It pays to be an ex-cop in New York state these days.
Three-quarters of the 242 Nassau and Suffolk county cops who retired last year are receiving annual pensions of more than $100,000, a report by a think tank has found.
Former Yonkers officers are also raking it in, as two-thirds of the 39 cops in the Westchester city who filed for retirement in 2018 are pulling in six figures in retirement benefits, the Empire Center for Public Policy said.
The suburban cop with the fattest pension who retired last year is Nassau County Officer Jeff Fabre, 52, who walked into the sunset with a $221,086 package, the report said.
According to payroll records, Fabre had total pay of $326,950 in 2017. But he had just a base salary of $122,514, according to records previously posted by Newsday. He more than doubled his income through overtime and other supplemental pay and benefits.
Another Nassau officer, Thomas Papaccio, 59, retired with a $179,440 pension. Papaccio also had a base salary of $122,000 but raked in $85,246 in overtime in 2017, as well as other supplemental benefits that boosted his total salary to $234,903. His 2018 salary was $254,991.
A new state law approved in 2012 caps at 15 percent overtime pay that can be used to boost a pension — to rein in massive pension padding. But workers hired before 2012 can apply substantial OT to inflate their final salary and pensions.
A Nassau County watchdog blamed lax overtime rules for the county police department’s gold-plated pensions. He said officers also get a lump-sum payment of $100,000 when they retire.
“The contracts give away the store,” said George Marlin, a former board member of the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority. “The cops get away with murder out there.”
Marlin says the pension and OT rules are outdated and unsustainable. He said police officers often retire in their 40s after 20 years on the force and then can live for another 40 years or more.
“Is it fair for the average guy making $50,000 a year to pay for someone else’s $100,000 retirement benefit who starts a second career?” he asked. “It’s an outrage. It’s an archaic system and no one has the will to change them.”
The Empire Center’s E. J. McMahon said the higher salaries that suburban cops get compared to New York City officers factors into the higher pensions. But he noted that is offset somewhat by a $12,000 supplemental pension that city cops get on top of their regular pension, which is about 50 percent of final salary.
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