Current contracts and arbitration awards between 229 local governments and their uniformed police and fire employees have been added to SeeThroughNY, creating the first current statewide database of such contracts ever available to New York taxpayers.
The 310 police and firefighter union contracts posted include those covering:
- The Village of Lloyd Harbor Police Department, which had the highest-paid police department in New York during the state’s 2015 fiscal year, according to the Empire Center’s What They Make 2015 edition.
- The Town of Clarkstown Police Department, which employed 7 of the 10 highest-paid police officers in the Mid-Hudson Region during the same period.
- The Village of Johnson City Fire Department, where the lack of transparency in the contract ratification process and fiscal distress that followed were examined in the 2008 Empire Center report Lifting the Shroud of Secrecy.
The contracts detail the pay schedule, benefits, work rules, discipline procedures and other terms of employment. Noteworthy items found among the newly uploaded contracts include departments in which employees make no contribution toward the cost of their health insurance, provisions prohibiting layoffs, minimum staffing requirements and automatic pay increases and bonus payments that continue after contracts expire.
“Police and fire departments together make up the biggest part of most city tax bills,” said Tim Hoefer, executive director of the Empire Center. “They’re also a substantial cost for many towns, villages and counties. We make these contracts available so taxpayers can see exactly what kind of promises their elected officials have made, how much they’re going to cost and why.”
SeeThroughNY also features New York’s only complete searchable database of school district teacher union collective bargaining agreements along with employment contracts of school superintendents. In addition, SeeThroughNY features up to eight years’ worth of state and local government payrolls; lists of public pensioners and annual retirement benefit amounts; details of expenditures on state legislative operations; online tools for analyzing local government spending and taxing; and a state budget data search tool.
The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies to make New York a better place to live, work and do business.
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