Forget the dismal economy. Or that police officers in Orangetown and Pelham Manor are among the best paid in the lower Hudson Valley. According to two arbitration panels, the police are underpaid–and deserve retroactive raises of nearly 8.2 percent over two years.

In both cases, arbitrators decided property taxpayers in Orangetown and Pelham Manor can afford to pay increased salaries depite economy. Text of the decisions is posted on the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) web site (here).


Orangetown’s police earned an average of $111,147, making them the third highest paid among 53 towns in the lower Hudson Valley (including Westchester County) during a 12-month period ending March 31, 2009, according to payroll data posted on

The award–signed in June 2007 and posted on PERB’s web site in August 2009–raised police salaries 4 percent raise retroactive to January 1, 2006–and another 4 percent raise retroactive to January 1, 2007. Presumably, the PBA will be seeking raises for 2008 and 2009.

Before the PERB award–signed in July 2009 and posted on the web site in August 2009, the village of Pelham Manor (not to be confused with the village of Pelham) had the 12th highest paid police force among 50 villages in the lower Hudson Valley. The average Pelham Manor uniformed officer (police and fire) was paid $104,542 in 2008.

Pelham Manor’s salary ranking ratchets up higher with the recent arbitration award of 4 percent effective September 1, 2006 and 4 percent more September 1, 2007. The award expires May 31, 2008, which means the PBA likely can expect another increase to cover the rest of 2008.

Another PERB panel in August gave the Transport Workers Union (TWU) a controversial three-year raise. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is appealing the award (here).

However, the Town of Orangetown (Rockland County) and Village of Pelham Manor (Westchester County) cannot appeal the police awards in court. Police and firefighter arbitration awards are legally binding under the state Taylor Law. This is described in the Empire Center’s report Taylor Made: The Cost and Consequences of New York’s Public-Sector Labor Laws, here.

In reaching a decision, a three-member arbitration panel must consider several factors, including a municipality’s ability to pay (a flimsy concept that is not defined in the law) and what comparable municipalities pay in salary and benefits.

The Orangetown Police Benevolent Association suggested that its compensation package be compared with those in nearby towns of Clarkstown and Ramapo. They had good reason.

According to payroll data posted on, police in Clarkstown earned an average of $151,694 in wages, overtime and other compensation in 2008, making them highest paid police in 53 towns in the lower Hudson Valley (which includes Westchester County). Ramapo at $123,574 ranks second on the list.

Thomas Purtill, a now retired Clarkstown police officer, was the highest paid local government employee in New York, during a 12-month period ending March 31, 2009. He was paid a whopping $543,416, according to an analysis of payroll data by the Empire Center (here).

Originally Published: NY Public Payroll Watch

You may also like

Meanwhile, on the mandate relief front

Governor Cuomo’s 2012-13 budget, to be presented later today, will command media attention for the rest of the week. Advance reports on his modified pension reform proposal are especially promising. Meanwhile, there’s a (fiscally) cost-free approach to helping local governments and school districts alleviate their budget problems: repealing the Triborough Amendment. Read More

Legislature rejects union arbitration cap

Governor Cuomo’s proposal to cap arbitration awards for police and firefighters is not included in the Senate or Assembly budget bills. This may be blessing in disguise: as argued here, Cuomo’s original proposal didn’t go nearly far enough. Since the arbitration law expires on June 30, the governor remains in a commanding position to demand more. Read More

Labor costs rose faster in public sector in ‘09

Employee compensation in the state and local government sector increased at twice the private-sector rate during the 12 months ending in December, according to national data released todayby the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Read More

Getting Triborough wrong

“Mandate relief remains elusive,” is one of the state-related headlines in today’s Albany Times Union — and that much, at least, is true. Unfortunately, the articlebeneath the headline repeats a familiar canard about the origins of the Triborough Amendment. Read More

Persuading co-workers to retire

Oneida County employees participating in a proposed cash buyout program would have a strong incentive to get their co-workers to join them: their payments will increase if more employees participate. Read More

Examining MDs

Should physicians, who are licensed by the state of New York, be required to take a civil service exam in order to work for the state of New York? A state judge thinks so, but that's unlikely to be the last word on the controversy. Read More

Teaching without contracts

As schools open, the number of school districts at impasse with teacher unions has increased by 12 percent since a year ago, according to the Public Employment Relations Board. Also noteworthy--although not emphasized by PERB--nearly one out of three school districts has yet to negotiate a new contract with its teachers. Read More

Car 54, where are you?

New York City will track the whereabouts of its 379 building inspectors with GPS technology installed, not in their city-issued vehicles, but in their cell phones. Read More