ALBANY – A majority of the newly retired members of the Yonkers Police Department are eligible to receive annual pensions in excess of $100,000, well above the state average, according to a new data released Tuesday.
Of the 39 police officers retiring from the department this year, 26 will be receiving annual pensions of more than $100,000.
That’s well above the $81,260 average for the 1,322 new retirees who are part of the state’s Police and Fire Retirement System (PFRS) with at least 20 years of service, according to the Empire Center for Public Policy, a fiscally conservative think tank in Albany that tracks the data.
The largest pensions are mainly in the New York City suburbs, the group said.
“Six-figure pensions are becoming the norm among retirees from New York’s largest downstate suburban police departments,” the center said in a statement.
The pension payouts do not include severance payments or accumulated sick and vacation time.
The city of Yonkers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
But the department isn’t alone in higher-than-average pension costs.
Departments across Long Island and Westchester have dozens of new retirees whose pensions are well into the six figures.
A closer look
Nassau County Police Department led the way in high pension costs this year, with three-quarters of its 242 new retirees receiving annual pensions above $100,000, the group found.
Jeff Fabre, who retired from the department this year, will receive $221,086 annually, the highest amount of all retirees this year belonging to pension system.
That’s more than 2½ times higher than the state average this fiscal year and enough to claim the second highest pension for the entire system.
Peter Brower of Ramapo, Rockland County, who retired in 2015, currently receives highest annual pension of $229,266.
They are among five police retirees in New York who earn more than $200,000 a year, including Joseph Macaluso, who retired from the Port Authority Of NY & NJ with a $201,548 a year pension in 2016.
In total, 41 retirees from Westchester this year will receive annual pensions north of $100,000.
Among them: Anthony Ovchinnikoff of Clarkstown who is set to receive $198,701 annually.
And Thomas Cokeley of Ramapo and Edmund Leahy of Yonkers will begin earning $180,656 and $177,778, respectively.
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said the pensions are “very frustrating” and points to overtime accrued by officers, saying it leads to higher salaries and ultimately higher pension.
Spano said he tried to cap overtime at 40 hours per week, but lost in union arbitration and it went back to 60 hours a week.
“There is a culture that exists that basically the rookies pass over the overtime, knowing full well that the senior men and women will take the overtime,” he contended.