Despite the not-rosy fiscal status of the county, the Suffolk County Legislature approved the last outstanding contract for county police officers. (In January, Moody’s listed Suffolk County among the municipal bond issuers facing a credit rating downgrade.)
The newly minted contract with the Superior Officers Association will cost taxpayers $55.4 million through 2018. The three police union contracts negotiated by County Executive Steve Bellone since 2012 will come to $372 million — equivalent to about 18 percent of the county’s own-source revenues at the start of the contract period.
Bellone and legislators say the generous deals can be blamed on compulsory arbitration rules, which could have forced the county into even more costly contracts.
During the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013, Suffolk Police Department employees of all ranks earned an average $151,145, which was a 15 percent increase since 2009, according to data gleaned from SeeThroughNY. By way of comparison, New York City cops earned an average $90,849 during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.