Port Authority Officers Earn Big Bucks Thanks to OT

Monday, 28 Apr 2014 01:15 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Overtime pay boosted eight Port Authority police officers' salaries over $300,000 last year, and overall, 11 officers each earned more than the chairmen in New York and New Jersey who ran the two-state agency.

Officers last year, overall, earned an average of $98,854, according to a report by the Empire Center for Public Policy, an Albany think tank. But the eight officers earned enough overtime to more than triple that pay, putting them over their bosses' pay of $289,667 each for the year, reports DNAinfo New York.

Most of the highest earners in 2013 were police officers, with 83 of the 100 highest-paid employees working in Port Authority's police department and bringing in $230,000 each last year. The average pay of the authority's police officer was $124,476 for the year, the Empire Center report said, with their pay boosted by an average of $44,834 in overtime and extra pay.

The authority's police department base salary is one of the highest in the country, paying $90,000 a year. Rookie police officers in the New York City Police Department earn $44,744 yearly.

A source told DNAinfo that an authority police officer would have to work 16 hours a day almost every day to earn $300,000 in regular pay.

The top earner made $330,856 for the year, collecting $230,856 in overtime, the Empire Center report said. Behind him, a police sergeant earned $324,270, tacking $216,269 onto his base salary of $107,911. Another officer earned $317,802, which included $217,802 in overtime.

Police officers weren't the only ones banking six-figure checks thanks to overtime. The authority's 42 general maintenance supervisors earned extra average pay of $39,220, raising their average salary from $92,337 to $131,557.

Authority police union spokesman Bobby Egbert blamed the overtime issue on understaffing, saying the agency finds it cheaper to pay overtime than to hire more employees and pay their healthcare benefit and pension costs.

The Port Authority has hired another 500 officers, DNAinfo reports, in hopes of reducing overtime charges. The authority's police patrol three major airports to meet federal regulations that all posts be manned at all times.

The Port Authority also handles security and other functions for the Midtown Bus Terminal and the new World Trade Center.

According to the employees' union rules, overtime is given to those willing to accept it, and people who have earned extra overtime get the extra hours only if nobody else will take the time. Also, if no officer will work an extra shift, the authority can order a worker to remain on duty.

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