTE ABOVE
Yonkers PBA 2nd Vice President John C. Viviano Jr. – SEE ABOVE
Former PBA Detective Trustee Marvin Oakley – SEE ABOVE
Majority of those listed above are members of the Investigative Services Unit which was commanded by Police Chief and now Acting Police Commissioner John Mueller.
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PBA 2nd Vice President Michael V. Mueller (retiring today, August 23, 2019) -SEE BELOW
The takeaway is simple, the same “hacks” are choking the taxpayer with debt with no end to this scam likely, especially since the same actors are at play.