A Cuomo news release said a probe by his office into what he terms “pension padding” found two patterns: when employees start getting overtime only when they near retirement and when they greatly increase overtime when nearing retirement. The news release said 28 of the 50 New York public employers studied showed one or both patterns, and 12 of the 28 employers showed both patterns.
“Our ongoing investigation into pension padding has so far identified problems that transcend occupation, region, or job title,” said Cuomo, in the announcement.
Fourteen of the 50 public agencies analyzed had employees showing the pattern of only starting to work large amounts of overtime in their final work years. As examples, the Cuomo announcement cited:
- A highway maintenance employee went from no overtime to working 539 hours of overtime in the final years before retirement.
- A police officer went from no overtime to working more than 800 hours of overtime in his final years before retirement.
- A Deputy Commissioner of Civil Defense/Disaster Preparedness went from no overtime to working 1,629 hours of overtime in the final years before retirement. The data shows that this employee took in more than $50,000 in overtime pay the years before his retirement and had twice as many overtime hours as his co-workers.
Twenty-six of the 50 public employers studied had workers showing the second pattern of significantly increasing overtime in their final work years. Cuomo’s office cited as examples:
- A 2009 retiree who was a shovel operator averaged 144 hours of overtime annually from 2002-2005. From 2007-2008 that employee averaged 820 hours of overtime annually.
- A 2009 retiree who was a journeyman operator averaged 150 hours of overtime annually from 2002-2005. From 2007-2008 that employee averaged 551 hours of overtime annually. The average annual overtime hours for other employees was around 300 hours.
- A 2009 retiree who was an operator group supervisor averaged 434 hours of overtime annually from 2002 to 2005. From 2007-2008 that employee averaged 1,191 hours of overtime annually. This employee had a $69,000 annual salary and then received $67,000 in overtime pay in the year prior to retirement.
Cuomo’s office requested payroll data from 64 state agencies, local agencies, municipalities, and authorities that participate in the Common Retirement Fund. The preliminary report analyzed data from 50 of those 64 employers representing 3,688 retirees from 2009.
Cuomo’s office also launched a Web site, www.nypensionpadding.com, which contains the preliminary report and examples of data collected. Cuomo’s report is at http://www.nypensionpadding.com/pdfs/preliminary_data_analysis_summary.pdf.